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Thursday, February 17, 2011

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CD’s at DC (that's Cloth Diapers at Daycare)

Even knowing my daughter would be in daycare all week, I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers (something I wish now I would have done with my first). I guess living in Portland, OR I just assumed cloth at daycare would be matter of fact. And in fact, I think as mainstream cloth diapers have hit the scene I have seen daycares become more open to the concept of taking cloth. Still, I find myself to be the only one in our center, having to explain what "cloth" means, and having to overcome a few challenges to make it work. While many of us will face the initial hurdle of even getting the center to take your cloth – once you overcome this barrier I thought you might like to hear my tips for using cloth at daycare:

Organization and prep the night before: Unlike sposies, I can't leave a giant pack there and just walk in and hand over my kid. Every night before school I need to stuff and put a liner (as needed) in each diaper, get several wetbags together, label everything, and bring this all in each and every day. No small feat when you also getting bottles, food, clothes, etc. Not to mention making sure those diapers make it to the dryer before you fall asleep J. Here is a list of what I send for my 1 year old (just on the diaper side):
  • 6 Fuzzi Bunz double stuffed with 1 regular and 1 either Joe Bunz hemp or 1 Fuzzi Bunz doubler. She is a heavy wetter and I have found these thin doublers to hold in those long naps or more infrequent changes. Most days I also lay a fleece liner in the diaper as well (I leave diaper cream there).
  • 1 large wet bag (this used to fit in a pail for 1 center but our new center didn’t want an actual pail) and 2 small wetbags for the BM diapers  or dirty clothes (or else they will have to put them in plastic bags – great, more waste)
  •  ~8 wipes. They just run them under water there at the changing table but I have left a spray bottle for an alternate center and that also worked
Start with a lesson and do a lot of checking in: We have been through many teachers and some have been more comfortable with the cloth diaper system we use than others. Even though I sent instructions and thought it was simple I still saw leaks. Part of this was education and part of it was just talking every day about the system and showing them how I use it. I demonstrated what snap settings we were currently using, how to check the gussets, and talked a lot about why my family had chosen to use cloth. Even now I often have to check in and make sure new faces know that cloth means you can't always tell if they are wet and might need a few more steps at the changing station (prep the wipe, use the wetbag, etc.). I also check in as she changes to see if they are seeing what I see. As she learns to crawl or walk are the diapers and settings working. They spend more time during the week with her in diapers so they might know something I don't.

Challenges along the way: At some point a few months in we started to see our daughter come home with leaks in nearly 2-3 pairs of pants a day. Hmm – human error with the diapers? Size adjustments? Crawling? A REALLY heavy wetter?... I'm telling you I tried it all (added doubles, adjusted elastic, new detergent). Then I realized that one thing I never made specifically clear was that though cloth diaper safe creams were given to them… they probably shouldn't be slathered on like some diaper rash creams could be on a sposie… yep – I had major build up (to be fair, I didn't really know this was an issue really – I figured CD safe, meant use as needed). So, this is how I eventually dealt with the repelling issue (with some really helpful tips from Stacy @ diaper shops on facebook – thank you for saving my stash):
  • Rock a SoakI did rock a soak in my tub over night… but with a sticky buildup this didn’t work. I will certainly do this more often for stains or stink though – wonderful
  • I rinsed a lot, over and over
  • I bleached – I bleached the inserts, but the cream was on the shells so I was basically reduced to one final option
  • I stripped – I scrubbed each and every shell fleece liner with a brush and Dawn soap (warning, this will probably negate any diaper warranty you have). I rinsed them in the tub adding pots of very hot water until I could see no more suds. I then rinsed in the washer several more times – washed and…. Whew, no more leaking!
  • I lined – I learned my lesson. I can’t expect my daycare to do it like I would – so I simply line every diaper or leave liners at daycare in case a rash re-appears. I use washable liners and rinse and wash separate from my diapers.
When it comes to challenges I just want to say – reach out. I got so much advice when I was having leaks and though you can see some worked and some didn’t, I don’t know that I would still be using cloth at daycare without all the online support that is out there.

At the end of the day: I take home the wetbag with dirty diapers every day (I somehow find pride in this – even though it is more to haul). Each night we (yep my husband is into this too) go through each diaper putting liners in a separate pile, pulling out inserts, and spraying or dumping BM diapers as needed (they are carefully packed in the small wetbags). We place it all into our home pail to wash. I wash every other day and we've been CD-ing for a year. I need a few extra bags to manage this but if you've ever seen all the plastic garbage bags they use you'll feel great about your waste savings.

Wether you plan to use cloth at a daycare, are dealing with challenges to using cloth there, or are thinking through some steps you might need to take before going back to work, I hope you find my experiences helpful. I keep thinking had I thought this through more I would have offered up a CD lesson to any parent who wanted one at the daycare and maybe we wouldn't be the only ones. Ultimately there are a lot of fun and energetic young ladies watching my daughter and who knows – maybe they'll use cloth or talk to other parents about cloth down the road.

Stacey Ho


Jenney said...

GO YOU! I am so glad people are using cloth at daycare centers.

I am a home daycare provider, and have really tried to push cloth. I have offered to families to cloth diaper their child while they are here, but still have no takers. I HATE stinky diapers in my trash! Maybe someday!!!!

Maria and Michael's Mommy said...

Thanks for sharing! I'm really lucky that I have a family member as my kids day care. This family member also CD's her kids so I'm super lucky! No disposables here!
and for Jenny who posted...
good for you! That's awesome that you're offering to cd other kids.

maddysmomma said...

I had a hard time finding a daycare to take DD in CD...but when I found one they were very open and receptive and now one the teachers plans to CD her new baby (when he/she appears).

Kim T. said...

I am the only mom to use cloth in our daycare center and the director said only one other family has even asked about it in all the time she has worked there. So sad because its so easy, in my opinion. I don't even have as complicated a routine as described here...its pretty simple. I bought AIOs with pockets in case extra stuffing was needed....they go on and off like disposable...the girls in the infant room were very surprised by how cute and easy it is.

JayZ said...

I found a small home daycare that was willing to use cloth. It was on my must list when finding someone to care for my child. And the owner said she actually prefers cloth! I give her a large planet wise wet bag every day with clean diapers in the front pocket (usually BG 4.0's) and pick up the bag with the dirty ones at the end of the day and then dump them in my pail liner when I get home. It's so easy!

Lara + Chris said...

This is such a great article! I'm bookmarking it for when our LO comes to make sure that our daycare is on board and knows what to do (and so do we!).

Andrea G. said...

Like the previous poster, I'm bookmarking too for when that time comes.

I brought up CDing with my mom, and she immediately laughed at me (yes, she was still thinking prefolds, pins, and rubber pants). When I finally convinced her that CDing really was the better option and showed her the modern style, her concerns then turned into what about the CDing "problem" at daycare/being babysat.

I'm emailing her this blog entry. Thank you so much- you couldn't have posted it at a better time.

jessw said...

Thanks so much for sharing your tips! I am the only one to ever even ask about cloth at our church-run day care and it has been challenging at times but they are always trying to work with me!