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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

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Diapering and Daycare: When you can’t use cloth, but WON’T use disposables

When our son was 4 months-old, we decided to make the switch to cloth. We switched for many of the usual reasons, economics, greenness, the desire not to have our kid sit in chemicals all day…but the big reason was because our guy has super dry skin. After a few hours in a disposable, the gel beads and chemicals dry him out so much that his bum looks all ashy, wrinkly, and chapped.

Since our son spends about 9 hours a day, 5 days a week at daycare, I obviously wanted have him in cloth at his school too. However, in the rush to book a spot at this in-demand school (we only had a few weeks to get ready for our son’s arrival), I neglected to ask if they allowed cloth. One month after he started school we made the cloth switch and found out they didn’t. While our state licensure allows cloth, the franchise license does not.

So, what’s a cloth diapering-loving mom to do? Research! Though lots and lots of research, I came upon hybrid systems offered by GroVia and Flip. These systems are waterproof cloth shells and disposable inserts. Armed with this information, pictures, and samples, I approached the owner of my son’s school and asked if we could use cloth hybrids. She investigated with the franchise licenser, and got a yes! We started using GroVia shells and Biosoakers right away. Our son’s infant room teachers loved how easy Aplix GroVia shells were to use, and the gusseted Biosoakers were fantastic at keeping in the runny infant poo. We had 7 shells that would rotate in and out, and after 9 months, they still look like new.

I was notified recently that our son would be moving up into the Young Toddlers room, and I thought this might be a good time to transition into Flip shells with disposable inserts in an effort to save a little money. While GroVia Biosoakers are amazing and I use them quite a bit for travel, they are about 40 cents per unit. Flip inserts are about 33 cents per unit, which over time is a big savings. Our son’s new teacher also happens to be pregnant and plans to use the whole Flip system with her baby, so this was a great opportunity for her to get comfortable with Flips as well! We have now been using Flips for 3 weeks, and love them. The best part about the disposable insert is that they are very, very absorbent. Our son is learning to hold his bladder overnight, and often releases the pee-nami on the way to school, so I need something highly absorbent so he doesn’t make a puddle in his car seat… and Flips rise to the occasion!

Every night I pre-load 5 Flip shells with inserts and put them in his diaper bag along with a medium sized Planet Wise wet bag. In the morning when I drop off our son, I put the diapers in a stack on one side of his cubby, and the diaper bag with the wet bag opened up and ready for action on the other side. This way, it is very easy for his teacher to take a diaper for changing, and then place the old shell in the wet bag to be sent home. I also send CJ’s Butter-Spritz O’BUTTer to school. The teachers love how incredibly easy and mess-free it is to use, and I like how there is no chance a non-cloth diaper friendly cream will end up him and then on his evening and overnight cloth diapers.

Are you in a situation where you can’t cloth diaper at daycare? Give hybrids a try! At 33 cents a unit, the cost is the same or less than disposables, so you have nothing to lose!

Bio: Caryn Lantz is a proud new mom though domestic adoption. When not doting over her almost one year-old, she works full time as a communications specialist and editor, and is also a freelance knit wear designer and technical editor. You can follow here on Twitter at or on her blog at


a2zbaby said...

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Baley Dyan said...

"At 33 cents a unit, the cost is the same or less than disposables, so you have nothing to lose!" - I disagree with this statement. At 33 cents a unit, disposable inserts are double the cost of a lot of disposable diapers (it's easy to find diapers for as little as 17 cents a diaper). I've never really understood hybrids with disposable inserts; you're still putting chemicals on the baby's bum, and you're still throwing them away (it's only slightly less waste than a full diaper). And why are they so darn expensive? I'm sorry your daycare wouldn't allow cloth diapers. I would have to either force the issue or go somewhere else, I think. Luckily, I have family and friends who watch my daughter, but if I had to, I'd probably choose disposables over disposable inserts in hybrids. I chose cloth mostly for the savings and I can't afford 33 cents a diaper PLUS washing the covers.

Caryn in MN said...


I'm just seeing your comment, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

First off, if you are using name brand sposies at your local supermarket, you are paying way more than 33 cents a unit. Some people choose not to use generics because of perfomance or fit issues.

Secondly, these hybrid liners have tiny fractions of the chemicals than sposies have. The chemicals in disposables turns my son's anus area bright red, but not so with these disposable inserts.

Finally, I put the value of the daycare center/school over my ability to cloth diaper my child. I'd rather he be at a high quality center that provides educational enrichment (they have quite the curriculum, even for infants), quality care (all his teachers have early ed degrees), and most importantly, safety, over my ability to cloth diaper him.

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