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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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The Art of Convincing Your Daycare Provider to Use Cloth

I was lucky enough to keep my daughter home with me for six months before we enrolled her in daycare. But when it came time to find a daycare center, I realized I may have a fight ahead of me. We use cloth diapers for all the typical reasons: the environment, money, our little girl's bum. I did not want to start using disposable diapers just because she was in a daycare.

So I did some research. I found the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, which was invaluable. It's important to go into a daycare knowing your state's laws when it comes to using reusable diapers in a center. If you know the answer to all their questions and how you will follow the state's laws on reusable diapers, then you are well on your way to convincing your daycare provider to use cloth. This website compiles all that information by state and daycare setting (center, in-home, etc.).

Another website I found compiles a list of known daycare centers in the US and Canada that are cloth diaper compliant: Cloth Friendly Daycare List. Of course this list doesn't have all centers willing to use cloth diapers, but it is a good place to start. Please do not shy away from centers not on this list! Our daycare provider isn't on it; however, the teachers and staff were more than willing to work with us. (Some were even excited to see and try modern cloth diapers; and there is at least one staff member that has helped a family member decide to cloth diaper because she loved my daughter's diapers so much.)

After narrowing down our very long list of possibilities, the first thing I did was send each an email asking if they were willing to look at my diapering system. Three centers said yes, so we made appointments for a tour, armed ourselves with the state's laws, wetbags, wipes, creams, and – of course – our cloth diapers! (We started out by sending pocket diapers and have moved to AIO diapers.)

Not so oddly, most people still think cloth diapers are Gerber flats with pins and plastic pants, so many are skeptical of allowing cloth in their daycare centers. However, when you show up with an AIO or pocket diaper that is as simple as a disposable diaper, it is very easy to convince them that they can do it. And I would suggest using the easiest diapering system possible at daycare. You don't want to send in too many parts, otherwise there could be mistakes and, subsequently, leaks.

The biggest concern of most centers is what happens with the soiled diapers. When I went in with my arsenal, I made sure to stress the fact that I did not expect anyone to swish or dunk my daughter's diapers. I just asked them to fold it in half and put the soiled diaper right in the bag. It's no different than folding a disposable diaper and putting it in the trash! And, of course, I take the diapers home every day so soiled diapers are not left there overnight, which is another concern. Shoot those concerns down! And don't get too offended when center directors tell you that your diapering system is unsanitary (yes, that happened to me). Just turn around and leave. Don't waste your time!

As I mentioned before, go into the center with all the answers. Think about what others have asked and what you asked yourself when you began your cloth diapering journey. How does cloth work? How many will you send in each day? How will the diapers be stored at the center? Will you take them home every evening? Do they leak? Some of your original concerns will likely be the same concerns at the daycare center. You have all the answers because of your research and your practical knowledge from using cloth. Be excited and listen to their concerns. Be willing to work with them, and they will be more likely to work with you.

Bio: Jennifer Esposito - I've been cloth diapering my daughter, Adele, for a little over a year. She wore her first cloth diaper when she was 6 days old and was in them full time at 3 weeks. I've been married to my best friend for 4 years. I'm an editor by trade, and during my free time I like to run, sew, or read.

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