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Thursday, October 9, 2014

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Convincing Day Care to Cloth Diaper

Sending your baby - or in my case two babies - to daycare can be an overwhelming experience. Sending your babies to daycare and wanting the daycare to use cloth diapers even though their policy clearly states that they don’t do cloth diapers can be tad bit more overwhelming.

I won’t even go into how stressful finding a daycare was! Location and cost were really important factors – not to mention finding availability for twins who were under a year. So when the daycare we finally found didn’t allow cloth diapers we stuck with it anyway. We really didn’t have any other choice. I had to make some sort of compromise.

I was committed to sticking with cloth diapering though.

We chose cloth diapers for many reasons:
  • We have twins and disposable diapers are NOT cheap!
  • Cloth diapers are way better for the environment
  • We worried about the chemicals in disposables and what harm they might cause our precious babies
And cloth diapers are totally cute.

I had to work up a little bit of courage to broach the subject with the daycare director. I already felt a little bit like the odd duck – with my Prius in a parking lot filled with mini-vans, trucks and SUVs, with my Tupperwares of homemade baby food next to Gerber puffs and yogurt bites, and with my pumped breast milk baggies in a land of Similac and Enfamil - but I took a deep breath and just asked her about the cloth diaper policy. I knew that Maine had recently amended the law to allow cloth diapers at daycares, so my plan was to start the conversation and see where that led.

She was surprisingly open to talking about it! She said that while Maine had changed the law and a representative had been there to talk to her about it, they had decided to stick to their policy just because they were worried it would be too difficult for the staff and too stinky.

I knew at that point that all they would need is to learn more about modern cloth diapers and it was my duty to help!

I suggested that we do a trial run. I would bring in the cloth diapers (I felt like I should stick to pockets and AIOs for ease) and a pail liner and even my own garbage pail and the staff could see if it would work for them.

She was open to the suggestion but did insist that they would not do anything with messy diapers besides roll them up and throw them in with the rest. I didn’t even press this – logistically it wasn’t realistic for the staff to have to deal with messy diapers.

So I brought in a big bag of cloth diapers the next day and hoped for the best.

I expected some sort of hiccup but the transition was surprisingly smooth.

All of the staff are happy to use the cloth diapers and we haven’t had any problems. I did start using disposable liners since the messy diapers were more difficult to deal with after sitting around for a few hours. But I learned from the Cloth Diaper Support Group on Facebook that you can just throw those in the wash with the diapers and reuse them which is fantastic.

My advice for using cloth diapers with child care providers and family is to be flexible and ready to compromise. Wet diapers are super easy, but be willing to deal with all the messy ones!

A couple of other things I’ve learned along the way:

Pockets vs. AIOs: I send a combination of pockets and AIOs to daycare because that’s what I have. I do have to sort through a stinky bag of diapers each evening and pull inserts out of the pocket diapers and I spend 2-3 mornings each week stuffing the pockets. AIOs would definitely be simpler!

Hook and Loop vs Snap: I have a few hook and loop diapers in my stash and these always come back rolled up with the tabs secured to each other – just one more thing to undo before you throw them into the wash, so snap closures are definitely better for daycare!

Bio: Agata Ketterick lives in southern Maine with her husband and one-year-old twins. She works full-time for a conservation non-profit and has discovered a new love for advocating for all things any crunchy mama would love.

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Anonymous said...

We cloth diaper at daycare -- have for a year now at 2 different centers/2 different states. Couple of notes from our experience.

Policy states that we had to use pockets or AIO types.

Not sure AIO's would be easier -- too often we are scrambling in the morning to get everything ready and even our pocket diapers are not quite dry. With a more busy time table, time to dry is very important to consider.

We only use snaps and for whatever reason they still roll up diapers and snap them closed. Especially the messy ones. I guess they don't want to get our wet bag dirty?

Which leads me to another common occurrence. Almost always the messy diapers are in an additional plastic trash bag (both places!). I guess we need to talk to them about how one reason we use cloth is to avoid excessive plastic waste and the wet bag really does contain smells (at least good enough for the ~8hr day) and we do wash it regularly so no need to keep it clean.

CJ said...

I'm in southern Maine, and send cloth diapers to daycare too! When I called to ask if she would be open to cloth, the owner of my daycare said, "I haven't done it in years, but my daughter is using cloth for my grandson, so I'm going to have to figure it out anyway!" They have been impressed with how easy it has been - although now that my daughter is starting some solid foods, I may have to look into disposable liners for daycare.