We have cloth diapered Adele since she was three weeks old and we love everything about it. The diapers are so cute! They are so much cheaper than disposables! They are environmentally friendly! They are soft! They are gentle! They are chemical free! Cloth diapers are awesome!
So when it was time to enroll Adele in part-time daycare, I was nervous. I have encountered many who think cloth diapering is silly, a waste of time, old fashioned, unsanitary, etc. I know that many shy away from cloth diapering, so I was concerned that we’d have trouble finding a center that would accommodate our diapers.
We decided to first find centers in our area that seemed to fit our needs and wants for Adele’s care and early education. Once we narrowed that list down to three centers and had appointments to meet with them, I sent each an email asking about their willingness to work with cloth diapers. I figured if they said they were not willing to work with us at all, it’s easy enough to cross them off the list and find another center. Thankfully, they all said they were open to discuss cloth diapers at our appointments.
Excited, I sat down and got prepared for our meetings. In addition to all the normal questions one would ask a potential daycare center, I also had to be prepared to discuss cloth diapers. My husband and I thought about all the things a center might want to know about cloth diapering: how do cloth diapers work?, how many would we send each day?, how would they be stored at the center?, would we pick them up every evening?, do they leak?, and do we use pins and plastic pants? I pulled out a wetbag, some coconut oil, and three diapers (a Rumparooz, a BG4.0, and a BG Elemental), and packed them in the diaper bag to bring along. Can’t be too prepared, right?
(Note: To further prepare yourself for discussing cloth diapers in a daycare setting, you should know your state’s laws regarding reusable diapers in whichever type of daycare you plan to use. You can find information at the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. A lovely cloth-diaper mama shared with me a website that compiles a list of daycares that already are known to work well with cloth diapers; you can find it here. Just be sure to not discount centers not on the list! Our daycare center is not on it.)
The first center we toured was shy about cloth diapers, but very willing to work with us, which was nice. The second center we toured, however, was awful. The director did some research before our scheduled appointment and decided that cloth diapers are unsanitary and that we were not allowed to use them in her center. We were encouraged to spend an extra $4/week to use their disposable diapers, which are, of course, very sanitary. I let her know we wouldn’t consider it.
I fell in love with the third center (the one we chose), and they were so sweet about the diapers! Everyone was genuinely interested in them, what they look like, how they work, what they’d need to do. It was so encouraging to find a place that was actually eager to work with us!
Despite the awful anxiety of dropping my baby off at daycare, I was excited to pick out her diapers for her first day (gotta make it fun!). I would suggest one adorable diaper per hour. Most centers check/change diapers every two hours, but it doesn’t hurt to have extra just in case. I also leave her diapers there during the week (I take them home on the weekend, though!) and just bring in however many were changed the day before.
I supplied the teachers with their own bottle of coconut oil and container of cloth wipes. I figured it would be much easier to not have to bring in wipes all the time, just in case I forget once or twice. I also bought an extra wetbag. I have two in the rotation at home (one in her room for the wet diapers, one in the bathroom for the soiled diapers – the soiled-diaper wetbag goes in the wash with the dirties and the wet-diaper wetbag is moved into the bathroom on wash day), and it was a pain in the butt having only having two wetbags when one had to be fresh for daycare twice a week. It just made sense to buy a third. Do what works for you, but that is what works best for us!
When I brought Adele in for her first day, I allotted a few extra minutes to teach everyone again about cloth diapers. I changed her diaper there with a few observers. We figured out where all of Adele’s diapers would be stored when they were there and where they’d like the wetbag to hang. It all went rather smoothly, as all the teachers were expecting the diapers and eager to try them out.
The first day went so smoothly! Not a single leak, and the diaper she came home in was on her properly. Since then we have had a few slight issues to address. For instance, some teachers weren’t snapping the waist snaps close enough together, leaving room for leaks. I just mentioned it next time I dropped Adele off. It took me a while to figure out cloth diapers (in fact, I’m still learning every day!), so I know they won’t know everything from the start either. The next thing I need to mention is the fact that someone is unsnapping the rise of the diapers when she puts them on Adele (oops!).
All in all, I’m quite pleased with how easy the transition seems to be. I’m lucky that we so easily found a willing daycare center. So, if you are looking for a daycare for your cloth-diapered baby, here are a few points to consider:
- Don’t get discouraged if not all centers are willing to work with cloth diapers. Remember, it’s not worth the fight. If they won’t want to work with you on this matter, what else will they also not want to work with you on?
- Prepare yourself! Think of questions the directors/teachers may ask. Bring along your cloth-diapering system. Show them how easy cloth diapers are!
- Arm yourself with information! Learn your state’s laws so you already know what you need to provide to make cloth diapering easy for your potential center. If you already have all the answers, it won’t seem as daunting to the provider. Set yourself up for success.
- Put on your teaching hat! Be prepared for questions before your child starts daycare, as well as after. I’m still asked if Adele’s diapers are on correctly, and she’s been there a month!
Cloth diapering at daycare has really been an easy experience for us, and I hope that other mamas and their babies have it just as easy. No one should have to buy disposables for their baby’s bum just so they can use a daycare.