Cloth Diapers and Daycare

It’s one thing to decide to cloth diaper yourself, but what about getting your daycare to cloth diaper?  Here are a few tips, from those of us who have been there before. 

1. Don’t ask, SHOW.

If you ask them if they will use cloth diapers, they will picture themselves wrestling with an unwieldy square of cotton, pinning the diaper on a squirming baby while trying desparately to avoid stabbing the baby (and a lawsuit), and then hand-dunking a poopy, wet, cold, messy diaper in the toilet over and over again. The easiest way to get rid of this innacurate picture is to replace it with a picture of what you are actually asking your caregiver to do, and that’s easiest when you have the diaper in front of you.  Bring in your cutest, easiest cloth diaper, and show them how it works.  I brought in a pink plaid pocket diaper and said, “I just need you to velcro this onto her and then take it off when you change it.  That’s it.”

2. Bring a wet bag.

Many daycares can be resistant to cloth diapers because Texas law states that in a daycare setting all dirty diapers must be kept in a sealed container.  They know they can’t put the cloth diapers in the trash can, and they know they’re not allowed to just leave them sitting out.  So bring in a wet bag (or even a wet/dry bag like from PlanetWise… you can keep all the dry diapers in the dry pocket and keep the entire shebang all together for them.) Show them how it can hang or sit, and how it’s waterproof and zips shut.  No smell, no mess, no babies getting into dirty diapers, and perfectly legal. 

3. Ask if they would like a note from your pediatrician.

If your child has a health issue that is exacerbated by disposable diapers (respiratory problems, sensitive skin, eczema), you can ask your pediatrician if he or she would write a note recommending that your child be cloth diapered.  Some daycares who will not cloth diaper as a matter of policy will make exceptions if you have a doctor’s note. 

Once you have done all these things, hopefully your daycare will agree to use your cloth diapers on your child.  If not, of course, they have a right to make that decision regarding their business, and you have a right to decide whether to seek childcare elsewhere.  If you and your daycare cannot come to an agreement about cloth diapers, it can be helpful to remember that every disposable diaper not used saves 20-25 cents so even if you only use cloth diapers for evenings and weekends, you will still be saving money and only buying about half of the disposable diapers you would otherwise be purchasing. 

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