Many people think they’re “disqualified” from using cloth diapers because they work full or part-time and rely on daycare to help with childcare during the day. They just assume that daycares don’t allow them.
However, I have found that using cloth diapers at daycare isn’t that difficult, and most daycares really are open to it!
Here is a video I made giving you some tips about broaching the subject of cloth diapers with potential daycare providers. If you’re not into videos, check out the summary below.
Using Cloth Diapers at Daycare Video
Step 1- Check Local Laws
Almost all states legally allow the use of cloth diapers at daycares. There are a couple of states that require a doctor’s note for the use of cloth, but those are few and far between.
Most likely, you are legally okay to use your cloth diapers at your daycare. However, each daycare has the right to make their own policies, so just because they are legally allowed to accept cloth doesn’t mean they have to. But it is good for you to know for sure that you don’t have any laws standing in your way.
Note: Do not get confused about what the laws mean. Just because cloth diapers are legally allowed at daycares in your state doesn’t mean your daycare HAS to accept them. It just means they CAN if they would like. Some people get confused and think the law is written to protect their parental right to use cloth diapers, but really the laws are just saying that the state is okay with daycares accepting them if they want to. As a private business, they are allowed to have a policy that says they don’t accept them. It’s unfortunate, but it’s not uncommon.
Step 2- Talk to the Daycare about Past Cloth Experience
After you know if your state allows the use of cloth in daycares or not, it’s time to find out what your prospective daycare’s experience with cloth is.
I recommend you set up a time to tour the daycare and ask them at that time. If the daycare has had positive experiences with cloth in the past, it won’t really matter whether you ask in person or via email/phone. But if the daycare has never used cloth (or has had a bad experience with it), they may feel more comfortable shutting it down via email.
If you broach the subject in person, they’re more likely to be open-minded. You also have the opportunity to show them how easy it is by bringing a diaper!
Pack a cloth diaper in your purse to bring with you (remember to choose a style that is daycare friendly–they will probably not be able to wrap prefolds or reuse covers in all-in-twos; pockets and all-in-ones are the most daycare friendly). As you’re discussing the subject, you can take out the diaper and show them just how easy and convenient it would be for them.
Step 3- Discuss How Diapers Could Be Stored after Use
I have always explained to my daycares that we would send a wet bag to hold the diapers after use and I would take them home at the end of each day. Our first daycare used our wet bags, but our second daycare had a policy that all poopy diapers got tied in a plastic bag, so I did not send a wet bag there. I brought the plastic bag of dirty diapers home each evening.
I have never asked my daycare to scrape or remove poop. We have always done that at home in the evenings. I will admit it isn’t pleasant to deal with old poopy diapers, but the one perk of them sitting around for a few hours is that the poop solidifies a bit more and is easier to remove than fresh poop. Maybe that’s just me, but I always thought the poop came off faster and easier after it sat for a few hours.
You could consider using cloth diaper liners to make this part easier.
Step 4- Keep It Simple
Remember that if your daycare isn’t familiar with cloth diapers, you want to make sure you’re portraying it as easy for them (because it should be!)
Avoid talking to them about things like stuffing inserts, proper diaper creams, poop scraping, etc. You don’t need to overwhelm them with information.
All they need to know is how to put them on and where to put them when they take them off–that’s it! Leave it at that unless more information is needed at some point.
Step 5- Send a Cloth-Safe Diaper Cream
Once baby starts daycare, you will want to send a cloth diaper safe rash cream in case it is needed.
Step 6- Be Flexible
My last piece of advice for getting your daycare on board with cloth is to be flexible with them. You very well could be the only family that currently uses cloth diapers in their daycare, and maybe even the only family they’ve ever had do it. You want it to be a pleasant experience for them so that they’re willing to keep doing it and don’t change their policies.
Try to be flexible with their requests. For example, both of the daycares we have used have asked us if they could use a disposable during nap time. While I knew that my boys were always fine in cloth at nap at home, I knew that they probably went a little longer between changes at daycare than they did at home, so I agreed.
Would I have preferred they used cloth at nap? Yes. However, I knew my kids were the only ones in cloth at this center, so I didn’t want to risk having them leak at nap and ask me not to use cloth at all anymore. When you are flexible, people are much happier about working with you.
The exception to this would be if your child has any sensitivities to disposables–in that case, it may be important to put your foot down.
Using Cloth Diapers at Daycare is More Doable than You Think!
I have been lucky that every daycare I have interviewed was willing to entertain the idea of cloth diapers. I think you would be surprised that most daycares aren’t as turned off by cloth as you might think (after all, they’re not the ones doing the laundry!) Being proactive and positive in your approach with your daycare is the best way to get them on board with cloth diapers.