Beginner, Troubleshooting

Cloth Diapers at Daycare – Getting Your Provider on Board with Cloth

Many people think they’re “disqualified” from using cloth diapers because they work full or part-time and rely on a daycare to help with childcare during the day. They just assume that daycares don’t allow them, so they decide not to use cloth. 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

Video Summary

Step 1- Check Local Laws

Almost all states legally allow the use of cloth diapers at daycares. There are a couple 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.

Step 2- Talk to the Daycare about Past Cloth Experience

cloth-diapers-at-daycareAfter 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 swap inserts 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

wet-bags-for-daycareI 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 second daycare preferred to use their own bags (their policy was that all poopy diapers got tied in a plastic bag), so I did not send a wet bag there, but I still brought the 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.

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. Most typical rash creams aren’t cloth safe, so you will want to make sure you send your own.

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 asked to 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.

Holly Lee

I'm Holly and I'm the mom of two awesome young boys. We have been cloth diapering for 5 years. My family and I live in Minnesota with our dog, Ruby, and cat, Gherkin. Outside of Rocking the Cloth, I am also a middle school teacher. Thank you for visiting Rocking the Cloth--feel free to email me at holly@rockingthecloth.com if you have any questions or concerns. I'd love to help!

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11 Comments

  1. Vicki says:

    I remember when my children were babies and we only had cloth diapers and I am so happy to read this post as I totally disagree with the other diapers used and the cost to our environment and the unnatural fibre on a bubbas skin.

    Cloth Diapers are a much more sensible, clean loving way to keep baby dry and I hope all day cares and parents change to this way of loving their babies bottoms 

    Thank you

    1. Holly Lee says:

      I agree, Vicki! It’s amazing what just a few years can do to change people’s mindsets and make them think cloth is an impossible or ridiculous choice, when really this used to be the norm not that long ago!

  2. Carole says:

    I never knew about this.  I taught clothe diapers where things from the past.  This is a very good article and very educative. Can you tell me where to look for the state law on this?  I have no idea where to start. Thank you so much for sharing!  I just love your article!

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hi Carole! So glad you found it helpful. 🙂 Here is a resource that can help guide you in figuring out where your state stands on this: http://www.myblossombottom.com

  3. I love that the topic of cloth diapers still seems so taboo. At one time not in the far past, cloth diapers were the only choice. Not parents say there is not enough time in the day to worry about cloth diapers since disposables are much more convenient. Convenient products always comes with a price. Sort of like the concept of Breast feeding vs Bottle feeding. Natural is always better. Thank you for writing such a great post of the break down of the benefits of switching to cloth diapers.

  4. Dana Ellis-Cook says:

    Thank you such an informational post. The fact more parents are considering using cloth vs disposable diapers is growing in popularity. More daycares should embrace this new way of raising children and honor the parents wishes. Your suggestions to approach the daycare are spot on and well written. I will make sure to pass this article on to all my new parents. 

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Glad you found it helpful, Dana. 🙂

  5. Jag Randa says:

    I left my son in daycare, it was very important to me that they be able to use cloth diapers. But it took about 3 different daycares before I found one which was willing. 

    Not many people want to deal with the aftermath that comes with changing a dirty diaper. Not sure how I would deal with other people’s kids if I was in that situation myself. Now my kids I had no issues with. 

    I like that you are trying to make others more aware, but I feel this topic may need a few years of discussion for the daycares to come on board. What do you think?

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hi Jag!

      I guess I’m not sure. I think it may depend on where you live. We interviewed a number of daycares and all of them were willing to entertain the idea of cloth diapers, so I don’t know if we just got lucky or what! How many years ago were you interviewing daycares? Just curious if it has gotten better or worse in recent years.

      One thing I want to mention regarding your comment of dealing with the aftermath of the diapers–I do think it’s really important that we don’t ask our daycares to do that. My daycares have never had to deal with the aftermath of the diaper. They just changed my kids and put the dirties in the bag I took home every night. Our daycares have not had to do anything for my kids diaper changes that they wouldn’t also do for a kid in disposables–it’s just that instead of the garbage, they put the diaper in a different bag or container for me to take home. 

      Would you consider not requiring your daycare to deal with the aftermath and instead doing it yourself at home? I think that’s important, and I could see why maybe you were getting some daycares saying no. It could very well be against health codes for them to do that.

  6. Leo says:

    I never thought that cloth diapers may be allowed at daycare. That’s the reason I have never used the cloth diapers, as I thought they are not allowed in the daycare. One – used diapers have a certain cost at the end of the month that may not be neglected. Anyway I will continue to use the same diapers, as we are more familiar with those. Dealing with old poop everyday sound not too much interesting, lol:) We have to deal with poop anyway, but not to deal even with cloth diapers:)

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hi Leo! Yes, many people think that needing to use daycare means they can’t cloth, but thankfully that is rarely the case. 

      Is dealing with old poop my favorite job in the world? No. 🙂 But it’s really not that big of a deal, either, and just takes a minute or two.

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