The topic of daycare diapering has come up a few times lately, so I wanted to address this subject. First of all, the Real Diaper Association has a page dedicated to Daycare Cloth Diapering. This is a great resource for parents who want to find a cloth diaper-friendly daycare or convince their current daycare to accept cloth diapers. It sounds like the reasons that daycares may be against cloth diapering are the same reasons that families may not be using cloth diapers: mainly lack of education on the subject and lack of exposure to cloth diapers.
There are some daycare facilities out there who gladly accept cloth diapers–the RDA has a list available. If you are already using a daycare that is not on the list, have a conversation with the people running your facility. Show them what cloth diapers look like these days. Show them how everything will work. Once they get all of the relevant information, they will realize that using cloth diapers will not be all that different from what they're already doing. They will also experience fewer (i.e. no) blowouts, which means they will spend less time changing your baby into clean clothes! They will have less trash to deal with, and your baby will be potty trained at age 2 and a half, so your daycare will have a YEAR of fewer diaper changes for your child! It may also save them money if they are accustomed to providing diapers. If they are still hesitant, perhaps you can convince them to try it out for a few weeks. Remember, your daycare consists of people who work for you! You are paying them to provide a service to you.
If your baby goes to daycare and you see that as a hangup to switching to cloth, here are some ideas as to how cloth diapering will work at daycare:
- You may have better luck convincing daycare to use cloth if you choose all-in-one or pocket-style diapers (see Cloth Diapering 101) with velcro ("hook & loop) closures. These will be the closest to using disposables in terms of how the diaper change will go.
- You could also consider hybrid diapers with disposable inserts as a transition tool. Once they get used to the hybrid diapers, switching out the sposie inserts for cloth ones will just be a small step.
- Purchase several wet bags. Each day, you will send a wet bag and several clean diapers to daycare. If you're using pocket-style, make sure the pockets are pre-stuffed and ready to go on your baby. The caregivers will drop the dirty diapers into the wet bag after a diaper change. When you get home, you can dump the contents of the wet bag into your diaper pail and throw the used wet bag in your pail as well. An exception to this would be if there is a poopy diaper in the wet bag. In this case, you'd pull that one out separately and deal with the poop (see the Poo Page). If you're using poo liners, you may be able to convince your daycare providers to dispose of the liner and poo before putting the dirty diaper into your wet bag to make it a little easier on you when you get home.
If daycare is the only reason you aren't switching, you could do part-time cloth diapering and still save yourself a bundle (as well as reap all of the other benefits of using cloth). Cloth diaper on the weekends and at night for a few weeks and see how it goes. After giving yourself a trial period, you will probably come to love cloth diapers and realize that it really isn't that different from using disposables. That may be the motivation you need to convince daycare to accept them and go full-time. Even if you don't go full-time, part-time cloth diapering is still better than no cloth diapering!
Anyone have first-hand experience with cloth diapers and daycare?