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The Ultimate Cloth Diaper Daycare Guide

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When any cloth diapering parent first tells their loved ones that they will be using cloth, they are often bombarded with a million and a half reasons why it’s a bad idea.  One common assertion against cloth diapering is that many daycare providers refuse to accept cloth diapers. 

In most places there is no legislation regarding the use of reusable diapers at daycare facilities, however, you may indeed find it difficult to find a daycare that will accept cloth diapers simply due to the fear of the unknown.

My aim with this article is to give you the tools to speak to your daycare provider and hopefully convince them to see the light when it comes to using cloth diapers.

Why would a daycare refuse to use cloth diapers in the first place?

You’ve been using cloth diapers now for months and you’ve really found your groove with them.  You think to yourself, “Hey, this is actually pretty easy!  Why would anyone refuse to use cloth diapers?”

Well the simple answer is that most daycare providers and care staff have never even seen a modern cloth diaper, and have heard all sorts of nonsense and myths about them.  They have it in their heads that cloth diapers are unsanitary or too complicated.  Just like anything else, we are often unsure of something new until we try it out for ourselves.

How to convince your daycare provider to use cloth diapers.

Many daycare providers are private organizations, and therefore can set their own regulations when it comes to diapering.  However, if you’ve found the right daycare center for your family here are some tips for convincing them to give it a try:

    1. Be kind
      I know - it’s exhausting always having to defend cloth diapering when, in your heart, you KNOW how much better they are for your child, the environment, and for your wallet.  Sometimes it just makes you want to shout from the rooftops!

      Please remember though that your daycare staff have to deal with a gaggle of unreasonable mini-humans shouting demands at them all day.  Speak to your daycare provider and staff in person and show up with a smile, an open ear, and a willingness to listen to their concerns.  People are often more willing to consider a change if they feel that their concerns are being heard as well.

    2. Know the law
      In most places there is no regulation against using cloth diapers at daycare facilities, however, you may come up against your center telling you that they are banned for sanitary reasons.  We know that simply isn’t true.  Stand your ground.  Your daycare provider may simply just assume that is true without ever having looked it up for themselves.  Research your local regulations on diapering before you speak with them so you can have some hard facts to share.

    3. Ask them about their experience and objections to cloth diaper
      Listen actively.  Acknowledge their concerns and address any misinformation they may have with kindness.  Remember that disposable diaper companies have been pumping anti-cloth marketing campaigns for decades and that you yourself may have even believed some of the myths about cloth diapers before you started learning about them. 

    4. Bring a sample pack with you and be prepared to demonstrate
      It’s probably been a LONG time since anyone at your daycare has seen a modern cloth diaper, if they even have at all!  Most people think that cloth diapers are complicated, are gross, or just simply inconvenient, and in many cases, the fear of the unknown is what makes people hesitant to even consider cloth as an option. 
      Bring a couple of the diapers you plan on using, plus all the accessories.  Show them how they work, how you put them on (feel free to bring a doll to demonstrate on), how to dispose of the poop, and how they will store the soiled diapers. Provide your daycare with our printable Cloth Diaper Daycare Guide so they always have a reference sheet to refer back to.

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    5. Ask them to consider a trial run 
      Remember back to the time before you started using cloth.  You most likely sat down and read everything there is to know about cloth diapering, joined all the Cloth Diaper Facebook Groups, and maybe you even considered buying some disposable diapers “just in-case”.  Now a few months in, you’re asking yourself how you could have ever been nervous about doing something that so easy. 
      Once someone starts using cloth diapers many of their objections will vanish.  Speak to your daycare provider about doing a trial-run so they can see cloth diapers in action.  Be available for troubleshooting and education along the way.

    6. Be willing to compromise and adjunct your expectations
      We want to make cloth diapering as easy as possible for your care providers.  Consider providing disposable wet wipes and disposable liners, even if you don’t use them at home.   Be willing to meet your daycare center halfway.
      Find out what your child’s diaper change schedule will be.  Remember that disposable diapers usually do not have to be changed as often as cloth diapers (if there’s no poop) and your child may be in their diaper for more than then typical 2-3 hours.  If they are not willing to budge on their diaper change routine, be willing to add some extra absorbency to your child’s diaper to avoid leaks between changes.  

What are the best cloth diapers for daycare?

If your daycare provider has had experience with modern cloth diapers they may already have one or two specific styles of diaper they are willing to use. If not, choose a system that doesn’t require any special folding techniques.  

Consider choosing a system that is most like the experience of changing a disposable diaper.

While you may be versed at all the fancy origami folds and which one will give your child the best absorbency at any given time of the day or night, remember that your daycare providers will have a handful of kiddo running around as they are trying to change your squirmy little one.  That does mean that covers are out - but consider using pre-flats, or fixed flats, with a snappi or velcro closures (most centers won’t accept safety pins).

Pocket Diapers
Always pre-stuff and line your pocket diapers to have them ready to go.  Pocket diapers are also fantastic because you can really customize your diapers absorbency with the addition of the right inserts.

AIO (All-in-one) / AI2 (All-in-two)
These diapers are also fantastic for recreating the “disposable diaper” experience. Some people find it more difficult to adjust the absorbency of these diapers as you would have to add a separate natural fibre insert / booster.  
    Fitted and covers

    Another fantastic option to consider, however, be ready to invest in more covers as you will most likely have to send a clean cover for EVERY diaper change, even just the pees.  Most daycare centers will not reuse a diaper cover once it is wet. 

    What should I pack in my diaper bag?

    Remember, it’s your responsibility to make sure your daycare providers have EVERYTHING they need to make cloth diapering your child as easy as possible. Consider making a checklist that you can use every day to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. 

    Here’s an example of a checklist for a cloth diaper daycare bag:

    • Aprox. 6x diapers per day (you may adjust this if you find that they are doing fewer diaper changes),
    • A diaper pod to house the diapers,
    • 2x wet bags,
    • Extra disposable liners,
    • Wet wipes, 
    • Cloth-safe diaper cream,
    • An extra change of clothes (this is especially important in the beginning as your and your daycare providers figure out absorbency needs and proper fit),
    • Whatever else your child needs for the day,
    • A laminated copy of our Cloth Diaper Daycare Guide.