Tips for Using Cloth Diapers in Daycare

Finding a Daycare Provider

If you’re looking for a daycare center that accepts cloth diapers, there are several options you should consider. These include a church, in-home, or university daycare as they tend to be more flexible compared to commercial daycare centers when it comes to supporting individual parenting preferences.

However, you should know that although some of these centers may not openly advertise their acceptance of reusables, this does not necessarily mean that they turn away kids that use cloth diapers. It’s possible that the centers may have started accepting cloth diapers, especially with the current economy. They may be open to the idea in an effort to make more money by registering more children.

After making a list of all potential daycare centers within your area, consider calling each one of them before deciding which ones to visit. For bigger daycare centers, ask to speak with the supervisor or director. Politely ask them if they would be open to cloth diapering and whether it’s within the parameters of their diapering standards and health requirements. For instance, during the conversation, inform them that you’re currently using cloth diapers on your child at home and whether they would be willing to continue the same if you decide to bring your child to their center.

Bear in mind that the initial experience with the daycare supervisor or manager may provide a clear insight of how your little one is likely to be treated once they are placed there.

Introducing Cloth Diapers to a Daycare Center

A good number of daycare centers do not have a written policy regarding the use of either disposable or cloth diapers. This is indeed a good thing as you can help them form a policy that supports diaper use in the future.

During your first visit with the daycare supervisor or manager, it would help a great deal if you brought an example of the washable cloth diaper your child will be using at the center. A lot of parents have had success bringing single piece cloth diapers such as all-in-ones or pocket diapers. Also, don’t forget to bring a wet bag to show them how you intend to carry the dirty diapers back home every evening. Be sure to explain in detail how the reusable cloth diapers will work in the daycare center and while at it, let them know that the whole cloth diapering system is super simple and stress-free and they have absolutely nothing to worry about.

If your explanation doesn’t seem convincing enough, you can also talk about how their center will benefit from using cloth diapers. For example, if the daycare center incurs extra costs providing diapers for the kids or is responsible for picking up the large number of disposables trashed every single day, switching to cloth diapers can significantly help reduce their expenses.

Furthermore, most daycare centers as well as pre-schools advertise themselves as eco-friendly institutions. Therefore, informing them about the immense benefits of cloth diapers may help change their minds.

Be Flexible When Negotiating

When negotiating, try to be a little bit flexible. Some daycare centers may prefer pocket or all-in-one diapers while others may prefer prefolds. Most centers may also insist that you provide a wet bag which must also have a loop to allow easy hanging. Others may ask you to bring more than one diaper cover as each diaper change will require a clean cover (particularly for a fitted or prefold and a cover system).You can agree on the preferred options with the supervisor or manager. You may need to buy different types of cloth diapers or other accessories just to ensure that they won’t have any issues using cloth diapers on your child.

A good example is switching to all-in-one style diapers or changing from snap to hook & loop closure.

If the daycare is open to using cloth diapers, the next important thing you need to talk about is the compensation in the event your reusable cloth diapers get thrown into the trash can accidentally. This one happens a lot so it’s important that you agree on the compensation beforehand to avoid any issues.

Propose a Trial Period

Not every daycare center will be okay with using cloth diapers. If they seem hesitant, it’s advisable to propose a short trial period. During the trial period, the daycare staff will familiarize themselves with cloth diapers and at the end of it, they will decide whether the system works for them or not. A 3-week trial is ideal as it takes time to get used to a change in routine and achieve proper use. With time, they might become more open to the idea and even end up preferring cloth diapers compared to disposables!

Learning about the State Regulations

Some daycares may refuse to enroll your child because he/she only uses cloth diapers, claiming that using cloth diapers is against the state regulations. However, in most cases, this is not usually the case. It’s therefore important that you understand your state’s rules and regulations regarding the use of cloth diapers.

Although not every daycare center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), some centers may tell you that they risk losing their NAEYC certification if they start accepting cloth diapers. However, you should know that NAEYC actually changed their regulations and does not even require a doctor’s note anymore to allow parents to bring cloth diapers to the centers. Cloth diapering in daycare centers is totally legal as long as proper hygiene measures are followed.

In the event your daycare demands a note, your child’s pediatrician should be able to provide a note allowing your child to use cloth diapers as some kids may be sensitive to the chemicals in disposable diapers.

Proper Sanitation Practice and Regulations

Daycare centers will often talk about having concerns about fecal contamination. However, a study issued by the American Public Health Association and published in the American Journal of Public Health (Vol. 85, Issue 1 30-33) clearly indicated that the amount of fecal contamination in centers that use cloth diapers is no different from those that use disposable diapers.

It’s also important to note that in addition to APHA, the World Health Organization recommends all fecal matter to be deposited into the toilet as it’s the safest and easiest way to handle waste. This is actually clearly stated in all disposable diaper packages, although daycare centers and parents often ignore these safety instructions.