Cloth diapers at daycare… it sounds intimidating, and I’m pretty sure I’ve sent a few providers running for the hills at the mere mention of it, but using your Lalabye Baby cloth diapers at daycare is possible! Having your own system, routine, or a checklist helps it to become as second nature as using them at home!
Finding A Cooperative Daycare/
Convincing Your Daycare
If you have found a daycare center or child care provider that will accept using cloth, congratulations! This step alone can be daunting in many areas of the country. The majority of child care facilities misinterpret (or choose to misinterpret) the DHR (Department of Human Resources) Minimum Standards document when it comes to diapers and will dismiss them as a violation of DHR code. For example, in Alabama, the document states, “Wet or soiled diapers shall be placed in a covered, plastic-lined, container, inaccessible to children, and shall be disposed of daily.” Some daycares choose to interpret “disposed of daily” as that they have to be thrown in the trash instead of removed from the premises (as cloth diapers should and would be)! They also can argue their own definition of “sufficient” in the statement, “Sufficient clean, dry diapers and clothing shall be provided for each infant/toddler,” as to discount the use of cloth diapers.
Be aware of the regulations in your state, look up the appropriate standards document, and make sure you are fully informed.
I even called my state DHR child care office to clarify, and the woman I spoke with was entirely positive about the use of cloth diapers! Just be sure whenever you bring it up, do it as politely as possible.
Here is a quick script of how you could handle the conversation:
Parent: “Our family uses cloth diapers. Is this something your facility would accept?”
Provider: “No, that’s against DHR regulations.”
Parent: “Actually, it isn’t. I familiarized myself regarding the diapering section and even spoke with a local DHR official, and there are just a few requirements, that I can easily meet, in order to safely use cloth at your facility. If you would be open to it, I would be happy to bring some diapers in when we take a tour and show you just how easy and sanitary they can be!”
It might help to say that entire part with an understanding smile on your face, and make sure to keep your tone light and informative, rather than rude and judgmental. 🙂
How to Make It Easier For You & The Teachers
I found typing up a short document to be helpful. Give the teachers a quick rundown (brevity is your friend here- don’t overload them) of what to expect from the diapers, any no-no’s (such as diaper creams), and a few photos/guidelines for getting the proper fit. Lalabye Baby even has the perfect graphic for getting a good fit that you can share with your care provider!
Lalabye Mama Sarah Richardson also has a handy cheat sheet to help ensure that care providers can easily remember your baby’s snap settings and the general rules for using cloth on your child. Click the link to download a copy for yourself!
Simply laminate, or keep in a clear, plastic page protector, and circle the snaps with an erasable marker (like Vis-A-Vis wet erase marker so the markings do not rub off by accident the way that Expo markers can). You can erase and change the snap settings as baby grows, and this helps keep care providers up to speed!
You can choose to send cloth wipes with your diapers as well. To make it easy for everyone, send a large container of pre-moistened wipes. This saves the step of wetting every wipe while trying to change a squirmy baby, especially if there is a line of diaper changes waiting to happen! I love using an old Huggies wipes dispenser. It easily holds enough wipes for a week and fits nicely into cubby spaces or changing table bins. Personally, I like to use BALM! Baby or LuSa wipe solution to pre-moisten my wipes. You can also just send enough wipes for the day depending on your style.
For Parents: Poopy diapers are already no fun to clean up, so how can you make that task easy after a long day at work? Disposable liners! Some providers will gladly dump these for you, but let them know they don’t have to. Also, remember that disposable liners shouldn’t be flushed, since many do not biodegrade quickly and can clog plumbing, so have a trash bag handy to toss them into after you’ve dumped solids into the toilet. Spray or rinse off any remaining solids on the diaper, and toss everything into your pail, hanging wet bag, or whatever setup you have for storing dirty diapers until laundry day.
For Teachers: Tell providers that they do not have to clean out poopy diapers- just fold them and stick them in a wetbag and zip it closed. Some parents send two wetbags- one for poopy diapers and one for wet diapers. I’ve also heard of parents color coordinating these bags to help with this- a green for wet and a red for poopy! Ask your provider what would be most helpful to them.
It’s also helpful to show your daycare provider how to fold up poopy diapers, since for many it’s simply second nature to roll up disposables. Trust me, you do NOT want to deal with poop all over the outside and inside of your diapers. This one is a no-brainer for most cloth parents but takes some getting used to for those who haven’t used cloth before. I suggest folding in half, like you normally would when closing up a clean diaper to put away, then fold in half again, and wrap the wings around to secure. Feel free to download the following graphic, print it out, and share it with your care provider!
For convenience, my daycare likes for me to bring a week’s worth of clean, dry, pre-stuffed diapers every Monday, and I simply tote the wet bag full of dirties home each day and bring a new, clean wetbag the following morning for the rest of the week. I have a LARGE diaper bag that I can pretty easily do this with, but you can also use a simple large tote bag, large reusable shopping bag, or a bin! Bring everything in, unload into your child’s cubby, and take the bag or bin home for next week!
Mama Sarah Roper likes to pack wet bags for each day. She packs 3 bags on Sunday night (the bag for Monday, a bag for Tuesday, and a bag for Wednesday) and then packs two bags on Wednesday night (one for Thursday and one for Friday).
This saves her time as she prepares each week!
Thoughts From A Daycare Provider:
Insight from a care provider’s point of view is invaluable as well. After all, their feelings should be considered, too! Mama Karla Marchand has care provider experience to go along with her own cloth experience and offers these helpful tips:
“Tell caregiver which creams/salves they can use and how (with or without a liner.) Have the parents explain why. Many providers who haven’t used cloth won’t understand that Desitin can ruin a diaper! Find out the laws in your state. For example, in Wisconsin, the rule is: a new diaper, every time. Therefore, you can’t reuse covers for an AI2 style. Ask them if #2’s can be flushed or just packed in the wet bag (this will be different depending on the provider). Let them know your preference on outdoor play…for instance, my daycare kiddos crawl around on the grass, go through the sprinkler etc. Is this alright for their diapers? Let them know.”
And that’s it! I get it. We ALL get it. Cloth can be intimidating to newbies! But it is possible to use your beloved Lalabyes at daycare and maybe even convert a few teachers while you’re at it! Jump in and give it a try, and check in on the Lalabye Baby Cloth Diaper Chat group to share successes, problems, and of course, adorable photos!