Many daycares are now cloth diaper friendly and eager to help families in any way they can. Though laws differ from state to state, typically any daycare can accept cloth diapers as long as parents are laundering them and remove dirty diapers each day.
Using cloth exclusively – including while at daycare if you’re a working parent – means you’ll still enjoy the financial and environmental benefits of cloth diapers. Here are some tips on helping your babycare providers (and you!) transition to using cloth at daycare:
- Try to have about 30 diapers in your stash to avoid washing everyday. Washing every other day will allow your covers time to air dry and will give you and your washing machine some quality time apart.
- Having several wetbags will help. Right now we have three in our rotation and that seems to be the bare minimum. Each day we send a new wetbag to daycare and wash the bags when we wash the diapers. In the mornings, we pack a small diaper bag with clean diapers and stick the wetbag on top for them to just toss everything into at each changing.
- Find daycare friendly diapers. I prefer prefolds at home, but we send pre-stuff pocket diapers to daycare. This way they are doing no more work than they would with a disposible diaper. We’ve noticed our son needs to be changed more often with the prefolds, too, so it’s easier to do at home when he’s with us.
- Send plenty of diapers. At three months old, we’re sending about 8 diapers a day. We haven’t gone through this many (at our request, they change him every 1.5 hours instead of the state-mandated every hour) yet, but this leaves one diaper an hour just in case there’s a poo emergency or giantic pee tsunami.
- Make sure providers have any special instructions in writing. A lot of people don’t know to not use standard diaper creams in cloth diapers, or don’t know how an extra long insert should be stuffed into a pocket. Any special things in your routine should be in writing in case questions come up while your little one is at daycare.
- Don’t forget wipes! Some centers provide wipes, while others request that you bring your own. At home, we make our own solution and use homemade wipes; if someone else watches our son, we send the spray bottle along and let them know they function the same way as conventional wipes…only better and more enviornmentally friendly!
Depending on the situation, you may also consider labeling your diapers if there are other babies in cloth at the center. Having a washing routine for days you do need to wash helps, too – we tend to throw everything in the wash as soon as we get home so that it’s in the dryer by the time we are having dinner. A lot more places are willing to do cloth than I would have ever imagined, and with a little organization, using cloth can easily continue at a daycare center.