When it came time for our 20 month old son Wilson to start preschool 4 days a week I honestly didn’t even consider that I might find a place that would refuse to use cloth diapers. We've been a cloth diapering family since Wil was 7 months old, and sometimes I forget there's any other option. It's just...what we do.
Up until his recent enrollment in preschool at 19 months, I had been able to bring my son with me to my part-time job, and since our extended family lives out of state and we rarely get a babysitter, we haven't had to deal with anyone refusing to uphold our decision to cloth. So when we set about interviewing preschools in our area, I called the first one on my list and asked them every question I could think of except the cloth diaper question. After I hung up the phone, it hit me. "What if they say they won't?"
I regrouped and resumed my calls. This time I asked everyone the cloth diaper question first. I decided I wasn't looking for a place that was packed with cloth diaper addicts, and was not under the delusion I was going to find one either. The question I asked was "We use cloth diapers on our son. Is your staff familiar with cloth diapers, and if not, are they willing to learn?" I figured if they were going to say "no" to the "willing to learn" part, then we didn't need to go any further.
I'm happy to report none of them gave me a "no" response. For the most part, they were all up for at least learning about it. Good for me since one of the things I love best is talking about my cloth diapers! The school we eventually chose has been so great. They were one of the schools I interviewed who never had a cloth-diapered child, but were very excited to learn all about it.
On our initial visit and tour I sat down with my son's teachers and showed them everything they needed to know about the wonderful world of cloth. It's been three weeks, and things are going well. Wil attends school from 9am - 3:30pm and I usually pack 2 Gro Baby shells, 5 soaker pads, 5 flushable liners, and a medium sized Planet Wise wet bag. I also gave them a bag of Gro Baby Bio Soakers and a couple ‘sposies to keep there, in the event he happens to have multiple blowouts and go through everything I’ve packed (thankfully this has never happened. The staff are becoming cloth-diapering pros, picking up on the lingo, and adapting beautifully! Who wouldn’t? Cloth is addicting after all but after all!
I have found the most important element in beginning to cloth diaper is just to be open to it. This applies to both parents and caregivers alike. As long as you can find a day care or preschool that is ready and willing, you have the opportunity to introduce cloth to a new group of people, which is always fun! In addition, you may be pioneering the way for future cloth diapering families looking for daycare… instead of hearing "we've never cloth diapered here before..." they will hear the welcome words, “Absolutely! We use cloth diapers here and we love it!”