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Diapering At Daycare

When I found out I was expecting my third child six years after my second, I was excited about a number of things—nursing again….watching my big kids interact with the baby…living closer to our families than we had when our older children were new.  And I was also psyched to cloth diaper again. I had cloth diapered our second child when he was at home, but the daycare center we used was unwilling to use them at school. I had been disappointed about that—as were several of his teachers, who had cloth-diapered their own children at home, and would have been glad to do it at school if the policy had permitted it.

I started interviewing daycare providers for Baby #3 while I was still pregnant, but I didn’t have to look long. I was thrilled to find a daycare provider who was perfect for us: a family friend who cared for two infants in her home. She was just the kind of loving person I wanted to care for my child. When I asked about cloth, she told me she was already using cloth with one of her babies and was happy to use it for our baby, too. “I won’t wash them, but I’m happy to use them!” I started planning my new stash, and when Sam arrived, stocked up on a variety of pocket diapers, mostly one-sized. I knew he would be our last baby, so I decided OS would be the best value for us. I bought extra wipes and a zippered wetbag and we were ready to roll when I returned to part-time work when Sam was about three months old.

The transition to daycare went smoothly (at least as far as diapers go). There was a learning curve for all of us, since I had never used cloth with a daycare provider (and since things had changed, mostly for the better, in six years!). At first we had some leaking issues, but that was largely due to having to figure out exactly which snap settings Sam needed on each diaper. I had shopped sales so we had a variety of styles, a mixture of applix and snap diapers. Our daycare provider preferred the Velcro ones (“it’s easier to get a good fit on him, although they all work well”), but I had preferred snaps when cloth diapering my second child.

I found that I needed more diapers than I had anticipated (or needed to wash more during the week, which was a less appealing option with three children and a job). I ended up with a stash of ten one-sized pocket diapers (BumGenius, Happy Heinys, Kissaluvs, and Fuzzibunz) and 4 medium pockets (HH and FB). This was enough to get us through two full days at daycare (and to keep two “easy diapers,” as my mom calls them, in the diaper bag for outings). At home, we used prefolds and covers, reserving the pockets for daycare days and for weekends. I bought a total of about 4 dozen wipes, which was enough to keep a comfortable supply at both home and daycare.

Cloth diapering Sam at daycare was a success. If I were doing it over (and buying a stash designed for daycare), I would buy applix diapers in one style only. That said, our daycare provider didn’t mind using the snap diapers, although the variety of snap placements did make things confusing from time to time. A simpler stash would have helped with that. With my second child, I had a completely eclectic stash and I loved it—fitteds, wool, pockets. Needing to wash and stuff diapers at night (often late) made simplicity more appealing this time around. But we have been happy to be able to use cloth diapers round-the-clock with Sam—we haven’t needed to buy disposables at all!

Anne-Marie is a mom of three fabulous children (9, 6 and 5 months) in Northern New England.

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  1. Amanda said...

    I wish our church nusery would allow cloth. the velcro pockets are just as easy as sposies! i've thought about asking if they will use our flip cover with flip sposie insert.

  2. Samantha said...

    I didn't even ask when I dropped my youngest off at the church nursery for the first time, a few weeks ago. I just brought her in and said, "She wears cloth diapers," and showed them the ropes. They older ladies in the nursery consequently, love them!!

  3. Samantha said...

    I dropped our youngest off at the church nursery for the first time a few weeks ago. I didn't ask if they accepted them. I just dropped her off and said, "She wears cloth diapers," and showed them the ropes : ) Consequently, the elderly women who work in the nursery LOVE the "new" cloth diapers!!

  4. Elaine said...

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I'm going to CD our 2nd child (didn't w/ our first), and our current daycare provider was more than willing… But, we're moving. I interviewed several and only 1 really said they'd give it a try. But at least I know to purchase a few more aplix and maybe they'll be happy with those!

  5. Sandrell said...

    Did you also use cloth wipes? I'm thining about doing this, but not sure daycae would be on board. They will allow the cloth diapers though & I'm happy about that. I want to at least try the cloth wipes at home. The biodegrable wipes are expensive.

  6. I was so happy when our daycare agreed to cloth diaper our baby (#3 for us as well). We only use pockets or AIOs for daycare – and like you they are almost all OS since she is most likely our last. Right now my stash is almost big enough so that I don't have to do diapers during the week. Hubby and I were just talking about adding a few more so that we can just do diaper laundry on Sundays.

    Its amazing how willing our daycare was – especially once they saw how simple the diapers are to use. We do leave a stash of sposies there incase she has a really productive :) day, but so far we haven't really ever needed them.

  7. Bethany said...

    My daycare provider is fine with my cloth diapers. I use BG 3.0s/4.0s with aplix. I do think the velcro makes it easier for daycares to say yes to cloth. When interviewing, I brought along one of the diapers to show them, as most people didn't realize how easy they would be. I recently transitioned to a new daycare and asked my old provider to tell me honestly what she thought about the cloth diapers and she said they weren't a big deal at all and even offered to talk to our new provider if she had any questions. I bring a bag every day with clean cloth diapers and a clean wetbag to put the dirties in.

  8. jessw said...

    We use mostly Flips at home and send the pockets to day care. I do wash about every other day – so we're kind of similar! But this is my only baby so far 😉

  9. Jill said...

    I think you have great advice for moms wanting to put their kids in child care. The easier, the better. You can use the 'hard ones' or 'festive' ones at home– especially since someone else will be changing them, best to be 'simple'.

  10. Anne-Marie said...

    We do use cloth wipes– our daycare provider was glad to use them. We keep them in an old wipes box– she puts in about 10 damp ones at a time, and keeps a store of extra ones around. The other baby uses cloth wipes, too. :)

  11. Jen Z said...

    my daycare has been open to cloth diapers. There is one other child besides my daughter.. The only drawback is that some workers haven't quite figured out the snaps or velcro so I have to leave extra cloths, but I have to do laundry anyway so I don't mind.. they seem to have gotten the hang of it.

  12. AP said...

    Great "live and learn" advice for working mamas! Now if only more daycares would agree to give cloth a try!

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