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.