Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cloth Diapering at Daycare or Preschool

At least once a week I read about others struggling to convince their day care provider to use cloth diapers on various diaper forums. When I wanted to enroll Allie in Connor's school two mornings this school year a BIG concern was that she would be able to wear her cloth diapers.

When I asked the Director she immediately said yes - no hesitation. WOW! Did she hear me correctly when I said cloth diapers? I didn't even mention how easy our diapers are to use! I think she was expecting prefolds with pins and covers. Of course, she would not be the one changing Allie each day she was there. ;)

When we went to the Open House in August I mentioned it to her teachers and they were on board as well! I showed them the Thirsties Pocket All In One just so they could see that they were not going to struggle with pins to diaper Allie. Thirsties are designed to go on just like a disposable diaper, but are of course better! They are trim fitting, have velcro tabs and leg gussets. The optional pocket opening allows us to add extra absorbency. I typically add Just Hemp, Thirsties Hemp, or a Fab Doubler when we need to boost the absorbency of Thirsties.

Perhaps I lucked out in that this is a small Church preschool and she is only there for 3 hours two mornings per week. If your provider says no to cloth diapers before seeing them I would recommend doing a quick intro to the new age of cloth. I have not had a single complaint from Allie's teachers on her diapers. The Director substituted in her class one day and even commented on how nice "Allie's britches were!"

The diapers I pack in Allie's preschool bag are those that fit her best, offer good absorbency and are simple for those not used to cloth diapers to use. I avoid the one size diapers, just because if you are not familiar with them you might wonder what you are doing with all the extra snaps! I want this to be easy on her teachers. Mums Bums are a super absorbent All In One diaper and those tend to end up in her school bag as well as Thirsties Pocket All In Ones and Knickernappies. I read about those who think they need to send All In Ones and only velcro diapers to daycare. As long as your pockets are stuffed, the provider will not need to do anything differently so I see now reason not to use pockets too. There is at least one Knickernappies to choose from in her bag each school day. That is often the diaper they change her into even with other options being velcro. She may end up with a different diaper in her bag on occasion, but I do tend to stick with these three. Allie has every diaper at Two Little Whales in her stash, but these three diapers are in the top 3 as far as quantity per brand.

When we leave the house I put a hemp doubler in if she is wearing a pocket and usually stuff hemp in the extras as well since the morning is her heavy wetting/power wetting time. I also pack two regular size wet bags. She really only needs to be changed once her 3 hours at school, but just in case she has a messy diaper I want them to have a separate bag to put it in because I don't think they would appreciate having to do back into a stinky wet bag with the next diaper (and it makes unloading the bag after school less of a mess).

I have often read how providers want individual wet bags for each diaper. That can get to be quite expensive, so I would try for one large wet bag and then maybe a few small ones like Wahmies Small Wet Bag (suitable for one diaper) for those diapers needing special containment. ;) For those daycares that claim this is unsanitary, I recommend bringing up the point of how this is no more unsanitary then when a child has an accident or a disposable diaper blowout or leakage. Allie has not once had to have her clothing changed due to a diaper leaking at preschool.

I started sending cloth wipes as well (premoistened in a mini or small Wahmies wet bag), but the preschool provides wipes and the teacher's seem to prefer those. I'm just glad they were open to cloth and if she has gets wiped with 4 disposable wipe a week I really can't complain.

If your day care allows cloth diapers and you have input that can help others please feel free to comment!


Nikki said...

I'm struggling with this right now. My 2 year old starts school in June and I'm just starting the fight. His school is supposed to be so artsy and PC. I can't believe they are saying no to me! Aaargh!

Two Little Whales said...

Are you offering to bring prestuffed pockets, or all in ones with velcro closure?

If you haven't already, I would show them the options and even offer to have separate small wet bags per diaper which could then be store in a larger bag? That is what some daycare facilities require.

We have been doing this since late August and they have not once complained. I think if you can at least get them to agree to try it they will be fine. I do make sure her diapers are nap worthy. Not because she naps there, but that allows her to be changed at the same time as those in disposables.

Nikki said...

I explained that cloth diapers have come a long way and described the velcro all in one type. I prefer and own mostly fuzzibunz but I have all kinds. I agree with you that if I can just get them to try it they would be fine. I don't know if I should continue to pursue it with the director or wait until he is in the classroom and deal with the teachers. Maybe I should just send him in underpants. We haven't even started potty training him so they would really have to deal with a mess then!

Two Little Whales said...

Well I told the director and she was like no problem! Of course she wasn't the one changing Allie. I mentioned it to the teachers at Open House and they didn't seem phased. Then they saw how easy it was and recommended it to some other parents. The director thought we were old school and was pleasantly surprised to see "how cute Allie's britches" were. I would just go in and say - it is the same as every other child in diapers, (use velcro at least initially) except I want to take them home in these little bags. :D

Does he get a rash in disposables? Perhaps a doctor's note will seal the deal.

I hope you can work it out.

Anonymous said...

It's funny to find this post. I am trying to transition from disposable to cloth, but the daycare is my biggest deciding factor. I am doing a google search to get more information to present to them, and found you have a similar situation. My son will be two next month. I did ask the teachers at first because they were the ones who would be changing day to day. One teacher said she only used cloth when her children were younger (plus in my direction), but no one had ever asked before and to check up front. I did ask the director and was told "we'll try." She cautioned me only to buy a couple to test and after a trial she would disucss it with the teacher and myself to see if it is something we could do full time. I did place my order last night and am keeping my fingers crossed. I am hoping that once they see it is easy it will not be a problem.

One concern I have: I am expecting this fall and IF all goes well with my cloth diaper at daycare experiment I would want Baby#2 to be CD as well. I am concerned about them rinsing the peanut-buttery poo off when he would start school at approx 6 months old.

Good luck with your son!

Two Little Whales said...

I hope the trial goes well!

Poo that can be plopped into the toilet easily is one thing, but I'm guessing that the daycare will not want to be washing poo diapers.
I would plan on bringing extra wet bags and just having the messy diapers contained separately.

Dani V. said...

That's quite interesting. Are they even allowed to decline you on the basis that you use cloth? I thought as long as the diapers you send them with are as easy and fast to use as a disposable they were required to go along with it as long as there was no other reason to decline you for care.

Rachel said...

Some places to refuse to cloth diaper. I'm not sure that they actually "can", but they do from what I have heard.