Cloth diapering and daycare. Hmm, sounds tricky? Is it possible to cloth diaper at a daycare or dayhome? I say YES! Just as setting up for cloth diapering at home is important, getting set-up for cloth diapers outside of the home is just as important. You've figured it out at home, you have your systems and of course everyone one else understands, right? Wrong. You have to keep in mind that cloth diapers are still not mainstream, so you should keep that in mind. Many providers have not used cloth diapers on children.
In Alberta, we do have ALBERTA REGULATION 143/81, Public Health Act, INSTITUTIONS REGULATION, 1981. This regulation applies to daycares. Cloth diapers are mentioned and are allowed with guidance on how they are to be used. I think the regulation is a little out of date when applied to cloth as back in the 1980s cloth diapers were no where near the sophistication we have today.
As a heads up, these tips come from my personal experience using cloth diapers in day homes and daycare in Fort McMurray and Calgary Alberta. Both kids have used cloth or hybrids while under the care of others; two dayhomes and one daycare. None of the places had dealt with cloth diapers before our family. I’ve tried several styles of diapers to see what work better. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for them, especially in the beginning.
Ready? Here we go!
- 1. Start the talk with cloth. When initially selecting your provider,
include cloth diapers in the interview process. Upfront discussion is
always better than springing it on them on the first day. You can use
this as a quick introduction to cloth as well as let them know your
system so that are not scared that you will be putting a burden on them.
It will be appreciated by the caregivers.
- 2. Easy diapers. By easy, I mean easy for everyone; all in one or pre-stuffed pocket diapers. Diapers that require no fussing mean less work and are a style more familiar to disposable diapers. We were using hybrid diapers the first time and I think it was difficult for the provider to learn. We switched to AIOs and pockets and had no issues. This isn’t a ply to get you to buy more diapers. I know I’ve wanted my caregiver to focus on the kids. If they are distracted continually by two piece systems they don’t understand, that is time away from the kids. After they are more comfortable with cloth diapers, you may wish to talk about other systems.
- 3. Wetbags. I suggest providing a clean wetbag everyday plus an extra. You should take your diapers home at the end of every day. I liked to bring a large stash the first day of the week and multiple wetbags. At the end of everyday, I’d take home the dirty wetbag and take stock of what was left. Throughout the week, I’d refill the clean stash.
- 4. Dirty diapers. The Alberta regulation says they need to rinse cloth diapers. Personally, I think this makes it difficult. Knocking off solids into the toilet, yes. Swishing at daycare? No. I suggest something crazy. I asked that they knock solids if possible into the toilet and all others they put in the wetbag as is. I took the wetbag home each day and rinsed them at home with my diaper sprayer. Asking them to rinse is a step that discourages cloth diaper use. I found they typically put all poopy diapers within a plastic bag in the wetbag which I thought was wasteful, but compromise is key. The regulations must be met and this way all are satisfied.
- 5. Wipes. Here I made another compromise. Even though I think cloth wipes would be just as easy, I provided disposable wipes. I choose ones with as little crap in them that I could find. Again, it’s making the process easy and the caregiver comfortable. The overall benefit is still there.
- 6. Before you leave the facility that first morning, make sure you have taken the time to fully explain the process. Review with the staff. Be prepared to review more than once the first month. Be prepared if you pick up your babe and she’s in a disposable. New staff may come through and will need an overview. Remember, The learning process may take time.Relax and let the learning happen.
My family has had many positive experiences and feedback from our caregivers over the past 4 years.It was rough at first, but once I became better with my approach, our experiences also got better.
I’m sure there are other great tips out there too. Please, feel free to share them here or to ask questions :)
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