Cloth diapering in daycare

9 08 2013

When we were pregnant with my son, my husband and I made the personal decision to cloth diaper him. There were a lot of reasons — cheaper, better for the environment, softer, cuter, and no chemicals, to name some of the top reasons. I spent time visiting 3 cloth diaper stores, talking to people who’ve done it, and researching online about brands, fit, and wash cycles. I entered tons of contests and shopped using lots of deals, and came away with a nice stash to start with with not a lot of the upfront cost that dissuades some people from considering them. We have been more than pleased with them. There have been a handful of times when we’ve used disposables (a week at Disney, a week at the beach), and I’m always relieved to get back into the cloth habit once we get home. For some reason, disposables always smell dirty to me, even if they’re dry, but maybe that’s just me because I’m not used to their *distinct* smell.

I was very fortunate in that at every single daycare (or home) we interviewed, people were open to the idea, which otherwise would have been a deal-breaker. I only brought two diapering items with me to these interviews, a wetbag and a diaper. Once people saw how easy they were, and the only difference (for them) was where to toss the diaper after a change (into a zippered wetbag instead of a pail or the trash), they would say things like “oh, okay! I didn’t know it was that easy. Cloth diapers have changed, haven’t they?”

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One of the Planet Wise wet bags that I sent to his babysitter last year.

If you get on cloth diaper store listserves and wait for deals, you can occasionally get these free with a purchase, or with points accumulated from buying diapers, etc. I’ve never paid full price for any of these diapering accessories (or the diapers themselves, for the record). I also used wetbags at the pool this summer and to carry milky pump parts home from work last year.

I read somewhere that a daycare refusing cloth diapers would be like discriminating against certain brands of disposables. Today when I took my son to visit the new school/daycare again where he’ll start next week, they were agreeable to using the cloth diapers, as promised. They have several other, younger, babies in cloth, and the directors even used cloth diapers (the same brand, even!) on their own children, so they  agreed to continue them here, as long as I provided a sealed container for the dirty ones. That’s where the wetbags come in.

Here are some of my favorite pocket diapers. I have used these for over a year now, and they still look squeaky clean!

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ImageI love that they’re adjustable in size, so I don’t have to buy more as my son grows. When we’re all done with them, I’ll sell them on ebay and make back most of what I spent initially (which wasn’t much, since I won a lot of them!). I know this because sometimes I’ll buy them used for super cheap at a consignment sale and then sell them on ebay, and make a lot more than what I paid, because there’s more of a market online for them than at these small consignment sales, where people might not know what they are or how to price them.

When I asked the teacher today how often they do diaper changes, she said once every hour. I can’t imagine how many dry disposables they waste!

On wash cycles:

Cloth diapers are much easier to clean than people think, at least the way I do it. People probably think I spend a lot of time swirling them around in the toilet, or in Woolite or something, but no! I don’t really touch them much. When I get home from work, I empty the wetbag straight into his lined diaper pail, which is just a 13-gallon trashcan with a lid, and the pail liner (link is similar to mine, but cuter prints!) into the washer every other day. In the machine I do a warm rinse, a hot wash, and another rinse, then hang them up by the window to dry. (I could use the dryer, but I choose not to.) It’s very rare that they stain, but if they do, the sun bleaches anything out. If the diaper has poop, I just plop the poop into the toilet (no touching required), with the disposable liner that it’s stuck to. The diaper stays pretty free of residue that way. There have been about 2 times where the diaper has been so gross that I’ve had to use a diaper sprayer, but twice in 13 months isn’t bad.

I use flushable liners to catch the solids, which makes it easier for me, but people do different things. The liner looks like a dryer sheet and is soft. I tend to wash them with the diapers if they don’t get soiled, so I’ve only gone through 1.5 packs in the last 7 months:

ImageAnd here is my happy toddler in his diaper after visiting his new school today!

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What questions do you have about cloth diapering? What is your favorite type of diaper, or favorite brand?

Not compensated for links used.

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5 responses

9 08 2013
Kristy Mays

So they will change a diaper even if it’s not wet? That is super wasteful…

12 08 2013
RunningMOMentum

Mystery solved! He was there 8 hours, so I sent 8 cloth diapers (he has backups there, too). They checked 7 times and changed 6 of them. (They send a BabyGram home with the times of all the changes and what was in each). So they check hourly and change as needed. Whew!

9 08 2013
RunningMOMentum

That’s the impression I got! I didn’t press, since it won’t affect my budget. I’d feel sorry for people sending loads of disposables that just get tossed, though!

9 08 2013
CDsimple

I hope the meant that they check hourly and change if needed. An hourly change seems excessive! Regardless, I am glad you found a place to let you use them. It is worrying me for when I need to go back to work as it is already hard enough to find a place that will take an infant, let alone cloth diapers.

9 08 2013
RunningMOMentum

It is so hard to find a place that fits! We’d been on the waitlist at this place since I was about 5 months pregnant. I’m grateful they will CD, and I’m guessing they’ll check every hour and only change if needed. The beauty of CDs is that I’ll know how many diapers they changed each day! 🙂 Thanks for reading, and good luck with your own search! I hope you find a place with which you feel comfortable!

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