Cloth Diapers and Daycare: Packing the Bag {Like a Boss}

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Our first guest post for “Cloth in Daycare” month is from Joedee. She is a self described “bag-lady” and gives us a look at how she packs a diaper bag for daycare.


I’m a bag lady. I pack bags inside of bags. On Tuesdays, I carry five bags. Seven if you count the bags inside of bags. Packing bags is what I do, five days a week.

Diaper bag packing for daycare is fairly simple. I have a big bag with lots of pockets. My diaper bag holds 6 diapers, a wet bag, 3 changes of clothes, 3 bottles, 1 sippy cup and small baby food containers. It has a pouch on the back where I slide the care sheet that I get when I pick up my son.

My son started daycare when he was 12 weeks old. He is now 8 months old. Six diapers have always been adequate for an 8-hour stay. Oftentimes, I’m still left with one. I highly recommend a wet bag with a hanging strap. The caregivers hang it on hooks attached to the changing table, so they can drop his dirties right in. I use a Planet Wise wet/dry bag. If my son’s clothes get dirty, the caregivers put the clothing in the dry pocket. (No plastic bags!)

When I started cloth diapering my daughter at 9 months, I purchased pocket diapers with hook and loop closures specifically with daycare use in mind. I was blazing trails being the only cloth diaper user there, so I didn’t want it to be perceived as a nuisance. Now there are TWO cloth diapered children at the facility, so I’ve become a little more versatile. Plus I have a new-found hate for hook and loop. So, I send pocket and AIO snap diapers. I get no complaints. My daycare stash consists of bumgenius, GroVia, Kawaii, Rocky Mountain, Knickernappies and Fuzzibunz. (And soon to be a Swaddlebees Simplex in the super cute dinos print!)

The main compartment of my diaper bag holds 6 diapers and the wet bag folded. I just put the baby food containers on top of the diapers. There is a zipper pocket on the front where I put the extra clothes. There are four outside pockets where the 3 bottles and sippy cup go.  The end.

My biggest caution regarding cloth diapers in daycare is diaper cream usage.

I send disposable wipes that are kept at the Center, so those don’t go back and forth. Some parents send jar baby food in bulk so that’s not a daily item to pack. I make my son’s food, so I thaw it overnight and send to daycare every day. I have a tube of diaper cream that is kept there also. My biggest caution regarding cloth diapers in daycare is diaper cream usage. I have had a diaper ruined with Desitin even though I provided safe cream. So, make it very clear that they are to only use the cream you provided because certain creams can ruin the diapers. Pull it out of the bag and show them the cream.

At the end of the day, I just take the wet bag of dirties and shove it into the main compartment. It’s a little bulkier than the trip there, but it still fits.

In case you’re wondering about all my bags, I have an almost 4-year-old daughter that goes to daycare Tuesday – Friday. She has a backpack and a nap mat. There’s my son’s diaper bag. I go to the gym during my lunch hour, so I have a gym bag. Then I carry a backpack to work that has my pump, small cooler for the milk bottles, pumping bra, wallet, and a bag with food for the day. Bag. Lady.

Joedee Robinson is a full-time working mom of two children, a 3-year-old daughter and 8-month-old son.  A self-proclaimed “natural mom,” she is passionate about childbirth and breastfeeding. Besides her two children and wonderful husband, her greatest accomplishments include running a half marathon and having a med-free VBAC. When she gets free time (ha), Joedee enjoys gardening, painting, reading, exercising and Bravo TV. 

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  • Anne Marie

    I am looking for a new diaper bag for our second child. What diaper bag do you use? Every bag I have looked at is either too small or falls apart within a couple of months (went through 3 with my son) I would love recommendations on big, but not crazy expensive diaper bags for cloth diapers (and if it is daddy friendly, even better)

    • Anne Marie, we have two…both with my daughter at her grandparents right now, but our usual one is a nice, sturdy clearance one from BRU in army green/black with a mesh bottle pocket on the side, small, zippered pocket on the front and zippered compartments and mesh inside.

      The daycare one is just another clearance one, but basically a big, deep totebag with a big pocket on the outside that we also stuff a few hair ties and two ‘sposies in, just in case.

  • Yup! Sounds about right! I also am a diaper bag packing boss. My youngest has been in daycare since 3 months and in cloth since the beginning. We also pack 6 diapers (all snaps since I hate aplix too….mostly Kawaii, a couple GoGreen, one Lovely Pocket), a wet bag – though they have broken hanging straps :(, Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm, and a change of clothes. In the beginning, a small cooler bag with frozen bm went in and luckily our in-home provider kept it in her freezer and one bottle stayed at daycare so we didn’t have the daily bottle commute. With my oldest, we’d just send in a can of formula from 5 months on that stayed there. I also made my own food with #2 so a little container of frozen food went in the bag and was thawed by lunch time. The provider kept baby oatmeal to mix in at her house.

    DD2 was just 17mo when we stopped going there (a few weeks ago) and we never had an issue. She’s about to start a center now who hasn’t used cloth before so we’ll see how it goes, but no one gave me any grief when I mentioned it.

  • Emily

    This might sound crazy, but I hate using diaper bags. I got about 5 different diaper bags as gifts between the two kids and I tired them all but ended up passing them along to other moms. I just don’t like traditional diaper bags, I had one similar to the one shown in the blog post too. I prefer a large reusable shopping tote or a duffle bag. I don’t like all the small compartments because stuff get lost in there and its gets dirty in there. Also the pockets on the outside you have to watch out for your bottles, ect from falling out and they touch everything the outside of your bag comes in contact with. I like to use the bag inside a bag method to keep things easy to find. Its best to use clear bags so everyone knows whats in there at a glance (or it could have a large label too). Its nice to just toss is across the seat and not worry about things falling out. But everyone I know uses a diapers bag so maybe I’m the only one who thinks this!?

  • I love that diaper bag in the picture, where did you find it?

  • April

    We pack our diaper back for the week (Tues-Thurs). I use small wet bags for each day that our provider sends home every night. Makes life in the morning a heck of a lot easier. The only thing I have to bring every day is breast milk and lunch.

  • Melissa

    I’m so much less systematic… The morning after I do laundry (or Monday) I send my hanging wet/dry bag with all of my clean Elementals, fleece liners, a few Grovia AI2s (one pre-assembled with stay-dry insert and a doubler for naps and a few extra inserts with doublers tucked in), and a bunch of extra clothes shoved in the dry part. I pick it up on diaper laundry day (or Friday). Usually I end up bringing clean stuff twice and taking home dirty stuff twice during the week.

    The only thing we bring back and forth ever day is a small bottle cooler bag with bottles and some containers of food shoved in!

  • kelsea

    I really like the diaper bag in this post as well! What brand is it? Thanks!

  • PeterKenneth24

    This is absolutely wonderful!! Things will be quite easy to manage with this bag! http://mynewplace.com