Don’t Accomodate, EDUCATE!

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Not every family uses cloth diapers.  In fact, only somewhere in the range of 5% do.  So what happens when we leave our children in the care of others?  Often, we feel like we should bring disposables for the care giver.  Afterall, they are considered “easier”….. but what does that do?  That creates waste most of us are trying to avoid.  It puts chemicals next to our babies’ skin that many of us prefer not to have.  And most importantly, it puts us a step backwards in our advocacy and education efforts.

That is why I am saying “Don’t Accomodate, EDUCATE!

When I first left my son with my Mother-in-Law she took it upon herself to buy disposable diapers for our visit.  I didn’t need them because I packed my cloth diapers.  Still, when my husband and I went out for a movie I laid out a disposable for her.  In my mind, cloth diapers were just too much to expect anyone else to use but me.  Her children were diapered using disposables and she made it pretty clear that my diapers looked too complicated.

A few months later when we had a babysitter come by I took a different approach.  I made sure all of my “easy” cloth diapers were clean.  At the time this included my bumGenius Elementals and a few bumGenius Deluxe AIO’s.  I was only going to be gone for 2 hours since my baby didn’t take a bottle either, but I had to be prepared!  I gave this woman, a friend of ours, a 15 minute crash course in cloth diapers.  I showed her my “Daddy Check List” of what to do.  I did leave her with disposable wipes instead of cloth ones but other than that she had no option but to use cloth diapers.

That babysitter is now thinking of using cloth diapers for her own future children.

Had I chosen to leave disposables would that have altered the course of history?  Would cloth diapers be an option she is looking into?

We have the opportunity to show cloth diapers to many people in our lives.  But no opportunity is as perfect to prove how easy cloth diapers can be, than when having a baby sitter over to your home.  Especially if that sitter is younger.  Think of the world you could be opening up for that 18 year old College Freshman!  She probably never knew cloth diapers exisited until you exposed her to the pretty, functional, earth saving diapers.  When she goes on to have her children she will probably remember those diapers…

Daycares are a bit tougher.  I have not had the experience of using cloth diapers in daycare since I work from home.  I would encourage every mother and father who use cloth diapers to try and continue using them at daycare.  The RDA has many tips on how to get your provider to use them.  There are many convincing arguments.

Every caregiver, babysitter, daycare employee is a potential “convert.”  I don’t want to sound like I am recruiting for a cult.  I do want more families to use cloth diapers.  If parents continue leaving disposables instead of giving that 10-15 minute cloth diaper mini session then we aren’t doing our cause any favors.  Instead of learning that cloth diapers are modern and easy, those caregivers are under the impression that they are difficult and not worth using.  I have even given a 5 minute “how to lay a pad folded flat in a cover” lesson during the Flats Challenge for my babysitter.

If you and/or the caregiver are afraid of the baby pooping on their watch, do what I do.  Tell them to put the diaper in the bathroom (don’t have them roll it and squish it unless you really want a treat to come home to) and leave it for you to deal with.  If the baby isn’t on solids yet just tell them to toss it in the pail!   Consider having a few All-in-Ones just for those times you will have a babysitter over.

Think of every diaper change your baby has from others has a shining opportunity to prove that cloth diapers are the best option for babies; not just something you are “crazy” to do and wouldn’t wish upon another human being.  That might not be your opinion, but that is the impression you give every time you lay out a disposable diaper for the sitter.

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  • Heather

    This is exactly what I’ve always done. I wouldn’t allow someone else to feed my child formula just because I’m out, why would I leave them with disposable diapers? Here’s your bottle/cup of breastmilk, here’s the diapers, sayo nara.

  • Navine

    It took me a few months to muster up the courage to ask my daycare provider to use cloth diapers back when my daughter was in a home daycare. We gave her a demo about how to use them and she was more than happy to use them.

  • Karen

    Great post! Last time I left my kids with a babysitter I didn’t even give her the crash course, just pointed her toward the diapers and said they go on the opposite of the way they come off. We use prefold and covers and she had no problem figuring it out.   

  • Elizabeth Wickoren

    I left my daughter at daycare for the first time yesterday and handed the daycare lady a diaper bag full of flats and covers and she didn’t bat an eye.  I was very impressed.  And I always bring my babies to the church nursery in minky pocket diapers – ALWAYS gets a smile and a look of approving surprise out of the rotating pool of volunteers.  I’ve exposed tons of moms and teens to cloth that way.  The only person I usually buy disposables for is my mother in law, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

  • Erin B.

    I wanted my daycare to use cloth but they told me that since they don’t have a toilet to flush the poop in the baby room that they wouldn’t use them. I was so bummed!

    • Meg P.

      You should tell them to read the package on the disposables they’re using for the other kids.  Chances are it says to flush the poop instead of throwing it away too. 

  • I agree with Heather. I feel like our choice to cloth diaper our child is just that, an important choice that we made, not something that we do on a whim. There’s a lot of reasons behind it and I feel like if I’m paying someone to watch our kids they better do it the way we want them to. 

  • Amy

    So far I’ve ‘converted’ or at least educated; the receptionist at the doctors, my sister, my sons kndy teacher, several Mums in changing rooms, my sister in law, my father in law, my husband (who was by far the hardest won) and countless others who’ve asked questions. Anyone who’s looked after my kids has had a crash course in putting on prefolds in covers and pocket nappies. Most people have agreed it’s not tricky. Here’s to changing the world, one parent at a time 🙂

  • Amy

    So far I’ve ‘converted’ or at least educated; the receptionist at the doctors, my sister, my sons kndy teacher, several Mums in changing rooms, my sister in law, my father in law, my husband (who was by far the hardest won) and countless others who’ve asked questions. Anyone who’s looked after my kids has had a crash course in putting on prefolds in covers and pocket nappies. Most people have agreed it’s not tricky. Here’s to changing the world, one parent at a time 🙂

  • I was a teen babysitter who was exposed to cloth diapers. It is not the only reason I chose to cloth diaper my foster children but it certainly was a factor. I now take every opertunity to educate folks about cloth. I have converted several of the Moms at the daycare I work at too.

  • Rzonder

    I nannied for a friend of ours between grad school and full-time employment. Her 1 year old was cloth diapered, 5 years later and with a large chunk of her stash generously gifted to us our baby has been in cloth since birth and still going strong at 21 months. Had I not worked for them and used cloth on her (all sorts including prefolds, fitteds and pockets) I wouldn’t have even known modern cloth existed. Now that we have a baby in cloth at daycare (and I have a preschool student in cloth) I hope that some of the women at work will consider cloth as they start their families.

  • Melissa

    Can I just say that I have the best brother-in-law in the world? Not only does this 32yo bachelor (still looking for Mrs. Right) babysit so that we can have date night, but the ONLY diapers he has ever changed are cloth! I even got two H&L pockets just for him to use when he babysits. Hopefully when he has his own kids he won’t even consider another option.