Tips for Parents Getting Started with Cloth Diapers in Daycare

Today’s guest post is from Trista who is sharing how she and her family worked out using cloth diapers with their daycare provider.  She even learned that hook and loop diapers weren’t necessary since her provider preferred snaps!  See, you never know until you discuss the issue.  Read Trista;s tips for getting started using cloth diapers in daycare for some inspiration.   Trista has offered to answer any questions you might have via email: tristadawnrobinson at gmail dot com.

It’s the last day of a long weekend and I’m sitting here thinking of all the things I need to have prepared for the week. Lunch made, check. Meals planned and partially made, check. Diapers washed, check. Cloth diapers have simply become just that – one more check on our to do list for the week. To be honest, it takes more work to lunch plan and meal plan, but in order to get to that point, I’ll tell you where we started.

When we were looking for a daycare for our son to attend while we both worked out of the home, it didn’t occur to us that we might not be able to use cloth diapers on a full time basis. I had been perusing the online world of blogs, websites, and online forums where people were talking about cloth diapers in daycares, and how it often didn’t work out that their daycare was okay with using cloth. This kind of baffled me, but I thought, hey, we can just show them how awesome cloth diapers are and they will be sold. Simply knowing that it might be an issue helped us be prepared to broach the topic with our potential daycare providers.

My partner and I (and though my son cannot verbalize it, I hope he feels the same way) are very passionate about using cloth diapers and feel it is the perfect choice for our family, and so being able to continue using cloth diapers while someone else is caring for our son, is important to us. I want to share some tips for other parents who want to continue using cloth diapers in daycare, because I think it’s entirely possible, and once you get a good routine going, the impact it has on your day to day responsibilities is truly minimal.

Ask the daycare provider in the initial e-mail, phone call, or interview if they are open to using cloth diapers. If cloth diapers are something you are very passionate about and not willing to compromise not using while your child attends daycare, you will get this vibe right off the bat from the caregiver and can avoid frustrations. However, if finding a strong, trustworthy and capable caregiver is a struggle, you might want to make some compromises yourself. Remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! If you can only use cloth part time, then you’re using cloth part time. And weekends. And holidays. See? Not so bad.

Take some of your child’s diapers to the initial interview. As we hadn’t asked our caregiver before the interview if she was comfortable with cloth, we took a couple different brands of diapers we used. All of the diapers we use for our son are pocket diapers, so we took one with snaps and one with a hook and loop closure to show her that cloth diapers aren’t necessarily only safety pin and plastic pants anymore.

Get their input!
Once your caregiver is on board with using cloth diapers, come up with a game plan together. How is this going to work the best and be the most convenient for the both of you? Talk about your options, use trial and error, and see what works. What you thought might be practical and helpful might be the very opposite of that. In the beginning, we had started out with sending mostly hook and loop style diapers, thinking it would be the easiest for our caregiver based on what she suggested. It turns out that she ended up preferring the snaps because she could get a snugger fit, and with a squirmy toddler, the hook and loop would often come unfastened easier.

Plan ahead and get a good rhythmic routine going. We usually wash diapers every third day, and this works out great as it usually only means having to wash diapers once during the work week. We have figured out a really solid routine for our son. What we do is put a fresh diaper on him in the morning before we take him to daycare, and pack four diapers in the bag. We pre-line all of the diapers with biodegradable flushable liners and stash them along with a small wet bag in the diaper bag. We asked our caregiver if she preferred that we use liners since it makes cleaning up poopy diapers easier for everybody. At diaper changes, she just tosses the whole diaper and liner in the wet bag, and when it’s time to wash diapers, we flush the liners and pull out the inserts from inside the cover (if the liner is soiled, she flushes the liner and just packs the diaper in the wet bag). In terms of wipes, we use cloth wipes at home, but our caregiver was more comfortable using disposable wipes, so we ensure to use wipes with minimal ingredients and no scent.)

On the grander scheme of things, we own three wet bags, and we just send a new fresh one each day with the four diapers. We left a few disposable diapers as well as one cloth diaper at her place in case of an emergency diaper day! This has worked out excellent for us and for our caregiver and we’ve actually never had to dig into the emergency stash. The only minor blip of using cloth diapers in daycare was having our caregiver find what worked best for our son in terms of how snug to do up the diapers so that they did not leak. In the beginning, there were definitely more leaks and wet pants than there are now. In fact, it’s only once every few weeks do we pick up our son at the end of the day to find him in different bottoms! Of course, we still pack extra clothes in the diaper bag, because you just never know.

Oh, and one more thing I want to mention, is the odd couple of times where we have battled a resistant diaper rash and needed to use a cream or ointment that was not cloth diaper friendly, we resorted to using disposables in daycare so our caregiver did not have to juggle the diaper and liner to ensure the liner was fully covering the ointment covered area.

Basically, because using cloth diapers is so important to us, we want to make sure it is as practical and convenient for our caregiver as it can be. We strive to educate, and to make sure that she is on board and comfortable with using cloth. The first time I heard her say “I actually really like these,” I knew that it was working out and that we had all achieved our goal together. It is entirely possible to use cloth while your child is in daycare, and all it takes is a little bit of commitment, some openness, and routine and a plan so that it is easy and enjoyable for everyone. I do think a lot of the idea that it needs to be a battle comes down to education and being open, so if you can encourage that, you are one step ahead of the game.

Trista is a twentysomething Saskatchewan resident whose current world includes her son, her pooch, and her partner. She works in the social work field and when she’s not doing that or chasing around a crafty and awesome toddler, she is looking up healthy recipes, crafts and DIY projects on Pinterest. Though writer’s block too often gets the best of her, you can read about her life and her ways on her blog at

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