“Day Care”. Two of the scariest words a parent ever utters.
“Cloth Diapers”. Two of the scariest words a day care provider ever hears.
Okay, okay. Maybe it’s not all that bad. But for cloth diapering families, finding day care can be extra daunting. You’re already wandering the streets of your city looking for a stranger to care for your precious cargo. It’s a big worry to know that you’ll have to ask about your beloved fluff. So, let’s all take a deep breath and start at the beginning.
Day Care providers (of which I am one) know how anxious you are. Many of us have been in your shoes (including me). So once you’ve done your preliminary stalking research, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of what you are and are not looking for in a provider. My guess is, if you’re reading this post, that “cloth friendly” is pretty high up on the list. Great! Thanks for spreading the love! Now let’s talk about how you can help ease your provider’s anxiety about using these “newfangled” reusable diapers.
1. Keep it simple. I know. You love your diapers and you can (and will) tell any anyone who’s willing to listen WHY you chose cloth and WHY you use AIOs/AI2s/flats/fitteds, etc. I know we are changing the way the world views diapering, and it’s awesome. I love knowing that I am keeping weird chemicals off of my Dude’s junk. But not everyone is there yet. And many never will be.
So when you bring up cloth, keep it simple. “We use modern cloth diapers because they are a good fit for our family. Do you have experience using cloth?”
2a. Bring a diaper. Bring your cutest, cleanest, softest, simplest diaper. As I already told you, we were big AI2 fans (Oh, did you see that? I said did. Yeah. We’re down to one a day!) I know not everyone loves them, but they look like disposables. Anyone who’s ever changed a disposable diaper or has used a school-nurse provided maxi-pad can use a pocket/AIO/AI2. If you have any, I would suggest starting there in your interview process. In my experience, as both a working mom seeking day care and as a day care provider, most providers are more comfortable with pockets and all in ones/twos. I’ve also heard that Velcro/Aplix is preferable. (I prefer snaps myself, because holy moly they figure out Velcro fast!) It boils down to hands. I’ve only got two. And when I’m switching back and forth between these three kids in cloth and these three kids in disposables (or as my mom says, “paper”) I love just going through the same motions. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The quicker we’re done tending to body fluids, the more time we have for fun, learning, and socializing- which is what day care is all about!
2b. Also, bring a wetbag and liners to show how easy it is to change a cloth diaper! If you can sneak it in to the interview, plop your kid down and change that dipe while talking about that rad show you just saw at the House of Blues. (KIDDING! You haven’t left your house in 127 days and you know it!) If you don’t think that’s your style, ask if you can schedule an extra five minutes to demonstrate changing a cloth diaper. If you’re visiting during business hours, chances are the provider isn’t going to have a whole lot of 1:1 time set aside. Ask ahead of time!
3. Be flexible and make it as easy as possible on your provider. Your day care provider wants to make your life easy. Try to repay in kind. Stuff your diapers the night before. Throw a liner on top. Talk to your significant other and figure out if you’re willing to switch diaper styles or add to your stash if that’s what it boils down to. I have one sweet mama who has a set of pockets just for me. I don’t know how she does it, but she gets those bad boys washed up and ready for me to use every couple of days. Another mama I just met said, “Whatever! You like pockets? I’ll get rid of some of my dipes and get a few more pockets!” I know that isn’t feasible for everyone, but her willingness to make my life easier meant the world.
4. Educate yourself! Print out some info and take it with you. You can find and print information from RDA’s Diaper Facts. www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php. Print your state’s regulations, and keep them for reference until your day care search is over. Click on your state at this website http://nrckids.org/STATES/states.htm.
5. Be prepared and accommodating! Your provider will appreciate it!
- Keep an extra wetbag at the day care.
- Provide cloth diaper friendly rash cream.
- Leave a roll of liners.
- Keep a pack of flats or disposables on hand (gasp!). I grew up in SoCal. I taught in the ghetto for five years. I have often thought, “If there was even a small earthquake/lock-down could I…” Now don’t panic. The odds are very slim. Especially the lock-down part. You’re probably not dropping your kid off at daycare where shootings occur. But if a power line goes down and blocks my street and I have your kids for an extra four hours that day, there are concerns. Like: Do I have wine for when this day is finally over? Do you think DJ Lance Rock is single? And how will I keep all these little bums dry for an extra half day?
I hope I have eased some of your fears about day care and cloth diapers. If you have any other questions that you would like me to address in my next post, please email me at email@example.com.
Liz Weaver, Bairnies in Bloom Child Enrichment