Whether you are a seasoned mother or a rookie mama there is one thing all working cloth diaper mama's dread -- the conversation. Yup, the awkward cloth diaper conversation with your child's potential daycare provider.
As a cloth diapering mama myself and a home daycare provider, I can understand both sides of the issue and I can walk you through the negotiations and have your little fluffy bum in the daycare of your dreams.
Go into this as you would any negotiation - prepared. Get the facts on what your state does and does not allow. State child care regulations can be found here.
For example, in New Jersey, children can use non-disposable diapers as long as soiled diapers are "placed in a sealed plastic container that has been labeled with the child's name.", however, New Jersey requires disposable wipes.
Having this type of information printed-out allows the provider to see for herself exactly what is and is not allowed. This makes it much less awkward and much easier on you.
One thing many providers will say is that they are not allowed to handle fecal matter. Remind them nicely that it is ILLEGAL to throw fecal matter into the trash. All fecal matter is supposed to be flushed down the toilet. So, remind them that knocking solid poo from a disposable or cloth diaper is the exact same amount of work.
Bring an example of the type of cloth diaper you plan to use once your child is in their daycare. I recommend a pre-stuffed pocket diaper or All In One Diapers (AIOs).
Many people have not been introduced to modern cloth diapers and you want the transition to be easy on everyone so they are willing to give cloth diapers a try. Pins, Snappis, and covers can make diaper changes more difficult for anyone. Remember the people working with your child will have other children to care for and a speedy diaper change is best for everyone.
No one enjoys listening to a "know it all". Try your best not to be preachy when talking about cloth diapers. Most people know that cloth diapers are the choice of eco-conscious parents. Don't tell the provider what cloth diapers can do for the environment, tell them what it can do for them!
Most daycare centers and many home daycares pay for trash removal. Tell the provider that by allowing and encouraging other parents to use cloth diapers they can lower their trash removal costs. By adopting a cloth diaper policy at their center, they can even advertise themselves as a greener choice in daycare.
Be Flexible and Patient
If your provider is worried about leaking, be understanding. Didn't you worry about leaking and wicking before you started cloth diapering? Offer to show the caretakers how your cloth diapers work and answer any questions they may have.
If they are concerned about leaks at naptime, maybe you could designate a super stuffed naptime diaper that is easily distinguished among the other diapers or agree to a trial period of a week using cloth and see how it goes.
Cloth diapering has a learning curve. Many care takers are not experienced with cloth diapers and may have issues with wicking, leaking, and blowouts. Be patient and offer tips and tricks that help you when diapering your child. If all else fails, consider switching to hybrid diapers, or worst case, a more environmentally sound disposable diaper.
You want this to be a positive experience for the provider so they are willing to accept more families who cloth diaper into their daycare. Thank them for learning about cloth diapers or changing their policy to include cloth diapers.
Now that you have conquered cloth diapering in daycare, go hug your baby because work is right around the corner.