Getting Your Day Care Provider to Consider Cloth

The first thing you need to keep in mind when you get ready to go up against a disposables-only policy is that no one is out to get you. So many people don’t know how modern and easy today’s cloth diapers are. But once they find out, they are usually pretty open to giving their clients options.

Your results will vary with the type of provider—in-home care is usually more flexible than day care centers. Also know your state laws before you go rocking the boat. Here’s how to go about changing the policy at your day care center to allow for cloth diapers.

  1. Research. First, check out the state law for licensed day care providers in your state. Some states are more rigid than others regarding what day care providers can and cannot do regarding changing diapers and disposing of them.  Then, get to know the other moms in the diaper-wearing classes. Does anyone else use cloth? Would anyone else bring cloth diapers if the policy was open to it? If you have a few moms you can cite for your director, you are suddenly an advocate instead of a nag.
  2. Ask! Don’t sit down to your laptop and write a fluff manifesto. Don’t text or call them. Just ask. Why? Because you can use facial expression, tone of voice and manner to your advantage. Texts and email can come off passive aggressive, and day care directors have parents bugging them all day. So just ask. “Hi! Have you ever considered allowing cloth diapers? Because I use them and I know a few other moms here who do as well, and it would be so awesome to be able to bring them.” Some sites also recommend avoiding the term “cloth diaper” altogether and calling them reusable or green diapers instead.
  3. Gush. Most people still do not know what a modern cloth diaper is–they think pins and pre-folds. The easiest cloth diapers for day care providers are AIOs or pockets, because there is nothing different about the fit of these diapers from disposables, and it helps your cause to use a diaper that does not require instructions.  Gush to the director about how easy cloth is, how it’s no different in terms of difficulty, and that it’s actually more sanitary since solids can be disposed of immediately instead of sitting in a trash can in the room all day.
  4. Show and tell. Finally, offer to show them what an AIO or pocket diaper is. They will probably be shocked at how it’s NOTHING LIKE what they thought. You could even offer to demonstrate for them how easy they are to change. If they have doubts about a new policy being complicated, offer suggestions, such as requiring parents to use AIO or pockets pre-stuffed with an additional liner so that there’s not a daily learning curve, and requiring parents to bring wet bags. Make it easy for them. You can also suggest a trial period of two weeks or so and then meeting back up with the director to see how it went.

I followed these steps just over a year ago, and got cloth accepted at the facility where my kids go a few days a week. I was surprised at how easy it was, and how open everyone was once they learned about and saw the new “modern” cloth diapers, although they now probably think I sell them. Give it a go at your child’s day care and let us know how it went!

Erin Burt is a breastfeeding, baby wearing mother to three girls. She lives and writes in Fort Worth, Texas. 

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