Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cloth Diapering and Babysitters - Dispelling Some Myths

My daughter started with a new day care provider yesterday. My sister-in-law sends her boys to this woman and I absolutely adore her. She's warm, friendly, organized, and very good with the children. Her day care is set up very similarly to school and the kids receive structured education taylored to their developmental level. So she doesn't just "watch" the children, she actually teaches them as well. She goes out of her way to provide for them and to show the parents her appreciation for their business. I can sing her praises all day long, but initially we ran into a snag.

When we were considering switching our daughter to her day care, my husband asked her about her policy on cloth diapers. She told him she did not deal with cloth diapers. We have cloth diapered Layla from birth for many reasons. The most important reason, for me, was environmental. Babies have between 6,000 to 9,000 diaper changes during their diaper-wearing years. That's 9,000 dirty diapers per child in landfills, taking up to 500 years to biodegrade and slowly leaking untreated human waste into the ground and ultimately into the water supply. I cringe when I think about it! But in addition to the environmental reasons, we've chosen to cloth diaper because it's cheaper and it's healthier for baby. For me, putting Layla in disposable diapers for an extended period of time was not an option.

We use a number of cloth diapering methods, including pocket diapers for babysitters and grandparents. Those diapers are functionally no different from disposables and are built the same way. We've chosen bumGenius 3.0 One-Size pocket diapers for Layla.

It doesn't get much more user-friendly in the world of cloth diapers than this. I decided to plead my case to the new day care provider. Initially she expressed concern about state regulations against using cloth, however in the state of Maryland there are no regulations against it. In fact, the diapering procedures given to day care providers have guidelines for the use of disposable AND cloth diapers. We described the kind of diapers we use to her and she was pleasantly surprised that there were no pins involved. That was the source of the apprehension all along... she didn't want to get stuck! Who could blame her?

My friendly advice to parents considering cloth diapering in day care: First, get familiar with your state and local government policies. Don't let any care provider tell you using cloth diapers are against state policies if they are not. Second, consider supplying day care providers with easy-to-use cloth diapers, such as all-in-ones or pocket diapers. Making it as easy as possible for them usually negates their objections. Third, stand by your reasoning for making this decision about your child's care. If you've determined there are no real legal or functional obstacles to using cloth for your child in day care, yet the care provider continues to object, consider finding another provider. I can't imagine too many day care providers passing up steady income in this economy.

In the future I'll write an entry about our cloth diapering methods, including pictures of our "stash."


Hilary said...

We had to use cloth diapers on Coever when she had this AWFUL diaper rash. They were a little tricky at first -- we had pins and the whole nine yards. Still, the rash cleared much faster than in the disposable diapers since the air was allowed to circulate and such. Cloth diapers have come a lonnnnnnnnnnng way from how it used to be. There's no reason not to at least try it.

Nichole said...

Wow...I never knew that cloth diapers have come so far! That is really neat and interesting!

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