Sunday, February 14, 2016

Cloth Diapers & Child Care

cloth diapers and child care daycare

I hope you enjoyed Jessica's guest post on Cloth Diaper Ins and Outs. This is a follow up from a child care provider's perspective.


In general, cloth diapers are pretty much the same as disposables. Same general routine and diapering procedures. There are a few things I keep in mind, however.

I have to store the diapers and liners. Yes you have to store disposables as well, but those stack up neatly or are in plastic sleeves. For cloth, I use an IKEA plastic bin that stores the diapers and a roll of liners. I take the diapers out each morning and place them into the bin and hang the wet bag on the bathroom door.

cloth diapers and child care daycare

I can't wipe with a cloth diaper the same as with a disposable. Most poop can be wiped off with a disposable, but if you do that with a cloth diaper, you get more poop on it than necessary, which you don't want. I keep a roll of toilet paper handy and will use that to remove the majority of the mess prior to using wipes. Otherwise, you will use a dozen plus wipes. I just plop the toilet paper into the toilet, since I change them on a pad on the floor of the bathroom. [State likes for the bathroom stuff to all be in the bathroom, and a pad on the floor saves my back from lifting 2 year olds.]

I need to think more about changing order. I change all of them at the same time, usually. If using gloves, it doesn't really matter, but I don't. I use a plastic bag for the nasties. I turn it inside out to grab the soiled liner off the cloth diaper, so I need to do the cloth diaper child first. Then I do the others and put the soiled disposables into the same bag.

I need to prepare the diaper before taking the other one off. This is basically true of disposables as well. However, pulling a liner off the roll requires two hands. laying out the diaper requires two hands, getting the snaps together takes two hands. If you have squirmy child, things can get messy fast. I always lay out the diaper with liner on top prior to laying the child down on the pad. I can put a disposable on one handed while holding a child in place, not so with a cloth diaper.

I need to be considerate of the parents and place very poopy diapers into a plastic bag. This lets them know that it will need additional attention and not just be tossed into the laundry. The plastic bag goes into the wet bag.

I need to keep in mind that it is against state regulations for me to do any more with a soiled diaper than is absolutely necessary. I can't pull out absorbency inserts, wash out poop, or do anything that could increase contamination of the space.

The parents have to bring the diapers daily. We start out the week with 5. Usually I use 3-4 a day at this point, 20 months old, depending on how late nap goes. They take the soiled ones each evening and bring me a corresponding amount back the next morning in a clean wet bag. I keep one spare in his clothes cubby and have a few disposables as back up.

The parents have to supply diaper rash cream. Most creams will lower the absorbency of the cloth diapers, so they are required to provide one appropriate for the diapers.


Wet Bags: My favorites are the Kanga Care wet bags. They are about three times as roomy as the envelope style. It is SOOOO much easier to get soiled diapers into it. It can hold a days worth easy, along with any soiled clothing. The envelope styles barely hold a days worth of soiled diapers, and it can get messy trying to stuff them into the smaller opening. I would love to have a Kanga Care one for every child, especially when we have wet swimsuits in the summer. 

There's just really no comparison. I'm always happier to see the Kanga Care bags.

Diapers: My favorite, especially for boys, is Bum Genius. Each diaper brand has a different liner/insert configuration. Some have one long liner that is doubled over, some have snap in liners, some have a single pocket liner, etc. Bum Genius have full reach dual pockets, one on each side. What I like about this is that with inserts, you can double the absorbency as they grow older. For boys, I can double up the front liner at nap, when they are usually sleeping on their stomachs over 18 months, and are more likely to pee out because of it, giving me 3 layers of absorbency even without inserts.

why I love Bum Genius diapers

I DO NOT LIKE AT ALL the GroVia brand. They are so much narrower than the other brands and they snap front to back rather than back to front like disposables. The liners are much more narrow, and they have the single doubled over liner, Since I've been using disposables for over 30 years, the backwards snapping alone drives me nuts. It's just...WRONG and irritates me that I have to think while changing a child's diaper, which is one of the most mindless tasks, and a time when I should be spending engaging with the child rather than being forced to THINK about what I'm doing. GroVia is on the right.

I am also not a fan of a coop/no-name brand that has a dark gray inside. They are the only ones I have had two pee-outs from. I no longer use them at nap time. Ever. 

Some more personal opinions: Happy Heiny has only a single liner, but is super absorbent. Smart Bottoms don't seem to hold enough pee for bigger kids. Blueberry Diapers are fine. 

Jessica has mentioned that the ones with the Velcro rather than snaps are easier for the little ones to get open, but that Velcro is pretty darn strong, and I don't mind it at all. I can see where it would be a problem if the diapers were washed with other linty clothing, but I don't mind them. Quick and easy rather than trying to align snaps. They are not as adjustable, so I would imagine the cost would be higher since they would only fit a more limited size range.  

Frankly, the only irritation with cloth diapers has been the GroVia brand of diapers. Otherwise, I have had no issues with using the cloth diapers whatsoever. 

I was very surprised that indeed, he has less diaper rash issues than the ones in disposables. These new "cloth" diapers have great absorbency and the PLO outer fabric holds everything in wonderfully. 

I would HIGHLY recommend them to parents. Providers, cloth diapers are really a non-issue. Cloth friendly is a great marketing tool that costs you nothing. Being cloth friendly is easy peasy. 

They can be expensive to start out with, but you can always make your own! Additional cloth diaper pins on my Baby Crafts Pinterest pinboard.

Follow Little Stars Learning's board Baby Crafts on Pinterest.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Cloth Diaper Ins and Outs

basics of cloth diapers

While I knew they had changed, when I first saw one of the new ones, my reaction was, "Well isn't this slick!" While they are called "cloth diapers," they have SO much more to them than the old fashioned white ones.

My client, Jessica Nollett, has kindly created the following guest blog post to discuss the ins and outs of cloth diapering.

I have added my 2 cents into a follow-up post from a provider's perspective Cloth Diapers & Child Care. [I have my favorites, too! Along with some tips.]


That look when you tell someone you cloth diaper your child. It’s often one of horror/disbelief, that is quickly covered up by the fakest smile you can imagine, and then followed by comments like “the poop is too much for me,” “just wait till he is older; your tune will change,” or an ominous “Hmmmm.”

Those interactions humor us at this point. My husband and I made the decision together to cloth diaper our children long before our son was born. It wasn’t just because of the environment or the cost savings, but was almost a ‘why wouldn’t we cloth our kids’ thought. From all of our research, we found out we would be saving money if we cloth diapered more than one child (it’s a breakeven on one), and we do care about the environment, but there were other things that we liked: 

  • cloth diaper kids are easier to potty train
  • they tend to potty train sooner
  • diaper rash isn’t as bad with cloth diapers, 
  • and frankly, tell me that a disposable is cuter than this!

If you haven’t seen a cloth diaper like this, let me quickly get you up to speed. Cloth diapers these days are innovative, adorable, and nothing like what they once were. They used to be what you used if you couldn’t afford disposable. Now, they are much more expensive upfront, but you can save over time. The stigma has changed from poor people cloth to rich hippies cloth. 

They are constructed of a PUL (polyurethane laminate) coated fabric shell with snaps or Velcro (hook and loop) that are adjustable in rise (up/down) and waist. On the inside, there is either bamboo, cotton, hemp, or a microfiber system of pads and fabric to absorb everything. On the back of the diaper and leg holes, there are elastic gussets to keep everything inside the diaper. 

THE INs and OUTs


1) Diapers:

The diapers that work best for our situation are the All-In-Ones (AIO). This means that the absorbent pad is ATTACHED to the rest of the diaper. We do have a decent collection of Pocket Diapers (there is a pocket that you stash the pad into), but it’s a hassle for daycare. At home, we pull that pad out of the pocket after use, but daycares can’t legally do that, so you are left digging through your wet bag, touching wet and dirty diapers. Gross. (Warning: AIO diapers are more expensive, but worth it for us). Some of my favorite brands are Bum Genius, Smart Bottoms, GroVia, Thirsties, and Blueberry

cloth diapers

When diaper shopping, I prefer diapers that are also one size fits most; they are bulky on your baby at first, but become more trim fitting as your child gets older. If money is a factor, I strongly suggest looking at the big picture, and realize if your child wears a diaper 2x per week for 100 weeks, $20 for that diaper is no big deal, BUT there are online coops where you can buy off-brand diapers for less. We have found they aren’t as great as my favorite brands, but they get the job done.

2) Pail:

We use a Dekor diaper pail, and it does a good job. A fancier option is the Ubbi. Both brands offer wet bags if you choose to cloth diaper. Be sure to get two wet bags for the pail, that way one can be in the wash. We also have a regular trash can with a lid/peddle for the wipes.

3) Wet bags:

These are the bags that are lined with a polyurethane laminate (that is also used on the diapers) and are where the diapers are placed after use. We have about 5 of these, and send them daily to daycare full of clean diapers, and the dirty diapers are sent home in the same bag at the end of the day. Wet bags are also great for swimsuits.

4) Liners:

When babies are exclusively breastfed, diapers can be tossed into the washer, poop and all. Once food is introduced, majority of the poop needs to be removed from the diaper before washing. There are lots of ways to do this, but we use flushable liners. They catch the poop, and can be tossed in the toilet with the poop.

5) Rash Creams/Sprays:

Regular rash creams will RUIN the absorbency of your cloth diapers, but there are great alternatives that can be used. Grandma El’s offers a great one for a bad diaper rash, but my favorite is CJ’s Butter (I use the spritz). I like it the best, because it is not just for diaper rash, but can be used for dry skin, bug bites, sun burns, etc.


Our son (17 months) wears cloth diapers during the day every day (home and daycare), but wears a disposable at night, if we are out and about, and when we are out of town. And honestly, we could do cloth for the last two, but we are lazy. We have a “stash” of 30 diapers, only really use 16-18 of them (because we definitely have favorites), and do a diaper load of laundry 2x per week. As he has gotten older, we use less diapers per day, but definitely need more absorbency than before. When he was younger, we were doing laundry every other day, and then 3x per week after that.

The hardest part about cloth diapering is the laundry. It’s not that it’s difficult, it just takes time, and lots of rinse cycles. While there are special cloth diaper detergents, most people prefer regular powder Tide, and less is more. Too much detergent can affect the absorbency. How you do it: pre-rinse your diapers, wash with detergent, rinse again, and then dry. To speed up drying, invest in wool dryer balls. They are amazing for all of your laundry.


1) Take a class. We found that our local cloth diaper store (Itsy Bitsy Bums) offered a class on cloth diapering and explained all of the ins and outs of it, for free!

2) Register for diapers. This was great! We got some adorable prints and our friends had fun picking them out.

3) Look for a newborn rental program. Newborn diapers are smaller and are outgrown quickly, so they are not worth the investment. Itsy Bitsy Bums offers a great rental program for the first 12 weeks, for $200, and if you return them for $160 store credit, you can buy lots of cute diapers. You also have the option to return for cash/credit and get $100 back.

4) Build slowly and based on your needs. Your preferences may change and the speed at which your baby goes through diapers will change, so no need to get them all right away.