Friday, 14 August 2015

Asking Daycare to Use Cloth Nappies

The first two childcares I looked at weren't the best. The first one gave me an uncomfortable vibe, mainly because of the manager who showed me around. I feel terrible to admit it since I'm sure she is a lovely person but she gave me the creeps. I noticed that the educators seemed to be nervous around her too, which I didn't think would create a positive environment for Turtle. They said they were unable to use cloth nappies when I asked. They also required a $50 deposit just to put Turtle's name on a waiting list.

The second centre (which is across the street from the first one) gave a much better impression. The administrator showed me around and was lovely. The staff all seemed nice. The problem was, unfortunately, that the site had no natural light. The baby area particularly was dark and gloomy. I knew I wouldn't like being confined in such a dark space so how could I let my daughter go there? They said they were happy to use cloth nappies if that's what I would like. No deposit was required to go on a waiting list.

The third centre I visited (a couple of months after recovering from the first two) was so much better. The owners were professional and the educators were really lovely and confident when interacting with them. The space was well set up, with lots of natural light and great outdoor spaces overlooking a park. I didn't even ask if they did cloth nappies, I was so relieved to find a place that I really liked. There was no fee to go on their waiting list either.

Turtle has been going to centre number 3 one day a week since mid-March. There were quite a few times when I thought about broaching the topic of cloth nappies but I found it difficult to remember in the chaos of drop off or pick up time. Frankly, just settling her in was pretty intense even though she was pretty happy from the start. It took awhile to get used to someone other than Mr Fix It or I taking care of Turtle. Since the family are all in South Australia she was always with one of us.

MCN packed and ready to use, complete with instruction sheet
I found Plastic Free July to be the perfect reason to finally broach the topic of cloth. I asked the senior educator if she would be happy to trial them for a day. She was completely happy to give them a go even though she had never used them before. I explained that they were modern cloth nappies, not the old terry towel kind, so much easier to use.

The next week Turtle had Hand, Foot and Mouth so our trial day got pushed back by a week. I spent the day before making sure I had enough nappies and boosters clean and dry. It's trickier when you can't use things straight from the line, which we sometimes need to do in winter.

The Cloth Nappy Kit for Childcare
I felt so organised when I went into childcare. I really wanted to make it easy for them so that the trial would be a success. I folded the nappies with the booster inserted and disposable liner in place. The I stacked 5 into a cloth bag (enough for the day) so that the educators could use them straight from the bag. I also packed a couple of additional pairs of pants in case of any problems (it's not unusual to have leaks at home). I took in one of our buckets with a lid for dirty nappies to go into. Then I wrote out a quick page of care instructions to help the educators use the nappies.

The instructions included information such as not to use nappy cream, what buttons to do the nappies up on (since they are one size or multi-fit) and how regularly to change Turtle (every 2-3hrs). The instructions were stuck up in the changing area when I dropped Turtle off. I also demonstrated how to change her nappy before I left.

When I picked up Turtle at the end of the day all had gone well. There had been one leak but otherwise no problems at all.

They are happy to keep using cloth now! I was really pleased that they were so open to trying it out.

Although it's a bit of extra work for me each week I am glad things are more consistent for Turtle at daycare and home now. She will be starting an extra day at the end of the month so it's great to have this worked out already.

I coincidentally came across a promotion by the Australian Cloth Nappy Association trying to encourage childcare centres to use cloth with Childcare Ambassador Packs. Unfortunately I found out about these just after I had done our trial day. If you are considering bringing it up at your daycare it could be a useful way to broach the topic.

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