Cloth with Alternate Caregivers

Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival


This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.


All Supplies Within Reach of Caregiver

There are situations that we run into where someone other then yourself will need to care for your child.  It may be on a regular basis and you need the services of a daycare or it could be more infrequent and you find the need for a babysitter.  Whatever the case may be, you want these other caregivers to continue using cloth with your child.  Using cloth can be a very daunting idea to the uninformed.  If you make the proper preparations and take the time to demonstrate the ease of the new modern cloth, you both can have a very positive experience with cloth.


We will deal first with the occasional alternate caregiver situation, the babysitter.  Your babysitter could be your relative or a young person you have hired for the occasion.  Either way, they may or may not be familiar with cloth diapers or may have outdated preconceived notions about cloth diapering.  Older family members may feel that cloth is too complicated and messy.  The younger generation may be thinking, “They want me to do what!?” and have a horrified look on their face.  All of this is normal and can quickly be dispelled with a little instruction and preparation.

The first thing is if you know that you are going to be having a caretaker, you can ask them to come before they are left alone with your child to learn how to use the cloth diapers.  Ideally you can have your caregiver over multiple times prior leaving them on their own but sometimes that is not possible.  If you plan for them to come over thirty minutes before you intend to leave that should give you enough time to show them where everything is and how to use your diapering system.

Basket Containing My Prefolds and Covers

Ideally, your cloth changing station will be set-up relatively simply for yourself already but you may want to make a few changes if you know you are having a caregiver and you wish to make it as easy as possible for them when they go to use it.  You should lay out the amount of diapers your caregiver might have to use ahead of time.  I like to organize mine in a basket so it is easy for them to find.  If you are using pocket diapers or all-in-twos, you should have them already set-up and waiting for your caregiver to just grab and use.  If you have a little more “complicated” diaper you will want to have all of the parts laid out and easy to reach so that your caregiver is not desperately reaching across a changing station while trying to hold onto a squirmy charge.


Daycare Diapers Stuffed and Ready for Daddy to Grab and Go!

If you are bringing cloth to a daycare center on a regular basis, I suggest you invest in a simple cloth solution if you have the means.  Daycare centers are more receptive to the idea of cloth if it is as easy as possible for them.  Most States require that daycares have a plan on file with the State Health Department prior to the introduction of cloth.  So if you are planning on using cloth at a daycare it is a good idea to ask about this before you register or as early as you can.  If you can find the information on the site for the department that regulates daycare licenses for information about what is acceptable for use and know the regulations yourself, it will make the conversation easier.  Typically you will need a waterproof cover, an air-tight pail to store used diapers and diapers will need to be removed from the daycare daily.


As with your occasional in home caregiver, the daycare workers will need a tutorial on how to use your stash.  They will also need to keep a small back up stash at the daycare center so that if there are accidents or the need for more diaper changes arises they will have diapers on hand and will not reach for a disposable in a pinch.

Whoever your caregiver is, it is a good idea to remind them that cloth diapers need to be changed more often then regular diapers, so that they can avoid leaks.  If you use diaper balm or cream they will need to learn how to apply it as well or know to use a liner that you provide.  Cloth is possible to use with caregivers in your home or at a daycare facility, but you must be prepared and willing to listen to the concerns of your caregiver.  Understand that they may be some troubleshooting that you will have to work out as well.


Real Diaper Industry Association: Daycare Directory A listing of cloth diaper friendly daycares in the United States and Canada.



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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

  • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
  • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
  • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
  • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
  • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
  • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
  • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.
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6 Responses to Cloth with Alternate Caregivers

  1. Melissa says:

    Great points. The first time I had to leave my daughter, I forgot to set aside any easy diapers and all I had clean were prefolds. I had to try to show my sitter how to fold them in a rush and when I returned, the fresh diaper was sticking out of the cover every which way because the poor lady was so confused when it came time to put one on. I definitely could have benefited from some of your advice then!

  2. Laura says:

    Oh my misguided attempts at having others cloth diaper my son! I had a caregiver for him while I worked the first 14 months of his life… it got to the point that I had to switch to ‘sposies since she would forget what she did with the dirty one and I’d find it days later stinking to high heaven. I learned how to strip my diapers far too early in my mothering career! Haha! Now I’ve thought of a time when I asked a friend to change his diaper for me since I was in the middle of supper assuming that she’d figure it out (BGs aren’t that complicated) and she put it on backwards so it leaked everywhere.

    I will say though at church there is only one lady who works in the nursery who will change cloth diapers. The others just won’t do it so I’ve had to learn to change right before we leave for church and if we plan to stay for Sunday school or a meeting or something, I make a trip in to change my child. It’s that or take a dripping child home with a very, very full diaper.

  3. Amy says:

    Good points! I really haven’t had much trouble at all getting alternate caregivers familiar with our diapering system. My (childless) brother-in-law has even done it! I think the biggest hurdle has been getting past peoples’ preconceived notions that cloth diapers are going to be more difficult/complicated/smelly/messy/etc. than disposables. Once they’ve done it once, though, it’s a piece of cake!

  4. @Melissa – that had to have looked funny, you would have thought they might have said to themselves: “It didn’t look like this before.”
    @Laura – I would have to agree about switching if she was going to hide them. However, why wouldn’t she just change him in the same place? Maybe your friend thought since they are fabric like clothing the opening goes in the back like a dress? Too funny! The part about your church nursery though is terrible, how could they just leave a baby in a diaper? It is no more complex then a sposie and and they could just put the whole thing in your wetbag, no need to discuss poop or wipes (it is easier that way)
    @Amy – You are completely right. Once you go cloth, you never go back!

  5. Thank you for this post. I have this question come up a lot. It’s often in context of, “oh, but you’re with your kids all the time. I could never do this…” (which isn’t true, btw) I think, as you explain, that it is very doable with a little planning ahead and flexibility. I think many care providers are used to disposables and those disposables are often left on for long periods without being checked. I’ve encountered some resistance to the perceived extra work. How has your experience been in finding care providers will to check and change often?

  6. Well I have only used one daycare and they have needed some reminders. His first month there, he got sick, had the runs and we were told no more cloth. We accepted that for awhile, because we were nervous at the time about being kicked out of the program. Long story short, sposies are no good for our son and with some extra support for our daycare workers and the explanation of the issues we were seeing, they were more then happy to change his diaper as frequently as necessary. It is a lot less effort to change a diaper then it is to clean up a leak, which as we know involves a diaper change, outfit change and area sanitizing. So when it is explained that way and you provide the necessary supplies it should be no more work then the addition of a change every 2 hours in most cases. With sitters I’ve never had an issue, I just leave a schedule for them.

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