When it comes to the time to choose a childcare setting we all have certain areas that we want to be ticked off: experienced staff, outdoor time, educational play, socialisation, role play, plenty of stimulation and so on, but if you are a cloth parent, approaching childcare settings about using them can feel very daunting. Disposable nappies have been mainstream for a long time now and it may seem the easiest option to go along with this just to “fit in” but if we want to continue to spread the word about cloth, if we want our child/children to wear them full time, if we want to make a change and bring cloth to the forefront then talking about them and asking others to use them too is the way to help this to happen. In this article, I am going to share how I went about talking to a childcare setting about cloth nappies and how I got them on board (spoiler, it wasn’t hard!)
So, when you are looking for childcare, some of the first steps we all take are checking out websites, social media, reading reviews, looking at photos, and checking OFSTED reports. From here, you can easily whittle it down to the places that you’d like to look at before making a final decision.
That first contact with each place is usually in the form of a phone call or an email and this is where I brought up cloth nappies, right from the off. I sent my enquiry email which asked do you have space, what are your dropping off/picking up times, do I need to provide food? etc and I asked right there if they will take a child with cloth nappies. Now, as far as I am aware, no childcare setting should be saying no but there are also no laws or guidelines in place it seems so all you can do is bring up the conversation and work around the response you receive.
I can tell you that I emailed 2 childcare settings, one didn’t reply but the other responded to say that nobody else at the setting wore cloth nappies but they were open to learning about them, seeing what they were like and having a go. This is precisely what I wanted to hear.
In normal circumstances, you should be able to fully look around your chosen childcare setting and you may be able to take your cloth nappies with you to demonstrate, however, this couldn’t happen for us as we started William during Covid so everything was a little different. I was allowed to visit and remain outside, I was allowed to stay quite a while to get a feel for the place and give him the chance to play. This gave me the opportunity to talk to the staff about cloth nappies. I explained how they worked, how similar they are to disposables these days, how simple they are, how often we change him, how to check when he needs changing, etc. I think by doing this face to face, you will get a good idea of whether or not they are interested, if they are nervous or really don’t like the concept which will allow you to decide how to take the next steps. Please don’t be put off if they seem a little resistant, remember that everyone is a little nervous when they first make that switch to cloth nappies and that using them is often the best way to learn over reading or hearing about them.
Follow up emails will always arrive after a look around and this is a great chance to ask more questions if you have thought of any, double-check all that was said, and confirm whether or not cloth nappies will be welcomed. If they would like more information before making a decision or trying, you could always reply with links to websites about them, articles on fitting, YouTube videos etc. By supporting them through this, you will be making this a really easy transition.
As I mentioned, in normal circumstances you will hopefully be able to demonstrate your nappies in person, show the staff the different parts, how they work, where to put them after use and so on, but if this isn’t possible, you can simply do what this in paper form.
For William’s start day I sent him in with:
- More than enough nappies (just in case)
- Reusable wipes
- Change of clothes (extra just in case)
- A large wet bag
- A changing mat
- Written instructions from me including every small pointer I could think of that would help the staff
- A printed picture guide on fitting nappies which I found in a cloth nappy group on Facebook but I have recently been told that The Nappy Lady has them for every nappy type on their website here which you can print
- A nappy done up as it would be on him as an example for them to follow
*I just wanted to add that I have only sent him in with one brand which is Baba and Boo with poppers. The reason for this is because it is mostly what we use, I wanted the staff to feel confident in starting and didn’t want to confuse them with different fastenings and fits, and even though a lot of people love velcro for the ease, poppers are more secure for us.
Getting On Board
Our cloth nappies have been welcomed, they have caused a bit of excitement and a lot of interest. I have been told that all of the staff have been very keen to have a try and so far we haven’t had one issue. I honestly believe that starting the conversation off from the very start, giving the childcare setting all of the info they require and working together is the perfect way to help more children stay in cloth full time… and maybe getting more people to use them?!
I think that cloth nappies could easily become far more mainstream, we just need to be brave enough to talk them up, show them off and to help others to learn all about them.
Have you had any experience with childcare settings and cloth nappies? If you have extra tips please do share them in the comments below for others to refer to.
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