Let’s Talk MCN: Cloth Nappies in Daycare
Sometimes life calls you back to work earlier than you wanted, or you just need a day or two for yourself. When this happens, a lot of cloth parents worry about picking a centre that is accepting and willing to use modern cloth nappies (MCN).
When it comes to picking a childcare centre, it always pays to go on as many tours as possible to get the feel of it. Speak to the room educators your child may go into, ask them if they have any experience with modern cloth nappies, and ask to see their centre policies when it comes to soiled nappies. Some centres operate on outdated advice, and may not know about CCN washing. They see cloth nappy buckets as too much of a biohazard and drowning risk (as do we all) and won’t be keen to take that on. Due to this, they may push back against cloth nappies at first. The Australian Nappy Association (ANA) have a great free cloth nappy ambassador resource to help you through approaching your centre and can guide you through any hesitation on their part.
If they still won’t be accepting cloth nappies use after you’ve expressed all the relevant information about MCN, then perhaps this particular centre isn’t the centre for your family. Childcare should be a continuation of the care your child receives at home, if this centre is not willing to use cloth nappies like you do at home, another centre will.
Your centre said yes? Great! Now you need to ask how many nappies you’ll need for each day. As a mum of two toddlers, I send 6 cloth nappies in a nappy pod each and one on the bum. My centre usually uses 4-5 nappies by the time I collect them, so there’s always 1-2 spare if needed. This amount varies on output, so you may need more or less.
Soiled cloth nappy storage at daycare is the same as when you’re out of the home; wetbags. For centre use, I recommend:
I used these amounts when my youngest started care at just over 12 months, and my eldest was 2.5. If you’re sending a younger child, small wetbag and nappy amounts may need upping by 2 items.
Embroidered nappy snap labels are always beneficial when there’s more than one cloth child at the centre. There are a few different WAHM (Work At Home Mum/Maker) companies that make them, or you can make them yourself if you have access to felt and a KAM snap press.
If another child’s cloth nappy comes home with you, wash it as you would at home. When you’re at the centre next, bring the clean cloth nappy with a note explaining what you did and what you used. And if you’re comfortable, a way of contact in case the parent has any questions. You might even find a friend out of it!
When it comes to fit, you may get some doozies home at the end of the day. Which can be frustrating if you’ve already explained how to fit your cloth nappies. As long as there’s no leaks or welts from incorrect elastic placement, I’ve learned to let it slide. It’s not always the same people doing changes and they might not have experience with cloth nappies, so they may just be trying their best.
If your child will be in centre care on a regular basis a few days a week, it is my absolute recommendation that you keep a small daycare stash of cloth nappies. This is so if they get stained or broken, or God forbid lost, it’s not such a massive deal. Imagine sending a unicorn and having it either not come back or it being irreversibly stained or broken, no thanks!
I use a stash of 17 seconds cloth nappy covers with bamboo cloth nappy inserts. As my youngest goes 3 days a week, I have enough to get him through Monday and Tuesday with some spare, and I know I’ll be doing a main wash before he goes again on Friday. This may or may not work for you, but it helps me reduce stress around staying on top of washing.
Communication with your centre is the key to getting, and then keeping, them on board with modern cloth nappies. Reach out to other cloth parents if you’re having issues, cloth Mums and Dads are a fountain of knowledge and we’re always here to help.
written by Morgan of @morganaveril.mcn
Links to resources;
ANA Cloth Ambassador Info Pack
Cloth Nappy Besties Facebook Group