Cloth diapering full-time and day-care full-time!? How we have managed for over a year.
You could call me Type A. I searched far and wide for options of daycare that would work with us and diapers that could work for them. I had no interest in being a full-time mom after my 8-week stint at home. I shortened my maternity leave, and dropped our daughter off with at halftime nanny and five Diaper Rite Newborn AIOs. We soon enrolled our daughter in full-time daycare, successfully cloth diapering with them for 14 months.
Our daughter spent newborn days with a combination of 19 newborn changes total. We washed at least every two days. We understood that would not work forever!
My Cloth Diaper Stash
When I was pregnant, we won our first diaper shell through one of Bailey’s contests. It prompted us to buy more GroVia shells and a few inserts. We were curious to try different (cheaper) price points and systems. After extensive research, we use all in two systems almost exclusively for daycare. In addition to GroVia, Buttons makes affordable covers and we found used Best Bottoms inserts online.
An all in two system is cheaper than AIOs by a landslide. We also found out that AI2s dry much faster. On Wednesday nights, I am thankful that they make up a majority of our stash.
We dabbled in all-in-ones and pocket diapers but I could not imagine stuffing 35 diapers at 10:30 at night or 7:00am. Not doing it! Using AIOs for daycare would cost us hundreds more, plus waste precious time drying in the evenings.
We have prefolds but rarely send those to daycare. The staff rotate and we’re most comfortable giving them AI2s already snapped to prevent major challenges.
What have I learned?
Routine is everything.
Ours is based on one major idea: diapers that are washed on weeknights have to be dry and assembled by morning.
Some of our earliest diaper purchases didn’t dry quick enough so we gave them away or we use those last. We’ve landed on around 30 daytime changes, half that many covers, and 5 overnight diapers.
We wash every Wednesday and one weekend night. My sanity dictated that we would only do diaper laundry twice a week while working full-time. We use Tide powder detergent and have used liquid detergent in a pinch. Even if it’s 8:00 p.m. and we forgot to start a load, we make it work!
Here is a glimpse into our cloth diaper schedule as a working parent.
We had no one providing a tutorial when we were starting out, but I wish we did.
On Mondays, we pack five or six assembled hybrid diapers, disposable wipes, and a mini pail liner. Most states dictate that daycare employees must change the entire thing (can’t snap in new inserts or reuse a cover). That afternoon, I bring back the pail liner filled with used diapers. Soiled diapers are sprayed and go into a larger wet bag. We snap out any inserts that have pee to put in a wet bag but lay those shells to air overnight. This saves money as opposed to putting an entire pocket or AIO in a wet bag nightly.
Tuesday morning, those aired-out covers can be sent to daycare with fresh inserts. Repeat.
By Wednesday evening, we have a good amount of diapers to stick in the laundry. We start this at least 3.5 hours before bedtime. One prerinse and one heavy wash cycle. Turn the dryer on low twice and hang dry washed covers overnight. This lasts Thursday and Friday.
On the weekends, we use whatever diapers are left until we have just four changes. Then we do a big wash and assemble more diapers for the week.
Our daily diapers with a toddler:
Wake up and change
Change after breakfast
Change up to five times at daycare
Change around dinner
Change once before bedChange into overnight
With this knowledge, you can see that we needed more covers/shells than lots of AI2s websites promote. We shopped lots of sales to build our stash (wet bags, pail liners, and sprayer included). New parents could shop sales to spend less than $500 creating something similar with options.
As two parents working outside of the home, we give ourselves grace. I am incredibly proud to speak of our successes. Our daughter still has a disposable on her behind once every couple months. She has not complained, and neither have we.