There are a few daycare centers and in-home daycare providers that require a note from a doctor before they will use cloth diapers. Cloth diapering is legal in all 50 states, so what's with the doctor's note? Only New Hampshire specifies that a doctor's note is a legal requirement, and that's only if home-laundered diapers are to be used. You want to use cloth diapers at daycare, so what are you to do? When faced with a request for a doctor's note there are three alternatives to using disposable diapers.
1. Look for a different center
Unless this is the only daycare center in your entire town, chances are there are centers in the area that allow cloth diapers without all the paperwork. In many centers, cloth diapers are viewed as an opportunity to show great "customer service". In other words, the center fully supports the use of cloth diapers because they know parents are looking to use them. They want to be that center you find and love after you've passed-up the stiff policies at other centers.
2. Talk to the center director
Sit down and have a conversation with the daycare director. Let them know you've researched cloth diapering laws at daycare and haven't seen any legal reasons why a doctor's note is necessary in your state. Ask them about their reasoning for the requirement of a doctor's note. Ask them if the center is fully aware of modern varieties of cloth diapers used in daycare centers. It may be helpful to bring along modern varieties of cloth diapers to show that the diapers are easy to put on (maybe they are unaware of how cloth diapers have changed). Describe a plan for how you will supply and care for cloth diapers used at daycare (provide clean diapers daily, provide a clean water-proof bag for diapers to go into, take soiled diapers home nightly for laundering, teach staff to use the diapers, etc). You could recommend a trial period for using cloth diapers at the daycare center. Be flexible and willing to compromise on the style of diaper you provide.
3. Talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor about your desire to use cloth diapers at daycare. Most new babies have skin sensitivities, and if your child is experiencing diaper rashes, eczema, or has other skin irritations like cradle cap, dry skin, baby acne, or has an older sibling with skin sensitivities, these may be reasons that support using cloth diapers around the clock. Disposable diapers contain super absorptive chemicals that also absorb the natural oils found on baby's skin. Other children are very sensitive to fragrance found in disposable diapers. Fragrances and super absorptive chemicals make baby more prone to skin irritation in the diaper area. Talk to your doctor about your concerns, and they will most likely provide the note you need. After all, most doctors prefer taking the avenue of prevention, rather than seeing you back in the office for antibiotics or prescription rash ointment later on.
We have only encountered one center that required a doctor's note to use cloth diapers. We decided to take avenue 1 and find a center that supported cloth diapers without the need for a note. When we moved states, we opted to plan ahead and get a doctor's note in case we needed it at a new center. We talked with our doctor and told her that some centers require a doctor's note to use cloth diapers, and that using cloth diapers was very important to us. Our daughter had a history of reactions to shampoos with fragrance, along with the typical spectrum of baby skin ailments. Our doctor kindly provided us with a note describing a need for cloth diapers at daycare centers based on "skin sensitivities".
By taking a planned, professional approach to using cloth diapers at daycare centers, it is easy to work with daycare staff and have a great positive outcome. If a center is completely unwilling to compromise on an issue that is very important to your family, then I would question what other issues they may be unwilling to compromise on.
Have you encountered a daycare center that required a note to use cloth diapers? Have you gotten a doctor's note to use cloth diapers at daycare?