Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why is my daycare not dumping the poop? #ClothDiapers

Using cloth diapers at daycare is a great way to save even more money and keep your baby comfortable .  We have been cloth diapering at daycare for over three years and it's something that is part of our normal routine.  When I talk to new moms who are going back to work, I always suggest checking out the possibility of using cloth at daycare.  Recently, I heard a new mom complaining that her daycare was really making it difficult to use cloth diapers.  She explained that, "They are not dumping the poop!"
Dumping poop in a daycare center might not be practical because of limited resources, classroom set up, or standards of care. Our first daycare center had a small changing area in the infant room.  There was a simple changing table and sink, but no toilet.  To dump poop, the diaper needed to be taken to an entirely different room (not happening).  Infant poop also isn't very dump-able. Infant poop is usually somewhere between a liquid and a solid and it really requires a sprayer to get the poop off the diaper (or if the infant is exclusively breastfeeding, then the poop dissolves away in the washing machine).  Without a sprayer, there isn't much that a daycare center can do with the diaper besides roll it up and send it home.  Even when it is a plunk-able poop, some daycare centers still do not dump poop.  This also makes sense: what if the teacher missed the toilet during dumping and had to spend extra time cleaning up?  Some centers are more than willing to use cloth diapers, but feel that the potential risk of extra mess from poop-flushing is not something they support. 

In addition to not being fully practical and potentially messy, dumping poop is something that not all teachers are interested in doing nor do they have time for it.  This is kind of a catch 22 because technically disposable diapers also say that you should dump poop before trashing the diaper, but that's a discussion for another day.  Teachers in infant and toddler rooms are busy.  If you stand in an infant room for more than 5 minutes, you see teachers feeding multiple babies at a time, trying to multitask, and sometimes it seems like full-on pandemonium. If I need to choose between getting a cloth diaper emptied versus having a teacher available to address my baby's needs, I would tell the teacher to forget the poop and stay focused on the kids.
So, bummer: you were expecting cloth diaper at daycare to be super easy and now you find out you might have to deal with some messy diapers at the end of the day.  Don't stress: it's still worth it.  When my child was exclusively breastfeeding, there was nothing to do with the diapers at the end of the day (I just put all diapers into the washing machine without rinsing anything).  When baby started solid foods, he had between 0-2 poopy diapers at daycare.  Each night, I checked the wet bag and sprayed off (or dumped) any poop.  I recommend checking the diaper bag versus relying on an infant "daily sheet" where teachers record diaper changes (sometimes teachers forget to record when they change a poopy diaper).  This nightly ritual of checking the diaper bag took about 2 minutes.  Sometimes I forgot, the soiled diapers sat for a day (or two) and were pretty stinky: so DO take the time to check this nightly.

Even though dumping poop at the end of the day sounds kind of gross, it's not bad.  If you are squeamish about it, get set up with some equipment (a diaper sprayer, rubber gloves, maybe a diaper dawg, or a spray pal).  My diaper sprayer is usually all I need to get the job done. To me, using cloth diapers at daycare is worth it because I know my child is more comfortable in cloth.  There is also a fairly significant cost savings by using cloth diapers at daycare, and that definitely helps justify having to dump-and-flush.

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  1. My daycare usually dumps the poop for me :-) But in all honesty, we've been blessed with awesome, clumped, self-peeling poop (if that makes sense). Some that sticks to the gussets or slips under the insert is still there, but even at home it's almost impossible to get it ALL off.

  2. Why not just use a bioliner? I would never expect our daycare to dump the poop in a toilet or clean off a soiled diaper. In our case, the daycare toilet is in another room (outside of the infant room).