So, the dreaded moment has come…..you’ve had a few fabulous months (at least!) at home with your precious little bundle, but now it’s time to return to the big bad world of employment and your baby – and his or her nappies – are in the hands of someone else for a few hours a day.
Despite the fact that reusable nappies are growing in popularity at a fantastic rate of knots, the simple fact is that many people have become – for want of a better word ‘addicted’ to using disposable nappies. No matter how much they hear about ‘landfill’ or ‘damage to the environment’ or ‘500 years to biodegrade’, there are plenty of people who will still shop till they drop for reusable nappies. What happens if one of those people is your chosen caregiver? How do you negotiate this potential minefield?
Well, first of all, focus entirely on the fact that, when it comes to reusable nappies and your chosen form of childcare, the key word always has to be ‘flexibility’ – on everybody’s part!
Regardless of whether your child is being cared for by grandparents, at the home of a childminder, or at a local nursery, with a little careful planning and diplomacy, you’ll find that you, your baby and your chosen caregiver will sail through the nappy process!
If you opt for childcare at a nursery, it’s always a good idea to check with staff from the outset that they’re happy to use reusable nappies – or, at the very least, – are willing to embrace the idea!
There are no health or safety issues involved in reusable nappies being used in nurseries, so you don’t have to worry about that aspect of using the nappies, but many nursery staff simply aren’t used to them and may prefer not to through lack of experience.
If you have opted for childcare at a nursery, then use the initial visit to find out what the nursery policy is on reusable nappies.
Suitable questions to be asked include:
‘Are your staff happy enough for me to use reusable nappies on my baby?’
‘Are they happy enough to place the soiled nappies/liners into a bag, which I will take away with me at the end of the day?’
If you suspect from the outset that there is resistance by the nursery to ask assistants to work with the reusable nappies, then you’ll have to consider whether you opt for a different nursery or back down and allow your baby to wear disposables during nursery time. The choice, unfortunately, is up to you….you can’t alter the nursery’s stance.
If, however, the nursery simply seems reticent to use the reusable nappies simply through lack of experience, why not try suggesting the following:
‘Reusable nappies are becoming increasingly popular for parents to use. Would you like me to demonstrate to your assistants how to work with these nappies, as they may be asked increasingly to use them?’
Your willingness to ‘help out’ may swing the issue for you.
If your nursery is prepared to cooperate with your wishes regarding the nappies, do remember that your baby or young child may be changed by any number of nursery assistants, so you have to go for the easiest system possible. A pocket nappy design may be the most suitable in this case, but you need to check with the person in charge that everyone involved will know how to use whichever system you choose!
As with nurseries, there will be childminders, who will be only too happy to fit in with your chosen nappy system, and those – particularly those who are minding several children of different ages – who will prefer you to simply leave some disposables for use during the time that they are caring for your child.
Again, this can be a tricky one, since you may have found a fantastic childminder, who ticks all of the boxes in terms of qualities that you were looking for, but who doesn’t want what they perceive as ‘the hassle’ of using reusable nappies. Remember that they may simply be feeling a little nervous about using what is probably unchartered territory for them, so offer (politely) to show them how simple it is to operate whatever nappy system you’re using.
If you use your childminder on a very regular basis, it may be an idea to purchase a nappy pail for her and then you can simply take your nappies home with you when you pick your baby up.
Alternatively, allow your childminder to use the same little nappy bags that they would use for disposables. Then, you can simply take them home and pop the soiled nappies into the washing machine.
When family are involved it can be a little easier to insist on reusable nappies being used. Older caregivers in particular will probably find terry squares or prefolds easy to use, since they are the modern equivalent of the old-fashioned terry towelling nappies that they’re probably familiar with. If grandparents are caring for your child on a regular basis – particularly if it’s in their own home – it might bet worth investing in a nappy bucket or nappy pail for them to keep in their own house. Then, it’s simply a matter of you taking the soiled nappies home in a plastic bag for washing.
Whichever form of childcare you opt for, remember that cooperation and flexibility will ensure a much smoother ride for you and your reusable nappy campaign than confrontation!