Why are so many crèches opposed to cloth nappies?


When my son was 18 months old we made the switch over to cloth nappies. I’m not talking about your grandmother’s old terry cloth nappies that still require folding (although some people do like going this old-school route). We went for modern cloth nappies.

Read more: Cloth nappies 101

By the time we reached the point where we wanted to send him to crèche, we were on cloth nappies 90% of the time. We still sometimes used disposables at night and when we were out for long periods at a time.

But we were buying very few disposables and saving a lot of money.

It was with trepidation that we asked the teachers at his potential school if we could send cloth nappies. We even took some with to show them how they worked. To our surprise and delight, they were very happy to accommodate it.

How cloth nappies work at crèche

  • We send clean nappies, which are lined with a flushable liner, to school in his bag.
  • The teachers put wet nappies in a wet bag – a plastic, waterproof bag that seals with a zip.
  • Poop is flushed down the toilet and the cloth nappy is put in a scented nappy bag, which is then put inside the wet bag.
  • When he gets home we transfer the dirty nappies to the nappy bucket that lives in our bathroom.

Is it allowed?

I was really happy that our school was so open to the concept of cloth nappies; I had read so many posts on the South African Cloth Nappy Users Facebook group about parents coming up against resistance with their children’s crèches about using them.

Some thought a cloth nappy was fiddly to use but, honestly, it’s like putting on a disposable – the only difference is you throw it in a wet bag instead of a bin once it’s taken off.

Parents should ideally send pocket nappies that are already stuffed, lined and have been adjusted to the correct size so that teachers won’t have to struggle with trying to get them on.

Another concern is hygiene. A lot of schools say they don't accept cloth nappies because they're not hygienic. But there’s no faecal matter sitting in a bin, stinking up a room, because it gets flushed and the wet bag seals in the urine smell.

One school went as far as to say that it was not allowed by the Department of Health, when in fact the guidelines they give for crèches  is that a crèche should have a "bucket with a lid for sterilising and soaking nappies". Except with modern cloth nappies the soaking part isn’t even required.

So the fact that provision is made for cloth nappies in the City Of Cape Town’s Guidelines for Application to Operate a Crèche or After Care Centre, means that cloth nappies are absolutely an option for parents to send to crèche. Don't let your child's crèche tell you anything else.

Have you ever thought of using modern cloth nappies? Send us your thoughts to chatback@parent24.com.

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