Bring Your Own Diapers to the Hospital

A lot of cloth diapering moms get lazy when we’re in the hospital after giving birth.  We may already have a full cloth diaper stash at home just waiting for us, but we don’t typically bring our own diapers to the hospital.  We’re there to recover and bond (and if you’re post c-section, emphasis on “recover”).  Having to worry about storing cloth diaper laundry just isn’t something that appeals.  Fortunately, the hospital provides disposable diapers for use while you’re there.

At least, some hospitals do.  Some Canadian hospitals have adopted a “BYOD” approach to diapers.  Unlike American hospitals, our single payer system means that there’s not a plethora of insurance companies to bill and fight with.  Each province has their own universal health care.

In Halifax, the IWK Hospital has a BYOD policy.  Initially, women who were in the hospital to give birth were to provide their own diapers for their newborns.  (For what it’s worth, though, I did this voluntarily for both Norton and Eudora.  The Pampers diapers that the hospital used gave Norton something on his bottom that looked like a chemical burn.  If we use disposables, it’s only Huggies.)

Recently, the IWK has extended that policy to the pediatrics unit.  They aren’t the only hospitals to do this; the pediatric hospitals in Toronto and Montreal have the same policy.

I’m kind of mixed on this, myself.  On one hand, I know that it wasn’t that big of a deal for us to just bring the sposies to the hospital.  On the other hand, how is it managed in a sick children’s hospital?  I’ve never actually been to a sick kid’s hospital, but I strongly suspect that the parents who are there with their children due to life-threatening illnesses really don’t want to have to run down to the grocery store to buy diapers when they are there trying to keep their kids alive.  Additionally, I wonder how it’s dealt with on a staffing level.  Does each child have their own “stash” of diapers kept on their own isolette cart?

The other thing that I wonder is if the environment would be friendly to using cloth diapers.  Obviously, there are disadvantages and benefits to that, as well.  Will the staff even use the cloth diapers?  After all, it’s not like the parents can be on hand 24/7, right?  And then, of course, there would be the disadvantages of parents having to do cloth diaper laundry while in an unfamiliar city caring for a sick child.  (There are eight sick children hospitals across Canada.  Due to the massive spread of population and some exceptionally sparsely populated areas, it’s the most reasonable method of distributing resources.  That doesn’t mean that sick kids in isolated areas don’t get treatment; it just means that they and their parents may have to travel for treatment.)

The hospitals that have adopted these policies are doing so in order to save $10,000 to $20,000 a year.  What do you think about these policies?  Is it a reason to start cloth right off the bat?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. I’m hesitant to start right away because of those meconium diapers…it seems like it would be less risky to get those out of the way on hospital disposables!

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