Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cloth Diapering Multiples? I switched and so can you! (Part 1)

Cloth diapering multiples has it's benefits and it's drawbacks. Let me begin by saying that even if you don't have a set of multiples born at the same age like twins, triplets, etc. the term multiples in cloth still applies when you have more than one child in your household in diapers.

To many, especially those who have never cloth diapered before, the thought of not only using cloth but having more than one child in cloth can seem like an insurmountable task.

I can speak from personal experience.  When we found out we were expecting twins we were overwhelmed with the long list of all the things we'd need doubles of.  Two bouncy seats, two baby carriers, a double stoller, two carseats, two highchairs, twice as many clothes and the list went on.  On top of all that we were going to need DOUBLE your normal amount of diapers!

I think that friends, family, and co-workers realized this need, especially the need for diapers and before the twins were even born we had been gifted tons and tons of disposable diapers.  We hadn't even really had a chance to imagine the cost involved in diapering multiples and our new disposable diaper supply ended up being enough to last us through about 4 months of age.

At this point my husband and I were realizing that we were going to have to add diapers to our weekly budget and when I informed him how much we could expect to start spending it was really eye opening.  I had already been exposed to modern cloth diapers on my 'moms of multiples' message board and knew that pocket diapers existed.  I hadn't done a whole lot of research but one of the moms from the forums offered to sell me some gently used onesize pocket diapers and inserts.  I was excited to get them and my husband was excited that we'd never have to buy disposables.

What happened from there?  I quickly became addicted.  I was using all six of my cloth diapers, washing them and using them over, washing again, and using again and again.  It took about two days to realize that diapering twins with six cloth diapers meant that I would have to be washing them as soon as I took them off in order to have them ready when the others became dirty.  Washing such small loads 3-4 times a day was not cost or energy efficient at all.  So little by little I added to our stash until we were in cloth full-time.

What do you need?
It's true that having more than one child in cloth means you'll need more diapers and will have more laundry to do.  These two factors you really can't do anything about.  What you can do is make it easier on yourself by purchasing easy to use and easy to launder diapering systems.

For small babies and/or newborns-  I recommend using prefolds and covers while at home and having convenient to use pocket diapers for use overnight, during nap-time or while you're out running errands.  If you have two different age/size children in cloth then you can use onesize pocket diapers that both children can share.

Prefolds are easy to launder and since you don't always have to change the cover this means you'll have less diaper laundry to do.  Prefolds also dry easily outside and are very durable.

For larger babies and toddlers-As you know little ones gain better control over their bowels as they grow and this results in less frequent diaper changes but the need for more absorbency.  They'll be pooping and peeing in mass quantities compared to the tiny squirts here and there during the newborn stage.

Diapering during this time will be when you need to decide if the more economical method of using prefolds is the method you want to stick with or if you want to add more pocket diapers to your stash because they can hold more and contain larger messes.  Keep in mind that prefolds need to be changed a whole lot more frequently than their super absorbent pocket diaper buddies.

Pocket diapers can be customized to suit your needs by stuffing different types of absorbent inserts in them. There are Microfiber, Hemp and Loopy-Do's for regular use and Super-Do's which are extra thick and absorbent and work great for overnight and heavy wetters.

How many do I need?
If you have newborn twins in cloth I recommend you have 3-4 dozen prefolds,  at least 8 covers and 12 pocket diapers.  This amount, in my opinion would safely cover you for 2 days before you'd need to do laundry.  As the twins get older I recommend adding pocket diapers to your stash as needed and if convenience is a major factor and you decide to use pocket diapers full time for the duration of their diapering years then I suggest you keep at least 2-3 dozen pocket diapers in rotation.  The more you have the less each diaper will get used and you will experience less wear and tear.

If you have children of different ages in cloth you'd need prefolds for each size and you can purchase duo size or onesize diaper covers that can be shared.  Take into consideration the quantities I recommend in the paragraph above and adapt them to suit your needs.  Most mamas with different size children in cloth opt to use onesize pockets as opposed to sized pockets because they won't need to invest in as many diapers and it makes things a little less complicated.

I also recommend you invest in a variety of extra inserts and doublers.  This way you'll have enough to add to your diapers to make them more absorbent without running out of inserts for use in your other diapers.  I suggest at least an extra dozen inserts in a variety of thicknesses and styles.  

Remember this is Part 1 of our Cloth Diapering Multiples series.  Stay tuned for Part 2 which will give you some tips and tricks for laundering and what accessories you'll need the most.



Jill said...

One thing to add to this is from an article I read somewhere about having 2 in cloth. To make it easy on everyone, instead of splurging on a bunch of different colors, they chose one or two colors of diapers for each child, that way you always knew which was which. I think it was pink for one and yellow for another, something like that. Of course you can buy varying brands in different shades, but you'll end up with the same general palette. I thought that was a great idea.

T Rex Mom said...

This was a well done post. It almost makes me want to have multiples. My hubby and I joke that if our daughter was identical twins, we'd had smooth sailing. She's the easiest baby ever. Our first born (he still does not sleep through the night at 2 1/2).

Hats off to you for your efforts and for an excellent, informative post.

Melissa @ GreenAndFrugalMama said...

We have 2 in CDs, a 22mo old and a 5mo old and this is exactly what we do - we had BGOS 3.0 from #1, pink, blue, yellow and green. Now #2 gets the pink and blue and #1 the yellow and green. Much easier! :) They're prestuffed, snapped down, and ready to go for whichever kiddo.

Danelle said...

I have twins and at the beginning, I washed every other day (small loads) and got away with 2 dozen prefolds and 9 covers. At first I just bought just white covers, but as I've branched out, my color choices have too. This was my first venture into CDing and everyone thought I was nuts for trying to CD twins. It's much easier than I ever thought it would be. :D
@ Jill, that's a great idea if you had identical twins! I've heard of doing the same with outfits.

Heide said...

I have twins and have CD'ed them from the start. My first reason to go for it was prove them all wrong -- everyone who said I was crazy!

Then I came to the realization that it was pretty much the same amount of work as one child, but I was saving twice as much money, and getting double the satisfaction of saving the earth. I do the same amount of laundry as one child (every other night) so how folks say its so much more work CDing twins is incorrect.

Now if I have to use disposables (I'm having an ammonia build up problem right now, causing irritation on their bums) for any reason I cringe knowing that I can be buying a brand new reusable cloth diaper for the price of two packs of disposables!

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