Cloth diapering two kids? No problem

When people find out that both D and C wear cloth diapers, they are often curious. To people unfamiliar with cloth, they think it sounds like a ton of work — and that cloth-diapering two babies must be an INSANE amount of work.

But in actuality? It’s so not. I promise.

Here are a few of the FAQs I tend to get about cloth diapering two kids:

How many cloth diapers do you have?
We have 26 “regular rotation” diapers, plus four velcro ones that are out of commission because they’re still in the process of being converted to snap diapers (ahem, Darling Husband and your snap tool!). So far 26 has been more than enough, considering D is almost two and C is five weeks old. If you have two newborns, you may need more.

How often do you wash the diapers?
When D was our only cloth-diaper-wearer, I washed them every third day. Now that C is wearing them, too, it’s been every second day OR every third day — depending on what time they are put in the washing machine.

What kind of cloth diapers do you use?
First of all, all our diapers — every single one — is a “one-size” diaper. This means it can be adjusted by snaps down the front that make it bigger or smaller, allowing it to fit babies from 8 lbs. to 35 lbs. I love this system, because it means both kids can share diapers, even though they are drastically different weights. A few quick snaps is all it takes.

Our stash is mostly bumGenuis, and those are our absolute favourites. We have 13 snapped bumGenius Elementals (originally called Organics), 1 snapped bumGenius Freetime, 1 snapped bumGenius 4.0, and four of the old velcro 3.0 bumGenius (which were replaced by the 4.0s). We LOVE the snapped diapers, and depised the velcro ones (which got pilly and became unusable), and that’s why we’re in the process of converting our velcro to snaps (it’s easy — someone* just got sidetracked when the project was 95% done).

*Someone = Darling Husband

We also have five Charlie Banana snapped One-Size Diapers, which we just got before C was born. I’m loving them, and they are giving bumGenius a real run for their money. They also have a much bigger variety of colours and patterns, making them extra stylish.

The rest of our stash is comprised of some cheap no-name type of diapers that were bought randomly in stores because I liked their colour or print. They aren’t as good, quality-wise, as the bumGenius or the Charlie Bananas, but they’re definitely not bad.

How do you wash cloth diapers? Is it disgusting?
It’s not exactly sunshine and roses. I mean, we are talking about poop and pee! But it’s really not that bad. I talked about the washing instructions here, and I’m a little a lot more relaxed with it now.

I empty the diaper bags (laundry bags that hang on the back of their bedroom doors) onto the top of the dryer. I toss any nighttime disposables in the trash. I toss the pee-only diapers straight into the washer (taking out the insert, if they have one). I gather up the poopy diapers, take them into the bathroom, and shake anything, er, solid, into the toilet. Then I toss them into the washer along with everything else.

I turn the washer on a cold wash cycle (with an extra rinse) and add a scoop of diaper soap (I like Nellie’s and Rockin’ Green). Then I go back in and put the machine on a warm cycle with an extra rinse. When that’s done, I throw them in the dryer. When they’re dry, I stuff the pocket diapers, snap everything up so they look nicer, and throw them back in the linen closet. Easy-peasy.

Do the kids ever wear disposable diapers?
Yup, they sure do! Sometimes if we’re making a long day-trip into the city, we will use disposables so we’re not lugging around a huge bag of thick cloth diapers. And D (our almost-two-year-old) has been wearing one every single night since he was about 10 months old.

Cloth just doesn’t absorb as much pee as a disposable, and many kids get to a point where they will soak through them overnight (and wake up, which is evil). So I don’t mind (much) that he wears one at night. I still hate hate HATE buying a crate of Pampers, but it does last a long time, so I grudgingly accept it.

C wears cloth at night since she’s still waking up to nurse, so it’s not a big deal to change her. Although some nights I do stick a leftover disposable on her, so I can be lazy and not change her until the morning.

Do you use disposable wipes or cloth wipes?
We use cloth wipes almost all the time. We have a big bin of them in the linen closet (where all of the cloth diapers are stored, so we don’t wake up a sleeping kid to get a diaper). Our cloth wipe collection is a mixture of:

  • Flannel wipes I sewed myself (during first pregnancy)
  • Cut-up, unhemmed squares cut from baby towels (as made during my exhausting second pregnancy)
  • Cheap baby washcloths

They all work equally well, so I would suggest cheap washcloths as the easiest option. I just wet them by running them under the tap for a few seconds, but Darling Husband prefers to spritz them with a spray bottle of plain water. Tomatoes, to-mah-toes.

Are you a crazy dirty hippie?
No, I’m really not! To be totally honest, I didn’t even recycle at home — for the most part — until 2011.** Shameful, I know. I only wanted to cloth diaper because of the huge cost-savings, and because they look cute. The environmental factor is just, um, like a bonus?

**Because we moved into a house in a neighbourhood where you have to use CLEAR*** garbage bags so we HAD to recycle or else they would not pick up our garbage.

***We are allowed one black bag per week. It is for tampons and pads and other private bizness, so I call it the Bag of Shame.

So what do you think?

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