Sunday, January 14, 2007

Whole cloth

At the girls' checkup last week, my pediatrician, who has two sets of IVF twins, mentioned that she thought one of the unexpected hard parts of infant twins is clothing management. I don't know that it had ever occurred to me that it's a twin-specific problem, but goodness knows it is staggering.

We're still pretty much living off hand-me-downs from one of my mom's patients, which is wonderful, but it's also occasionally stressful. For starters, it's more work than you would think to manage donated clothes. Since they have grown out of all of the newborn things (except for a couple Carter's onesies which run really long), and Katherine in particular is at the upper end of the 0-3 range, we have an enormous pile of outgrown clothes waiting to be handed off to some other future mom of twin girls. I'm somewhat reluctant to actually give them away, officially because who knows but that we might have another pair of girls, unofficially because it's a measure of how fast they're growing. However, the former can be solved when it happens and the latter is just denial, so that enormous pile needs to be sorted and folded and bagged. At the current rate of progress, this will happen in approximately June.

Additionally, I feel a mild compulsion to try and wear all of the seasonally appropriate outfits at least once (and feel bad about the unworn non-seasonal ones). In addition to being needlessly complicated, it creates an awful lot of laundry. We go out on excursions most days, and I dress the girls in cutesy matchy outfits for most excursions, and Claire reliably spits up and prevents outfits from being re-worn. Four or five outfits per baby per week, plus sleepers and onesies (often several of these a day, per Claire and the spit-up), plus sheets and blankets and changing pad covers (again, per Claire), and we're talking about a substantial amount of laundry. Some of it's my own fault for dressing them up, but there's a lot even without the outfits.

So you would think I'd be looking for ways to cut it down, but instead I've been increasing it... by moving to cloth diapers. Now, I'm not what I'd consider a hard-core attachment parent type (although I maybe lean a little bit more in that direction than otherwise), nor am I a rabid environmentalist. What I am is frugal enough to realize that we're literally throwing away a not-insubstantial amount of money on disposable diapers. While it's true that cloth has a start-up cost and that washing them isn't free, it's still cheaper than $60 or more per month for disposables.

I used exclusively disposables until the girls hit about 10 lbs, which in retrospect was a wise decision. As newborns, they used an astonishing quantity of diapers, sometimes two or three per change, and the expense of an adequate cloth supply would have been considerable. Also, while they weren't teeny preemies, they are definitely at the very low end of the weight curve, and many cloth diapers don't fit littler babies as well. As they got bigger and less poopy, though, cloth started to seem like a realistic option.

My friends all thought I was nuts, of course, but the internet said modern cloth diapers are a different deal from the diapers of yesteryear, and The Internet Never Lies, right? So I ordered a couple different kinds of diapers, and started using them on a trial basis. The SwaddleBees leaked so badly that I'm sending it back, and I've had some issues with the Happy Heiny as well, though it's still in the daily rotation. I'm not a big fan of the snaps on the FuzziBunz, either. The BumGenius, though, has proved to be a real winner, and I went back and ordered a bunch more of those.

I have ordered, but not yet used, some of the old-fashioned prefolds. My friend Cara is very happy with prefolds and wool soakers, so I figured that rather than buy covers, I'd just knit myself a couple of soakers. So far, I've managed to finish one soaker (using the CurlyPurly pattern), which just came off the blocking board today and is ready for use. It knit up quickly and seems to have turned out reasonably well, though I'm holding off on starting the second until I use the first one tomorrow and see if adjustments need to be made.

We're still using disposables at night, and whenever I forget to wash the diapers at the end of the day, since I only have about a full day's worth of cloth at this point (though I'll be ordering more shortly). I'm also using disposable wipes, which I thought would save me some trouble but has actually proved to be a minor hassle, since I have to pick them out of the used diapers before washing. I'll be switching over to mainly flannel wipes soon, I think. The DiaperChamp works pretty well as a cloth diaper pail, although it is smallish for twins, and only holds about one day's diapers.

Overall, I'm really happy with the cloth. Washing them isn't too gross, though I know this will change as soon as we start solids. We actually have better luck with the cloth BumGenius diapers than we do with the disposables -- I've never had a cloth blowout and very little leaking, which can't be said for disposables. Washing and re-stuffing them every night is a little bit of a pain; it's do-able, yes, but I'll be happier when I have a two-day supply. I'm hoping I like the prefolds/soakers, too -- they look really cute, and I'm plotting all sorts of embellishments and color combos for soakers and longies.

So yes, I'd officially consider myself a cloth-diapering mom at this point. Who else is using cloth diapers, especially with twins?


Cass said...

I tried CDing in the early days (first with diaper service prefolds and covers, then with an assortment of pocket diapers) and gave it up because we had a hard time finding something that fit the kids well and was easy enough to use. (The Happy Heinys didn't work for us, after I bought a bunch, and we're not huge fans of the snappage on the FB though I love the fleece. We had high hopes for the one size BumGs, but I think we tried them too soon.)

We're in our next round of tryouts (I just got a couple of the new-style BumGs - both pocket and AIOs, and one DryBees) so we'll see how that goes. I might even try prefolds and covers again at some point. Maybe. Or not. Now that we've used 'sposies for so long, I'm not sure how we'll shift to the assemblage needed for the prefold options (especially since the babies are really squirmy these days).

Whew, that was long. Sorry. :)

Maggie said...

We've been planning to switch to cloth diapers for some time. Right now we use flushable liners in reusable diapers, which is a little better than disposables since we can use the wet diapers as compost. One of the main reasons we haven't switched yet is because there are so many out there we don't know which to choose. Thanks for your reviews on what you've tried.

Maggie said...

Thank you very much for your review of the cloth diapers. I ordered and tried a bumgenius and have started using them exclusively!! I would have had no idea what to try and would probably still be using disposables if it weren't for you. The bumgenius are wonderul and easy to use...and they'll last so long because the size is adjustable. Thanks again!!!!!

Kim said...

Just found your blog and, if I didn't have to go study, I would read it from the beginning! Just wanted to say congratulations on your babies and also let you know that we have been CDing our twins since they came home from the hospital. We are strictly Fuzzi Bunz users (and love the snaps now that the kids are older and like to rip off velcro diapers!). So glad to see another breastfeeding, cloth diapering mother of twins in the blogosphere!