Affording Cloth Diapers for Twins

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The Rebecca Foundation helps low-income families get started with cloth diapering, eliminating the expense of the initial investment.

I found out at about 6 weeks that my unexpected pregnancy was growing our family by two instead of one. The radiologist said she wanted to show me something and turned the screen so I could see. Two separate sacs, two little beating hearts.

The first thought I had after “Oh My God” was “How are we going to afford them?”. We were already struggling to make ends meet, and the overwhelming thought of “two of everything” kept me up at night.

We already cloth diapered our next youngest, so it was a natural to cloth diaper the twins as well. I already knew how, and it was already a part of our routine. We chose cloth to save money, but that first time around, we had the money to buy a small stash before our youngest was born. We weren’t so lucky this time, and that small stash was not going to be enough.

Cloth was a great option for us. We had a good washing machine and we already knew I’d be home with the kids, so there would be no daycare rules to fight.

I’ll admit the first day I looked into cloth diapering, I wasn’t sure. The information overload, some of it contradictory, was a little much. I found a forum and started asking questions. Getting direct answers instead of a generic information sheet really helped and soon I was convincing my husband. I touted the cost savings, as little as $300 for a lifetime of cloth – though I did spend twice that on our son. I bought a few prefolds and a cover and showed my husband how simple it was. I promised to take on the washing.

With the news of the twins, one of my husband’s first reactions was “we will need more diapers,” and he was right. I had only bought a handful of infant sized diapers, and our son was (and is) still very much using his all-in-one size. The twins would be small, so I knew infant sizes were going to be required. But we didn’t have it in the budget. We didn’t have the budget for anything. I knew our family would come through for cribs, bottles, and clothes, but no one supported the cloth diapering.

Then a family friend sent me a link on Facebook: The Rebecca Foundation Cloth Diaper Closet.  This non-profit provides loaner diapers to lower income families, helping them spread out the cost of buying. They eliminate the need to buy two stashes by taking care of that infant stage, and they are a great support for those families just starting in cloth.

We were on WIC, the US government program that assists with food costs for low-income women and children. I thought we might qualify for the Rebecca Foundation’s offerings. I learned that WIC did, in fact, qualify us, as did being an enlisted military family. The outpouring of caring from the lady on the other end of the phone helped my fears. We were getting help. We could figure this out. We could afford the twins. I bawled on the phone with her, I was so relieved.

For us, cloth diapers and The Rebecca Foundation were a life-saver. Even without family support, cloth works for us. It saves us money, there is no running out at 2 am because I suddenly realize we’re out of diapers. I don’t deal with diaper rash constantly. Using cloth, like any aspect of parenting, is a personal decision, but with charities like The Rebecca Foundation, the cost of the initial investment doesn’t have get in the way of cloth diapering.

Jennifer is a stay at home mom of three singletons, with her first set of twins due in September. She is the proud wife of an Army soldier, homeschools her 4 year old, and loves to read, write, and play video games in her down time.

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From the Archives: Cloth or Disposable Diapers for Twins?

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Whether you decide to use cloth diapers (nappies) or disposable diapers, both can be very expensive, if you let them. Cloth diapers generally have a larger up-front cost as you buy the diapers themselves, pay for the laundering supplies, and other diapering needs. Disposable diapers are an ongoing expense. Depending on the brand, the size, when you buy them, and from where, could be costing you an arm and a leg.

Here are some resources on cloth and disposable diapering from the How Do You Do It? community.

cloth or disposable diapers for twinsCloth Diapers

Cloth diapers offer great savings over disposable ones. Several of The Moms have made cloth diapering work for them, even with multiples!

Disposable

It’s not practical for all families to cloth diaper. Many childcare providers require disposable diapers, for instance. Other families simply need the simplicity of chucking diapers in the trash once they’ve been used.

How do you cut diaper costs?

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Cloth Diapering and Multiples

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A few months ago I decided to jump into the world of cloth diapering.

(Okay, okay. I will admit that it wasn’t so much of a jump as it was just sticking my big toe in the water to test the temperature and see if it was agreeable to swimming.)

I have been contemplating using cloth diapers since before the triplets were born, but every time I would research them, I would become so doverwhelmed by the abundance of information available that I would freeze up and inevitably chicken out, never ordering a thing. However, after the most recent price hike in diapers and the endless bags of diapers I kept hauling to the curb week after week, I finally got tired of literally throwing money away.  So I took the plunge and placed my first order.  I tend to be an all or nothing type of person, so what I really wanted to do was to buy an entire stash (and all of the accessories) for each baby.  What I did instead, based on the advice of a friend, was visit Simple Wonders and order just a sampling of diapers for each baby instead.  (Part of the draw to that web store in particular was that they offer a multiple discount!)

I had no idea which direction I wanted to go with cloth diapering, but I knew that I wanted the transition to be easy.  Scratch that.  I needed it to be easy, otherwise I knew it would never stick.  There are a wide variety of options available, ranging from diapers that work just like a disposable with everything included in one easy package to a partially disposable diaper to the old-school cloth diapers that you have to fold and fasten with pins (although now it is more common to use a Snappi than a pin).  Prefolds, fitteds, covers, pockets, all-in-ones, one-size, etc…I know, the lingo freaked me out at first too.  But I promise it isn’t nearly as hard to learn about as it seems.  There are a daunting number of sites dedicated to explaining the basics of cloth diapering and how to care for them, two of which I found helpful were Diaper Pin and Pinstripes and Polka Dots.  And if you want a review of products, you can go visit Z-Recs (yes, the BPA people) and read their article on cloth diapers.

I ended up purchasing starter package for each baby that included 3 different brands of one-size diapers: 1 bumGenius 3.0, 1 Wahmie & 1 Happy Heiny.  They are all pocket diapers that you stuff with an insert (to adsorb the wetness) and have adjustable snaps so that they can grow with your child.  The goal being to buy one stash of  diapers that can be used from birth until potty training.  I can honestly say that I like all 3 quite a bit.  Though the bumGenius 3.0 and Happy Heinys are a bit bulkier than the Whamie, which uses a hemp insert; the Whamie’s closure is a bit trickier to get use to than the loop and hook (velcro) the other two use.  All 3 are super-absorbent and we have yet to experience a leak with any of them.  They fit snugly and are so, so soft…and I have to admit that the babies’ fluffy butts are really adorable.

Ultimately what has worked for us so far is to do a combination of cloth and disposable diapers, easing slowly into the transition.  I am not sure if we will ever be able to make the full jump into using only cloth diapers, but for now I am happy to be using cloth for at least 1/2 of our diaper changes each day.  I try to use them whenever we are going to be home, but we still use disposables at night and when we are out.  Trying to figure out what to do with 3 wet and/or dirty diapers while out is a bit overwhelming just yet.  My system for clean-up is fairly simple; as soon as I change a diaper I just drop the solid poop into the toilet (I am hoping to purchase a sprayer, that hooks onto your toilet, very soon that will make that part a bit easier!), pull out the insert and toss it all into the wash machine until the end of the day when I run one load of diapers.

I am quite fond of them so far and they really are so easy and simple to use that I wish I would have started from the beginning (can you imagine how much money I would have saved in the early days when we went through 30 or so diapers a day?!?!).  My husband isn’t quite as convinced…yet.  But, I am hoping to be able to persuade him that they really are just as easy as disposables, and so much cheaper!

If you would like to try cloth diapering, but have no idea where to begin, I highly recommned trying the Changing Diapers, Changing Minds program over at Jillian’s Drawers.  Essentially, you are able to try a very wide varitey of diapers for the cost of $10.

And this post has (by pure chance) coincided quite nicely with Baby Cheapskate’s Cloth Diapering Week.  You can check it out here!

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