How many diapers will you need to cover two bums from birth to potty training?
If you are using disposables then a conservative answer is 10,000 diapers!
It may turn your stomach to envision a pile of diapers as tall as your house sitting in a landfill for hundreds of years.
Or perhaps, as you crunch the numbers, dollar signs are popping out of your eyes like a cartoon character.
Some of you may have been to the pool and seen absorbent plastic exploding out of a disposable like jelly and wondered what on earth you were strapping onto your little one.
Whether your concerns about disposable diapers are cost, safety, the environment, or something in the middle of the road, you are considering cloth diapering your twins.
But isn’t that going to be too much work? How does it work and where do I begin? If the idea of cloth diapers conjures up images of rubber pants and stooping over to churn a bucket of wet rags, think again.
There are tons of new options on the market and these are not your mother’s cloth diapers.
First, you need to understand some cloth diapering terminology, so here is the 101 on cloth diapering twins:
Cloth Diapering Twin Options & Terminology Explained
If you’re new to cloth diapering, then it’s likely that you will discover terms and jargon that may confuse not just you, but any beginner!
Below is everything you need to know so you can successfully decipher the lingo and break through the noise.
Ok, so these ARE the closest thing to your mother’s diapers (or more likely your grandmother’s diapers).
These are just fabric squares without any absorbent layer. They need to be folded and secured with pins or Snappis and used with a diaper cover.
Some folks use good, old-fashioned flour sack towels.
Like flats, pre-folds are a fabric square but with an absorbent layer in the middle.
They also need to be folded, secured with pins or Snappis, and used with a diaper cover.
Some parents fold them into thirds and use them as liners in pocket diapers.
Pre-folds and flats are easiest on the wallet of all the cloth diaper options and can also function as burp cloths and changing table liners-more bang for your buck!
So if saving money is your main incentive-grab the cat and start practicing your newspaper fold before those babies come along.
You will still need a waterproof diaper cover, but fitted cloth diapers usually have snaps, Velcro, or elastic so there is no folding, no pins, no Snappis.
These go over prefolds, flats, or fitteds to provide leak protection.
The nice thing about a two-piece system is you can choose what materials you want to use on your baby.
For the inside, you have options like bleached or unbleached cotton, organic or not, bamboo, hemp, among a few others.
For the waterproof shell, you can use wool, fleece, or PUL (polyurethane laminate).
Stuffing diapers is the name of the game with pocket diapers-but it really isn’t too much work.
These are a waterproof outer diaper with a pocket into which you stuff an absorbent insert (there are cotton, microfiber, and bamboo options).
You can adjust absorbency by adding multiple inserts or folding them in different ways.
The “soaker,” or absorbent insert, usually sits behind a more breathable fabric to help keep baby’s bum easy breezy.
Once soiled, both the outer diaper and the liner need to be washed making them a sort of intermediate between a two part system and an all in one system.
Pocket diapers are also intermediate between a two-part system and an all-in-one system in terms of price.
What is more, since the liner is removed before washing, most people find they get cleaner and dry faster than all-in-ones.
All-in-two Diapers (AI2)
All-in-two diapers have an outer diaper and a snap in insert that is flush with baby’s bottom.
These vary from pockets because the absorbent insert can be removed and the outside diaper reused two or three times with the exception of blowouts or other serious infractions.
Hybrid diapers are all-in-two diapers that give you the option of using either cloth or disposable inserts.
While the washable outside shell can be used multiple times, a disposable insert can be removed and tossed.
You may like the versatility of these diapers for using on the road. No more toting home a bag of smelly, wet inserts!
All in One Diapers (AIO)
AIOs are, well, all-in-one.
There is no folding, snapping, or stuffing required- just put it on and take it off!
It is just like a disposable in this way but instead of tossing them into a diaper genie to be cocooned in even more plastic, it gets tossed into a laundry hamper.
All-in-one cloth diapers are a bit slower to dry and the most expensive option but they are the easiest to use.
Even if you don’t mind a little extra work, a few AIOs in your nappy stash is a good idea for when less enthusiastic helpers pay a visit, or if your twin bums will be clothed at a daycare.
Most likely, you are already familiar with these.
These are your one use dipeys like Huggies or Pampers.
They are made with layers of paper and plastic fibers and stuffed with sodium polyacrylate-an absorbent plastic a.k.a. the jelly you witnessed at the pool.
There are some more health and eco-conscious brands available, such as Seventh Generation, if you will be using disposable diapers for travel, daycare, or overnight.
You do not want to get up and change diapers times two in the night unless absolutely necessary.
For this reason, some cloth diapers are marketed as overnight diapers.
They are extra absorbent so they last longer between changes. You can also just layer in an extra insert to your diaper to boost soaking power!
Cloth Swim Diapers:
Even in the disposables crowd, these diapers are growing in popularity.
There are disposable swim diapers available, but these all-in-one swimsuit-like cloth diapers are easy to use and all baby needs on the bottom to go swimming.
The cute nautical patterns are a definite plus!
Most cloth diapers come in just one size, and they can be adjusted from newborn to toddler with a series of snaps.
That said, newborn twins tend to run on the smaller side and may not fit into these yet.
Truth be told, most twin parents who “cloth” use disposables for the first month.
Ease into double-duty without adding extra laundry into the mix.
You especially don’t want to worry about running home with laundry if one or both babes are in the NICU.
If you are insistent on using cloth from day one however, there are very small pre-folds available with newborn diaper covers.
Other styles will be too big or too expensive to be worth the short while your baby will wear them.
The Lowdown On Cloth Diapering Twins
Ok, now that you are fluent in cloth diapering language, you need to know how they work.
The only difference in the amount of work between cloth and disposables is the amount of laundry.
How often you have to do laundry depends on how many diapers you have, but you really don’t want a smelly bag of soiled diapers sitting more than two days anyways.
For this reason, it really isn’t much more work to cloth diaper twins than singletons *ducks to avoid getting hit with dirty diapers by tired twin moms*.
With disposables, you will be carting bag upon bag of diaper trash to the curb, and shelling out money on a weekly basis for something you will literally throw away.
Since twins share diapers and you will be washing frequently, you don’t need twice the diapers of one baby.
Take good care of your diapers and you can use them on future kiddos or pass on the savings to a niece or nephew too! Like anything with twins, do what works best for you and you alone.
Just consider that cloth diapering your twins may not be as crazy as it sounds.
Your decision to cloth diapers doesn’t need to be all or nothing either. Cloth diaper during the day and use disposables when traveling or at night if that works best for your family!
The Supplies Needed to Cloth Diaper Twins
Here is what you need to buy in order to start cloth diapering twins:
-Minimum 36 diapers* (plus inserts if that is your style). If going with a two-part system, make sure you have diaper covers and Snappis.
-2 reusable pail liners like Teamoy.
–Trash can with lid (Hefty 13 Gallon Touch Lid works great) to keep odors in. Line with your reusable pail liners. One lines the pail while the other is in the wash.
-Minimum 45 cloth wipes, such as OsoCozy Unbleached Flannel Baby Wipes. Money saving tip: You can also buy a yard of flannel and cut it into squares-sew around the edges to prevent fraying if you are really crafty!
-Washing machine and dryer or drying rack
–Tide Original Powder or EcoSprout Detergent
–Optional: Bumkins Flushable, Biodegradable Diaper Liner
–Optional: Bumkins Cloth Diaper Sprayer
How to Wash and Clean (Even the Foulest) Cloth Diapers
Here are some general guidelines for washing cloth diapers, but always check the instructions for your particular brand as they may vary.
Gather Your Supplies
Diapers and Wipes
When you first get your diapers and wipes you will want to pre-wash them, and some brands recommend boiling the inserts to increase absorption. If these are your diapers, definitely do that well before your due date! Newborn twins are no help when it comes to household chores.
Now you have your cloth diapers and wipes ready to go. Fill that spray bottle with water and keep it by your changing station to wet the wipes. Change out the water daily to keep it fresh
. There are special sprays available for cloth wipes and yet some of the most expensive disposable wipes on the market are those claiming to be 99.9% water. Mull that one over!
For the occasional sticky-poo that won’t budge with water alone, a couple of drops of coconut oil (any oil really) work fine.
Start filling your pail liner with dirty diapers and wipes-boy that fills up fast! Note: take the inserts out of diapers before you toss them in the laundry. After one to two days, take the whole bag and empty it into the washing machine.
First, you need to do a pre-rinse cycle with cold water-whatever that means for your particular machine.
Next comes the wash. Do a “heavy duty” or “power wash” with hot water and Tide Original Powder filled to line 1 on scoop (Or EcoSprout if that is your preference).
Finally, you will do an extra rinse with cold water to be sure that there is no detergent left that can irritate those four little bum cheeks.
Depending on your preference, the instructions for your diapers, and how much time you have you can then either hang dry or machine dry your diapers on medium for a normal cycle with dryer balls (do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets).
Don’t worry: we didn’t forget about the sprayer and diaper liners! These items will come into play down the road.
For the first 6 months, you will be feeding two mouths with only breast milk or formula. The aftermath of this diet should come off your diapers fine using the washing method described above.
Fun fact: breast milk stains, should they occur from leaving diapers too long before washing, can be “sunned out.” Simply wet the diaper, leave in the sun to dry, and voila! Stain disappears.
Enter solid food and you have a horse of a different color.
These baby poops will not be going in the laundry. Our favorite methods to remove them are by 1) laying a biodegradable, flushable liner in the diaper and simply disposing of the whole thing or 2) attaching a sprayer to the toilet and spraying the solids into the bowl.
Either way, no swishing or soaking required-promise!!
The Cost of Cloth Diapering Twins
Before you run off to start building your cloth diaper stash, you might be curious how much they will cost.
Your investment really depends on the type of cloth diaper you choose, but from diaper covers and pre-folds to AIOs the range for twins is probably $200 to $700 upfront.
Extra utility costs depend on your machine and energy source but most cloth diapering parents find that either the total cost or environmental impact is less than with disposables.
It really boils down to personal preference, so choose what works for you and stick to your guns!
If you use a diaper service your cost will definitely be greater, so if you are in cloth diapering for the savings then you really need to have a washing machine for it to be worth it.
If money isn’t your biggest motivator then by all means…let someone else do the dirty work!
Now that you have read about the types of cloth diapers available, how to wash your diapers and wipes, and what sort of start-up you need, hopefully, you are feeling confident in your decision to cloth diaper your twins.
Head over to our article “Best Cloth Diapers For Twins” for advice on which brands will be best suited to suit up your twins!