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Monday, March 24, 2014

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Surviving Two in Diapers

When my fourth child was born, putting her in cloth diapers was a no-brainer.  After all, her big brother was already using them, and I couldn’t imagine having two completely different diaper set-ups for the two of them.  Her very first diaper wasn’t a cloth diaper—I’d planned to use disposables in the hospital, then changed my mind when they rubbed her skin raw—but it never occurred to me to put her in even a single disposable after she came home.  Once you’re already dealing with one, it’s a lot easier to just add another one in, right?

Don’t skip laundry day.  I have an excessive number of diapers for two children.  I started out with a generous stash for one, assuming that I’d add “just a few” when he got the little sibling that we always planned on adding within a couple of years…and then my best friend passed her girly stash on to me…and then I discovered that what worked on our older babies didn’t work so well for my itty bitty heavy wetter, so I bought some that worked better for her.  I could afford to go an extra day in between washes. 

Except that when you have two in diapers at the same time, an extra day in between can be an extra 10, 12, or 14 diapers—or more, when one is a heavy wetting, frequent-pooping newborn.  I thought I was losing my mind; that my new-ish washer was self-destructing; even that there was something badly wrong with my newborn’s poop.  She was exclusively breastfed!  Breastfed poop was supposed to dissolve, right?!

Then I realized that the diapers that weren’t coming clean were inevitably the ones that had been grabbed last…so they were at the top of the washer.  It was the same load size I’d been running for a year and a half, but it was no longer sufficient for all of the diapers.  As long as I washed every other day (or separated the loads out), my diapers actually came clean again. 

In conjunction with that, Don’t get lazy.  I’m a self-confessed fluff addict (which might be how I ended up with enough diapers for three times the children I actually have wearing them).  I enjoy stuffing pockets.  However, when faced with the never-ending mountain of diapers that needed stuffing, I felt a little bit queasy, especially if I’d put it off for more than a couple of wash days.  It’s a lot easier to keep on top of stuffing and putting away than it is to have to sit and stuff a hundred diapers in one sitting because you’ve got company coming and there’s a mountain of diapers on the couch.

Trust me on this one.

Along those lines, Look into all-in-ones or prefolds and covers.  Pocket diapers are great.  When I had one in diapers, they made up the majority of our stash.  However, they require that extra step worth of effort every time your baby uses one—and if your household is like my household, you may be the only one who can actually stuff the diapers.  This is a source of stress that you don’t need.  Find a solution that doesn’t require pre-stuffing in order to use, so that if you ignore my recommendation to stuff a load at a time and run out of diapers completely, you have something that you can reach and grab in an emergency.  My personal favorite?  BumGenius Freetimes and Flips.  Both of them work for either of my babies with just a quick snap change.  They’re also easier to pack in diaper bags:  you can use the same diaper for either baby, so you don’t need to haul along quite as many. 

Snap diapers that belong to both children for the younger one.  This one assumes that your older child is on the top rise setting.  It’s a lot easier to pop the snaps open in a hurry than it is to snap them in a hurry.  Just make sure that Dad and other caregivers know that you do this and how to correct it—you don’t want the newborn-adjusted diaper to go on the toddler as-is. 

If they manage to make it fit, it leaks.  If they don’t…well, you can imagine.

If, however, both children require a lower rise that just happens to be different, go ahead and adjust for the one who wiggles the most during diaper changes—or the one that hates them the most. Use the system that works best for you. 

Having two little ones at the same time is quite a challenge—but it’s also a lot of fun.  You get to watch them love on each other, grow together, and be each other’s best friend—and there are lots and lots of opportunities for cute fluff pictures!

By Emily

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