click the photo for detailed notes on what’s what
As you can imagine, my brain is functioning on an entirely new level now that I’m a stay-at-home mama to infant triplets. I’m pretty sure I can only think as far ahead as the next feeding, which flies up on me in the blink of an eye sometimes.
I opened a can of worms when I asked what you wanted to know more about since I’ve done a shitastic job of elaborating on life with our trio. Thankfully, the can of worms has thus far been pleasant. I plan to respond to each question as time allows for what needs to go into it. Today, time allows for the down and dirty on triplets in cloth diapers.
The cloth diaper market has become all the rage lately, with a host of alien terms that can be as daunting as the idea of cleaning poop off of cloth.
Trust me. Neither is difficult to learn.
Along with the range of new lingo is a range of cloth diapers. You can diaper your kid’s butt in plain and simple or have them bopping around in high fashion.
We hover somewhere just above plain and simple.
I decided to cloth diaper our future babY (singlular, folks – we never imagined triplets) long ago when I realized the savings. Sure, the water bill may raise a bit, but those diapers can be used on the next kid (ha!).
I admit to balking and changing my mind for a split second when we learned we were having triplets, but a quick rundown of the math convinced me cloth was the only way to go.
We use your basic prefold diaper, which is the standard flat piece of cloth you picture when you think of old-fashioned diapers. Green Mountain Diapers makes their diapers much nicer than in ye olden days, though, and the diapers are quilted rectangles of poop- and pee-catching magic.
Prefolds are plain cloth, though, and need a cover to keep the ickies inside and away from clothes – both the babies’ and ours. Or our new couch.
Tangent – We’ve had one epic, out-of-the-clothes poop blowout. Guess what was covering the offending tush – not a cloth diaper, a disposable one. (The trio get disposables on doctor visits – more convenient when nurses help change dipes.) Of course, the Incident took place on our two-days-in-our-house love seat. Awesome. Or not.
The babies have worn size one Thirsties Duos since they came home.
A normal diaper change starts like any other. We unfasten the cover and leave it under the baby’s hiney to catch any stray sprinkles and because it’s just easier – covers are reused until they’re soiled (sometimes poop gets out of the diaper, but it always stays in the cover) or the babies get a bath.
Butts get wiped if they need it (we don’t wipe for every diaper change – it just isn’t necessary), and they usually get a blast from my newly repurposed hair dryer (because I don’t have time for that nonsense anymore). A friend passed along the tip she got from her pediatrician. Cloth-diapered hineys are often damp from the lack of moisture-wicking material, so a 10-second blast from the dryer cuts down the risk of diaper rash from always-damp skin.
The diaper is then laid flat under the baby booty, then folded up between the legs and to the waist, where we fasten all diapers with Snappis.
There are plenty of different folds, but with several hands changing diapers each day, we stick with the easy angel-wing fold. It’s a cinch to teach to new helpers, and it’s quick to whip together.
Once the Snappi is in place, the cover gets refastened, the butt gets redressed, the diaper gets discarded, and away we go.
So how do we clean them?
All diapers go directly into our pail liner, which ironically doesn’t line anything. I intended to get a pail, but I never got around to it. I had heard that open-air bags and containers neutralize the smell better than if kept in a closed receptacle, but I never believed it until we started using the liner sans pail. The nursery hardly ever smells, and the only time it does is when the after shocks of a recently-dropped bomb linger in the air.
(That’s code for after one of the babies leaves a massive poop.)
Diapers containing pee only go straight into the bag. Deuced diapers get a spray down from a bottle containing a 50-50 mix of Biokleen Bac Out and water, which kills the nasty smell and is safe for the babies. Then they get dumped in the bag
On laundry day, which comes approximately every day and a half, I dump the bag of diapers (every other load, the bag gets added – otherwise, I hang it on our clothesline to air out while the diapers get washed) in our Maytag Bravos washing machine. It’s a high-efficiency top-load washer, so it uses less water but not too little water like a front-loading HE. When not washing diapers, that’s great, but diaper laundry requires enough water to swish the diapers, so Cycle 1 is a plain, no-detergent rinse and spin. Wetter diapers are heavier diapers, and heavier diapers mean my washer spits out more water.
For Cycle 2, I add half a tablespoon (which is about half a free, in-your-formula-can scoop) of homemade diaper detergent, which I found the recipe for on The Eco-Family Friendly. (The recipe makes enough to fill more than 3/4 a 5-gallon bucket and cost about $20.) This cycle is a warm wash, cold rinse cycle I do on medium soil with no spin.
Cycle 3 gets another half-scoop of detergent for a hot wash, cold rinse on light soil and max spin. After that, the diapers either get hung outside (if there’s time and no pollen in the air) or they tumble in the dryer for a bit.
Then comes the easy part. You know how it’s a pain to put away laundry? With prefold diapers, you stack the diapers and stash them. That’s it. No folding necessary.
Cue the chorus of heavenly angels.
Our water bill has risen some, but it’s no higher than it was last July, when we were watering our lawn.
The real savings comes with the diapers, though. We worked with 40 diapers on a day-and-a-half wash routine for our first two months home. Now, thanks to a friend who dropped off an extra dozen, we have 52 diapers and can stretch laundry to every two days.
For fun with numbers, that first size that lasted us two months cost $72 for the diapers alone. Averaging 180 diapers a week (based on 40 every day and a half-ish), that would have cost us about $44 a week for Pampers Swaddlers. Multiplied by eight weeks, which we all know is actually less time than two months, we would have spent $342 in just our first eight weeks home from the NICU.
THREE-FOUR-TWO. Versus $72.
But you spend money on the covers, you say. Sure, but we have six covers. That’s two covers per butt in our house. The covers cost about $12 each, so throw in another $72, and you still aren’t even at half of what eight weeks of disposable diapers would have cost us. Plus, we’re still using those same covers now that we’re on the next size diapers.
Lucky for us, we have an amazing network of friends and family. Our diapers and covers were all gifts thus far, so we’re paying for the water.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? Let me know if I forgot to cover something – I wrote this entry over several nap times!