Twin Adventures

Twin girls now rule the house.

Cloth Diapers

After 10 months, I cannot believe that I’ve never written a post about diapering! I think I’ve mentioned once or twice that we cloth diaper, but as it was one of the first things we decided on I really thought it would have been one of the first posts I’d make. Probably a little better off this way, as I’ve got more to write about now than I would’ve had before. And before I get started, I’d like to make it known that we don’t do attachment parenting and we don’t think we’re better than other people because we use cloth diapers. (Well… maybe a little bit!)

In Canada alone, 1.7 billion disposable diapers are used every year. One baby uses approximately 3000 diapers a year; in our case we can double that to about 6000. Our cost for disposable diapers would turn out to be $1600 a year, using the store-brand from our grocery store. About 250,000 tonnes of disposable diapers are sent to landfills in Canada. The cloth vs. disposable debate could go on FOREVER and there are pros and cons to both sides. Our biggest deciding factors were the cost and the amount of disposable diapers sitting in landfills.

Okay, enough facts being shoved down your throat!

Anton and I made the decision to cloth diaper pretty early on. I don’t think the girls were even the size of baseballs before we had decided! Not only would it be another challenge that we’d be able to overcome (because we’re so awesome), we’d also be doing our part for the environment, and it’d be quite cost effective. For our first ten months of cloth diapering, it cost us under $550. For the foreseeable future (until the girls are potty trained) it should only cost us another $200. So, for a total of $750, our girls will be diapered. And that’s not including the small amount of money we’ll get back when we sell our used diapers.

 

 

 

 

We ended up going with Prefolds and Covers. This combo seemed to be the easiest for us. You’ve got a piece of cloth that has an extra absorbent middle sewn in and you fold it into thirds and just place that into a cover. Easy. You can reuse the cover a few times as long as all the mess stays on the prefold. No safety pins needed to hold the cloth together. The covers come with velcro, so they are super easy to put on and take off. There are a ton of different diaper assortments to choose from, so this particular combo may not be right for you.

Because it’s easier for us, we use disposables during the night and when we travel. I don’t want leaks to be the only thing waking my girls up from their sometimes-eight-hour-sleeps. And, I don’t want to be carrying around enough cloth diapering supplies for both girls… not to mention a wet bag filled with all the used diapers. We always have some disposables on hand, just in case we’re feeling lazy or haven’t done laundry. Lately, the girls seem to be between cover sizes so we haven’t been using cloth as much as we’d like. All in all, we end up using cloth about eighty percent of the time.

We bought all of our cloth diapering supplies a month or two before the girls were born (even though we had everything priced out and decided welllll before that!) and were excited for when we’d be able to use everything. We decided to skip the “newborn” size and get the “small” size. Unfortunately, our girls only weighed five and a half pounds and were nowhere near big enough to fit into them. After a few weeks I managed to find some used newborn size. So we really started our cloth diapering journey when the girls were a few weeks old. We recently had to upgrade our diaper size. The girls were soaking the prefolds with one pee, so we needed to next size of absorbancy. We thought we would get away with using the old covers, but the new prefolds did not fit very well and were usually poking out of the back. This time around we went with a slightly different style of cover. This new style is meant to be slimmer and easier for mobile babies to move around in. Buuuuutttt… the cover is a bit too big.

This isn’t a cloth diapering tutorial, so I didn’t really get into all the different kinds of diapering choices. Bummis is a great brand that offers a lot of resources on their website. I’d recommend checking it out if you’re interested in getting started with cloth. We really enjoy cloth diapering and it’s not more or less difficult than doing disosables. Poop goes in the toliet, diapers (prefolds and covers) go into the wash. With twins, it’s one extra load of laundry every day or two. For us, it’s definitely worth the extra bit of washing and folding.

A special thanks to Look around you now! for the inspiration for this post.

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Expectations and Reality

If I could give one piece of advice to soon-to-be-parents-of-twins, it would be… Don’t set your expectations too high! Anton and I are realistic people and we knew right from when we found out I was pregnant that nothing we decided on was set in stone. I watched my mom go through raising six of her own kids, plus all the “extras” and I knew that kids are unpredictable. Because of this (thank you Mommy!) I knew not to get my hopes set on doing things a certain way. Of course knowing this, I still wanted some things to go my way. These were my kids, and I was gonna do things the way I wanted to! Well, and the way Anton wanted to of course!

Looking back on the last almost-seven months, I know that there have been some things that we said we weren’t going to do and some things we wanted to do, but never did. And there were certainly things we set out to do, and did!

The Things We Weren’t Going To Do…

Co-Sleeping: I’m a heavy sleeper, so I was fairly dead-set against co-sleeping. I know a lot of people do it, but I’ve slept through earthquakes, so I wasn’t about to risk rolling onto a baby and waking up in time to notice. And I certainly wasn’t willing to give up my comfy pillows and duvet to make it safe for them! But we did. For the first couple of weeks after we got home, our precious angels would not sleep anywhere but on mommy’s chest. After a few sleepless nights, we gave in. I felt it was mandatory that I was barricaded by pillows and that I slept semi-upright so I never got too comfortable and it was easier for the babies to stay on chest rather than fall to the sides. Poor Anton, because of all the pillows he had the smallest sliver of bed to sleep on. After awhile the girls got used to sleeping in their play yard beside our bed and eventually, in their own cribs in their own room. However, the co-sleeping did not end there. Since then, when the girls have a bad night we bring them in our bed so we can all get some sleep. They no longer sleep on my chest. They sleep between Anton and I. We haven’t gotten rid of our pillows and blankets. I have yet to roll on top of one of them, and I wake up at the slightest sound.

Feed them Solids before six months: We cheated a bit. We fed them at four months. Some experts disagree on this point, but the girls showed interest and most of the signs that you’re supposed to watch for. So, we gave it a go. No expectations on how well they were going to do, but they seemed to enjoy it. At our six-month checkup, Dr. Morum wasn’t terribly impressed. He didn’t seem pissed off, but he was surprised. “No no, you’re not supposed to do that until they’re six months!” Didn’t have much else to say on the matter though…

The Things We Never Did…

Breastfeeding: Before you go any further… they do drink breast milk. I pump and we feed it to them in a bottle. Before they were born, I was totally ready to breastfeed. We even went through the motions of using dolls to figure out how to dual-breastfeed. But it never happened. I think a lot of other people would have been more disappointed, but this was one of the things I knew was a possibility, and I was mentally prepared to face it. The girls didn’t latch and I wasn’t producing. But that’s another story. I know I could easily start them breastfeeding now, if we worked at it a bit, but since I haven’t been doing it for six months, it seems odd to start now.

Travelling: Now, when I say travelling I mean long-distance road trips. Anton and I have done a few road trips to California, because I have family down there (shout out!) and it was important to me that they meet the newest members. We figured when they were still pretty young, maybe two-three months we would go for a road trip. I would smack someone if they told me they were planning on doing that with twins. The longest trip we did when they were that little was to Abbotsford, and that was mentally exhausting.

The Things We Did Do…

Cloth Diapering: We didn’t do cloth right from the beginning because the diapers we had purchased were too big for our tiny babies. But, I did find some second-hand newborn size when they were about a month old and we used those as soon as we got them. We use disposables at night and when we travel, but we’ve always planned out. I’m amazed at how well our cloth diapering plans have worked out.

50/50 Formula and Breast milk: Even with the slight hurdles surrounding my breast milk, we manage to give Shula and Maretta almost exactly 50 percent of each. And we bottle feed everything so Daddy gets to be a part of all meal times. This was not a requirement from Anton, but an “it would be nice”.

Do Things Simply: One of our biggest “wants” right from the beginning was to have a simplistic view on raising the babies. Not too much stuff, and simple stuff. We have simple cribs, and a simple stroller/car seat combo. We have simple high chairs and simple bouncy chairs. We don’t have an excessive amount of toys or clothes. We don’t have a swing for each of the girls, or an activity centre for each one of them. I am always getting rid of stuff that no longer fits or works for us before we get something new.

The moral of my story? One baby or two, first time or experienced parents… try not to set yourself up for disappointment. Sure, have ideas of what you want and how you want to do things but don’t let it bother you too much when it doesn’t work out that way. And be pleasantly surprised when it does work out!

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