There’s only so much you can do to prepare for your second baby, especially if baby number 2’s arrival means having 2 under age 2 in cloth diapers. This will become my reality in just a few short weeks, and I can’t begin to tell you the wide-eyed looks I’ve gotten when people see me at the grocery store with a 30-pound toddler in my arms, sitting on top of my 36-week, basketball-sized bump. “Bless your heart,” a woman said to me in the checkout line. “You’re a brave soul,” she went on to say, to which I just smiled and went about my day.
I can’t say I don’t agree with her to an extent. I know it’s going to be a circus around here when I have a newborn to care for and a toddler to chase around. But as chaotic as it will likely be, I can tell you one thing that isn’t really weighing on my mind: cloth diapering 2 kids. The way I look at it, I already have almost 2 years of cloth diapering experience under my belt, and I figure: I’m already doing diaper laundry; the loads will just be…larger. I suppose that does mean more laundry to fold, which will likely pile up on some days—OK most days—but still, I’m not afraid of more poop.
I’m sure there are and will be a lot of things that come along with having 2 in cloth diapers that I’m not thinking of, but I’m feeling surprisingly good about it all and would love for other parents in the same boat to feel confident that cloth diapering 2 doesn’t have to mean drowning in poo-poo. To help that, I’ve put together this simple guide for preparing to cloth diaper 2 children at once. It’s pretty simplistic, and like I said, there’s only so much I know before I’m thrust into that world, but this is my attempt at preparing for 2 fluff bums.
It’s very doable to round up what you need for 2 children in cloth diapers ahead of time. Of course, the brands and styles you prefer may change once you’re actually in it, living it, which is why I usually suggest a mixed stash. Your diaper preferences will also depend on your day-to-day situation; a stay-at-home mom or dad’s stash may look vastly different from that of two full-time working parents. Keep that in mind and tweak my advice as you see fit.
You’ll need lots of diapers.
- Newborn: You’ll need roughly 20-36 diapers for a newborn, and you’ll go through about 12 diapers per day.
- Toddler: You’ll need roughly 12-24 diapers for a toddler, and you’ll go through about 5-7 diapers per day.
- Tip: If you go with one-size options, you may be able to double-dip and cut down diaper amounts. (See below.)
You’ll want a variety of styles.
- Daytime: As a stay-at-home mom, I prefer prefolds and covers because they’re cost effective and dry fast, but I also know they’re not always the best at holding in runny newborn poops and can become difficult to fold and secure onto a wiggly toddler. With that in mind, I’ve chosen to have newborn and one-size All-in-Ones plus size 1 prefolds and size 1 covers for my newborn.The daytime stash for my toddler is pretty eclectic, including primarily size 2 prefolds, added boosters, and size 2 covers, plus several one-size All-in-Ones, and pocket diapers to rotate in, depending on the time of day. The big perk of having AIOs and one-size diapers/covers is that both kids can share the diapers since you can adjust the front snaps to fit each babe’s size.
- Nighttime: Until my itty bitty baby starts sleeping longer stretches at night or sleeping through the night, I’ll stick with my newborn stash as is, but may throw a wool cover in or a smaller booster once I suspect baby is going in that direction.My go-to night diapers for my toddler are fleece lined covers with up to 3 fleece boosters and fitted diapers with wool covers. Fleece has a stay-dry feel that my son likes, and wool is simply bulletproof when it comes to leaks, in my opinion.
Consider a back-up plan.
- Though I’ve never been a fan of disposable diapers in any form, sometimes it’s just smart to have them as a back-up. If you’re in a pinch, if you fall behind on laundry one day, if you don’t want to deal with cloth and meconium poops in the first few weeks with your newborn, or if you want a super convenient nighttime solution for those sleepless nights, it may be wise to have disposable diapers (and/or liners) around for each child. You never know when you’re going to need or want them, but they’re totally optional.
You’ll need plenty of wipes.
- I prefer cloth wipes, but whether you choose cloth or disposables in this department, I suggest 30 wipes per day for your newborn and 15 wipes per day for your toddler, to be comfortable. You could get away with less, but since wipes are relatively inexpensive, especially if you choose to go the reusable route, I’d rather have too many than not enough.
- Using cloth wipes will also mean you need a wipe solution for them to soak in or to put into a spray bottle. I prefer dry wipes and a spray solution to avoid possible molding issues—I won’t have time to deal with that when we have 2 kids—and because I like to have control over how wet I make my wipes. There are tons of wipe solution recipes out there. Pinterest it.
You’ll need wet bags.
- How many you need is largely based on trial and error, but I plan to have 2 large wet bags and 4 small ones. This may or may not change once I get into a groove.
You’ll want movable changing pads.
- I suggest having 3-4 portable changing pads around the house.
Consider additional accessories.
- Diaper sprayer: So far, I haven’t needed an actual diaper sprayer for my toddler’s poopies because I have a utility sink in the laundry room with a pretty powerful sprayer/nozzle.
- Diaper fasteners: If you’re going the prefold route, you’ll need a couple diaper fasteners—typically Snappis, Boingos, or pins—to secure the diapers.
- Wool dryer balls: These are totally optional, but I find they really help cut down drying time when I use between 4-6 balls.
- Drying rack: Again, totally optional, but a definite nice-to-have for any diapers you don’t throw in the dryer (like woolies).
- Cloth-safe diaper rash creams: Got to have these on hand for any rash flare ups.
- Detergent: This is probably obvious. Just make sure it’s cloth diaper safe.
Set-Up and Organization
This is where it gets tricky. I personally think knowing the best set up for 2 in cloth is highly subjective and will likely evolve with time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t attempt to get your set up right on the first try.
Keep changing stations flexible.
- With two kids, there’s no telling where you’ll be changing your diapers. I have a more formal setup for my newborn in the nursery, including an actual changing pad and cover (though I still add a wipeable cover on top of that for convenience). But as for my toddler, a portable pad is all I need, and I keep one in his room so I can grab it and change him wherever I can catch him. I also plan to have another portable pad on our main floor and of course, in the diaper bag.
Diaper storage can be creative and practical.
- There are so many fun ways to store your cloth diapers these days. I try to keep it simple. In both my kids’ rooms, I store my go-to diapers (covers, prefolds, boosters, etc.) in the drawers right below the changing stations; that way, they’re easily accessible while I’ve got my hands full. I store my “here-and-there” diapers and overnight diapers in an organizer that hangs behind the door.
- In both my kids’ rooms, I also have hooks nearby that work as a drying rack. In the nursery, the hooks are part of a cute little shelf on the wall next to the changing station which is used for hanging covers to dry between changes and keeps them out of the way. Plus, some diapers are worth putting on display.
- I also plan to have some diapers on the main floor, tucked away in a cabinet, keeping in mind that we may not always be in the kids’ rooms when a diaper change is needed.
Keep wipes and accessories close by.
- I don’t get too fancy here. I make sure my wipes, wipe solution, diaper fasteners, and any creams or oils/lotions or within reach. These items are in a small caddy right next to the changing station in the nursery. In my toddler’s room, everything is tucked away—out of his reach but not mine—in a drawer.
Keep options open for storing dirty diapers.
- This is where I find that everyone seems to develop their own preference. Right now, with just a toddler who is no longer exclusively breastfed, I’m usually flipping his poo in the toilet and rinsing in the laundry room sink before storing, which is why I just have a large wetbag for his diapers hanging behind the door in the laundry room. Even if it’s just a pee diaper, I’d rather just store them all together down the hall.
- In the nursery, I have an actual step-trash/pail lined with a wet bag right next to the changing station and near the door (for easy transport). That way, I’ll be able to throw the breastmilk poopie diaps right in the pail until wash day.
- I also have smaller wet bags on the main floor and in the diaper bag for those impromptu changes on the main level. For now, this sounds like the best plan, but who knows if it’ll change once I’m actively diapering my two boys.
- You will need a diaper sprayer of some sort at some point that has decent water pressure for spraying poop diapers once your child starts solids. Whether you prefer the sprayer hooked up to your toilet or if you have a utility sink in your laundry room to use, it’s up to you and what’s more logical considering the setup of your house.
- You may find it more convenient to have a small changing station set up in your bedroom if you plan to room-share for a while. I never found it necessary with my first because the nursery was just a few steps down the hall.
- Keep in mind that my diaper and wipe amounts are based on a plan to wash every other day. The actual amount you need is truly subjective; for example, you will likely need less if you wash every day, or more if you go 2-3 days before washing.
- When you go out and about, I highly recommend packing AIOs for each babe (or disposables if that’s your thing) and a zippered wet bag. How many you need will depend on if it’s a short or long trip. I plan to figure this out as I go. I also pack store-bought wipe solution and cloth wipes for on-the-go; otherwise, a travel pack of disposable wipes works well too. Oh, and don’t forget a portable changing pad!
I think that’s it! Seems doable, right? I sure think so. Just use what I’ve shared as a guide, try to come up with your supplies list, and organize your set up with your lifestyle in mind. As I’ve said multiple times now: you can only do so much to truly prepare for cloth diapering 2 children at once. All you can do is make your best, educated guess and tweak it once you settle into the life of 2 in cloth!
If you loved this article don’t forget to pin it and have it handy to look back on.