From the Blog

Let’s Talk About Baby Shit

No really. Not baby “stuff,” as I have already briefly discussed. I mean poo poo. When I was a kid, we called it caca. Or cuckies. I don’t hear that quite as much these days, or I don’t hear that term quite as often on the west coast. But of course, it’s been ten or fifteen years since I stopped shitting my own pants, and well, times change.

But seriously: Baby shit. I hadn’t thought about it all that much. I know about diapers. I know there are such things as disposable diapers, and there is such a thing as cloth diapers. I knew those things existed, and that was the sum of my expertise. When we decided to start a family, I figured I would someday get better acquainted with baby crap, and the whole matter dropped from my mind.

Now with the twins less than three months away, I am coming to understand that dealing with baby shit is going to be a whole big thing. I’m going to have to get off my ass and really think about this stuff. We’re going to have to develop strategies, philosophies, coping mechanisms, disposal protocols, evacuation schematics, aroma containment, and indeed, after all is said and done, we may need to deal with olfactory PTSD and submit ourselves to aroma therapy. I never quizzed Dave about his thoughts on potpourri, but I now realize we should have thought about all this months ago.

So with twins, I was just thinking we would probably do disposables, though it made my inner greeny hippy environmentalist self die a little. I just couldn’t imagine doing cloth diapers for two. TWO. Two little poopy butts.

Let’s do some math. I’ve never had a baby, so I have to believe experts and others when they tell me we will be changing each kid 10 to 12 times a day. Let’s make it 10 times a day, for the sake of being conservative, and because it’s easier to do math with 10. So, 10 diapers for each kid = 20 diapers a day. That’s 140 diapers a week. This to me, almost doesn’t sound like it’s enough.

Okay. So we moved into a duplex in Portland, and for us, our garbage service is every other week. So by the time the garbage is picked up, it would be 280 dirty diapers, in addition to whatever other household trash we create (which is not much). But still. 280 diapers is a LOT OF BABY SHIT. And pee. Those garbage bins are going to be heavy and stinky.

I don’t feel good about 280 dirty disposable diapers every two weeks. So maybe, let’s think about cloth diapers for a second.

I know nothing about cloth diapers. I guess you wrap the kid in a cloth diaper, then there are diaper covers, and you change them frequently, and you cross your fingers and pray to the unicorns that you don’t create a national emergency or superfund site in your house. Sometimes there are disposable liners, so that when the kids crap themselves, you can just zip off the disposable liners and flush it down the toilet. Okay. Not too bad. I guess. I mean, it sounds fucking awful, but these are the decisions we made, and so we have to live with scraping poo. Let’s just get through this.

So then, you wash the dirty diapers, right? They are going to be soaked with pee, and probably have some poo nuggets in there too. From the little I’ve read, you pre rinse the diapers in the washing machine first. Then you wash them. Then you do another rinse, which I assume is the same as the regular washing cycle. But maybe not. This is poo we are dealing with here, so I don’t know if there are special magical poo rinses we have to do.

Some folks say that your laundry room may eventually smell like pee and ammonia. If that’s the case, you need to do more rinsing. Because basically, you are baking the pee smell into the diapers in the dryer. Awesome.

Again, we are living in a duplex, and we are paying for our own water. City water in Portland is expensive. It seems like it should be free, practically, but there are big pipe projects going on in Portland and the rate payers are financing them. So our water bills are more expensive in Portland than they are in Los Angeles or Las Vegas.

So if we are washing our own diapers, and really putting them through two or three cycles, our water bill may end up being as expensive as a new car.

Okay? If I could, I would go back to being blissfully unaware of all this baby crap. But no, we had to go and procreate, and now we have to be responsible adults and deal with our spawns’ functions. I’m still just a bit skeeved by the idea of poo in the washing machine. It’s poo. In the washing machine. Is it just me, or is that fucking disgusting?

Dave brought up the idea of a diaper service. This is something else I know nothing about. Someone delivers cloth diapers, your family soils the hell out of them, you throw them in a bin, and the service comes and takes them away and gives you fresh ones. This doesn’t sound all that bad. We might do this. It feels more responsible environmentally. We may do disposables overnight. We may do this. But, oh, the research, and the reading, and the internet forums, and the raging parents, and the passionate advice from every possible perspective. I hear babies are more prone to rashes when you use cloth diapers, which sounds awesome.

No one just tells you how to do this. You have to figure it all out. You have to figure out what works for you. Isn’t that the most wishy washy, non-committal, namby pamby bullshit advice you’ve ever heard? It’s complete, utter bullshit.

We can send people to the moon, but we haven’t figured out baby crap.


  1. I went disposable for Pea and make no apologies for it. I was working, poo is gross, and it saved my sanity. Boom. I’m green in many other ways so…sanity won. My mother had four kids (of which I am eldest) and I grew up with diaper service and diaper pails around. They’re kind of nasty, but they probably have evolved a little in 30 years. (I should point out that by kid 4, she decided to go disposable.)

  2. Meredith says

    At about 2 1/2 weeks old, we’re averaging about 9-10 diapers a day. Also, look into how breastfed babies poop differs from formula fed. Elli’s are kind of stinky so far on just breast milk, looks like mashed up pumpkin in her diaper. So not too bad yet. Rebecca did cloth diapers, maybe email her and see what she thought of the whole process.

  3. “Poo nuggets.”

  4. Yes. Diapering is a Big Stinking Decision. I used solely disposable with all three kids because I raised most of my babies in the Dark Ages, and in a part of the country where *no one* used cloth diapers. That being said, if I started over today, I’d likely give serious thought to the Bum Genius line, as they are by far the cutest reusables I’ve ever seen, and I’ve heard lots of good things about them.

  5. Mary Sue says

    My friend has a 3 week old kid and a 12 month and 2 day old kid, and she swears up and down and sideways by gDiapers.

  6. Diaper services is awesome.

  7. Here is my 2 cents- They make AWESOME cloth diapers these days… I have many friends who rave about G Diapers, which they claim make cloth diapering super easy. Also, newborns may pee and poo 10 times a day, but it typically isn’t very much soiling (at least in my experience). Easily rinsed out ( I just did it in the sink, hung them to dry, and then at the end of the day threw them in the wash. Other times I handwashed them completely in the sink- It wasn’t all messy or difficult when they were newborns, but once they start eating solids, well.. let’s just say it made things more exciting!).
    Most people I know do use disposables at night, because the cloths just do not hold up overnight. I think 7th Generation makes a biodegradable diaper, made from recycled materials. Thats what my ‘green’ friends use on their baby butts overnight.
    Of course, none of us had twins, so I cringe to claim how ‘easy’ cloth diapering was to someone expecting two! But no worries… You aren’t committed for eternity to whatever choice you make… if it doesn’t work, then go the other route. No harm done. Part of the fun of parenting is figuring out this shit (ha! pun!) as you go along :)

    • Thanks, Sarah. We will probably do cloth during the day and disposables overnight. If we do the diaper service, we won’t need to do any rinsing or washing. But I will be curious how the diaper pail will look after a week of twins’ stinky diapers.

  8. Lesley Anctil says

    We used cloth for about a month…. If you are going to do it sans diaper service, talk to Brent, he had a masterful system down. It’s true that newborn poop (after the first couple days of crazy tarry stuff) is not bad at all. It’s watery and smells like frosting. We have a sprayer on the side of our toilet and everything. It wasn’t so much the work or the nastiness that made us stop, but when we did a couple days with disposables, Aaron seemed to cry a lot less. My suggestion is to try them out…try the disposables too, see what your baby is happier with. We have a lot of cloth diapers and covers you can have if you want to give it a whirl. It’s kind of fun to learn all the different folding methods. It’s like oragami.

    • Wow! Frosting? This opens a whole world of mental avenues for me.

      And yes, we’d love to take you up on some diaper covers and some knowledge. And some beers.

  9. ElkoSteve says

    POOP There it is!
    POOP There it is!
    POOP There it is!

  10. Michelle says

    My friend with twins did a combo of disposable (right after they were born and still while traveling) and bum genius cloth type when they(the parents) got more sleep (about 3 mo old-till now, they are almost 2).

    It’s really what works with you and your family. We did disposable with our daughter then cloth (wash at home) with our son. We were at different places in our lives (they are 7 years apart) and did what worked (:

  11. something to remember too is that the boys’ tender young bums might have something to say about it all. the disposables usually have better wicking properties, so less rash. and something totally weird. if you have a front loader washer, it might not get all the poop out. email me about this, or i will you. a diaper service will certainly kill the majority of bacteria, but detergents might be harsh. it would be super nice to have someone do all that work for you though… i don’t know why I am offering advice. i have no experience, lol.

  12. Here is what I remember when I was little about watching extended family members who used cloth diapers (I’m 45). And, sometimes I helped. When you change the diaper, you take it to the toilet and dump the “contents” into the toilet, hold the diaper really tight, flush the toilet and dunk the diaper up and down to rinse in the toilet water. Have a tub or bucket right by the toilet to put the dirty (somewhat cleaner now) into for cleaning. So, it’s not like you’ll be putting pee/poo soaked diapers in the laundry to become rancid until you get the chance to wash. And, I hear there are great laundry services out there – but you want to be sure to use one that cleans without harmful chemicals. And, on a side note, when my daughter (18 now) was little, instead of saying, “Did you just fart??”, we would say, “Did you bust a bean??” So funny! Much luck to ya!

  13. This is exactly what I’m talking about. I don’t know if it’s possible to have twins in disposable diapers when garbage is every other week.

    • Eeeeewwwww. . . . . . . .I say, go for the “dump & dunk in the toilet & throw ’em in the wash (the diapers!). It’ll be grand! Did you see Leap Year?

  14. we did cloth diapers for lauren starting at 18 months until she went to preschool at 2 1/2, but this time around, we have a crappy dryer so william is in disposables. i wrote about it in 2007 here:

  15. David jacobs says

    Tried gdiapers and they were horrible. Flat out no workie
    And they are expensive. Go disposable, cross yourself and
    Say a prayer of forgiveness.

    Two boys at the same time. Wow.

  16. Cloth diapering can seem intimidating and expensive from the beginning, but it quickly pays for itself. We’ve been cloth diapering our first for these first two months (so I’m not expert) – I actually found the cloth diapering experience kind of fun! There is so much diaper technology out there – you need a good set of pre-folds (if you’re doing Tidee Didee for the first month or two you can wait to get your own pre-folds), some cute and some practical covers — Gdiaper falls under cute and easy, but they leak a little, more water resistant materials in other types of diaper covers like econobums or flips (my favorites), and a few snappies to keep the prefolds on independently… our kid is quite a pooper and goes through 15-17 diapers per days so we have enough prefolds to go two days between washing, but it takes more like 36 hours before I start a new wash. I have a Golden Ticket PDF I will email to you that has a lot of great information. You like information.

  17. So today I went in to research and experiment to see if I could get the g diapers we have to NOT leak. It was user error! Here’s info about g diapers and leakage… and

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