Our friend Shannon Mallinger is a mama of two gorgeous little twin boys. We caught up with her getting to know her a bit better and what life is like being blessed with two babies at the same time.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family: My name is Shannon and I am married to Jordan, we have been together for 5 years and married for 1.5. We live in Cambridge with our 6 month twins Beau and Luka, our cat Benny and our black lab Presley.
Where are you from? How did you end up where you are? I was born in the UK but moved here with my family when I was 5. My mum is from Cambridge and wanted to come back to be close to her family.
Our journey to becoming a parent: I always wanted to get married before having kids and Jordan and I decided that after we got married I would come off the contraceptive pill, but we wouldn’t actively try for a baby until a year after the wedding (which was March 2019). We found out we were unexpectedly pregnant in September 2019!
Did we know we were having twins: We had a very early scan at 4+5 weeks pregnant where the ultrasound tech mentioned seeing one empty pregnancy sac and one other sac that she was pretty sure was fluids. I didn’t really pay attention to anything after ‘empty sac’ as I was so anxious that there was going to be something wrong with the baby! We went back for a second scan at 6+5 weeks where the tech saw on our notes it was possible twins, went right in and said ‘oh yes there’s the first sac and a heartbeat, and there’s the second sac and a heartbeat!’ And we were just like ‘what!? There’s two!?’ And that was that!
My favourite thing about being a parent is the way your babies look at you and their faces light up! It’s the best thing when I go and get them up after a sleep and they give me the biggest smile like they’re so happy I’m here.
Our cloth journey: I wanted to try cloth since becoming pregnant and finding out we were having twins. I researched, bought a few as I went (particularly little genie ones from countdown!) Found it too hard and overwhelming a few times and decided I’d wait til the boys were born. I managed to also buy a bulk log second hand off Facebook which made it cheaper! They were 8 weeks prem and spent 5 weeks in nicu so I didn’t try cloth on them until they were about 8-9 weeks old. We started slow, a couple a day while I learnt about fit, absorbency, how often to change etc. eventually I used them all the time at home, and used disposables while we were out and overnight. Slowly I started using them as we went out too - first for just short trips, then long trips, then full day trips! 2 months ago I took the plunge and decided to try overnight nappies. I used our little genie shells, stuffed them with a microfibre and 2 bamboo and thought ‘well they’ll only wake up wet.’
To my surprise they DIDNT wake up wet and we haven’t looked back! I can’t even remember the last time I bought a pack of disposables! We have slowly transitioned to 90% cloth wipes as well and just have disposable ones on hand for just in case we run out of cloth wipes or something! It’s been super easy and it’s very rewarding to think how many nappies we aren’t sending to landfill - since we went full time we’ve saved about 450 nappies!
Why is it important to use eco friendly products for us: I think the planet has like 7 years til we have made irreversible damage or something, so if I can do something as simple, cost effective and easy as using cloth nappies to help make the planet sustainable enough for my kids and future grandkids to grow up on then why wouldn’t i! Why we use little genie products: They’re affordable, accessible (you can get them at the supermarket!) efficient, easy to use and good quality! We personally use ours as night nappies.
How many reusable nappies do we have: Upwards of 50 🙈 I’ve been collecting since I was pregnant and we have been using them since the boys were 2 months old. We are now proudly 2 months in to full time cloth!
How satisfying do we find reusable nappies: 10000/10. They’re pretty, easy to use, cost effective (especially with twins in nappies!) and did I mention they’re pretty?
How much have we saved: It’s hard to say! I’d say probably close to $1000 total since we started using cloth which is crazy to think about.
#1 tip: don’t panic! It is super overwhelming to start with and there is so much information out there that a lot of parents chuck it in the too hard basket. Start slow; remember it’s not all in or all out! And don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions to other cloth parents, brands, and on dedicated cloth nappy Facebook and Instagram pages.
Best hack: Use the reusable wipes containers for your cloth wipes, google how to fold them so they come out one at a time and pre wet them before putting them in the container. Game changer!