- Prefold - rectangle diaper with lots of layers, available in infant, toddler, standard types of sizing. A basic diaper
- Cover - waterproof material to go over a prefold, or other absorbent diaper
- Pocket diaper - diaper with a pocket in it - usually has a waterproof outside, and wicking inside to keep baby's bottom dry. Microfiber, prefold diapers, hemp, bamboo towels or inserts can go into the pocket depending on baby's absorbancy needs.
- Chloe Toes - a style of pocket diaper - a mom made this pattern
- Flip - inexpensive commercial diaper system/brand
- GroVia - commercial diaper brand
- AIO - the entire diaper is the diaper
- AI2 - The diaper does not usually have a pocket but has a "tail" of absorbent layers
- PUL - a fabric that is waterproof - knits are more waterproof than cottons but cottons are often cuter
- Snap - diapers that snap on
- H&L - diapers Velcro (Hook and Loop) to stay on child.
- CDMF - my favorite fabric for an inner wicking layer against baby (Cuddle Dry Micro Fleece)
- Suedecloth - from Joann's or Hancock also works as a wicking layer
- Wool - some families like wool for the outer layer. I have not
had enough experience with wool to have an opinion, but have heard great
things about it. If you can crochet/knit there are some awesome cover
patterns for wool longies/shorties (long or short pants/covers)
We started cloth diapers with Brendan. We started with infant size prefolds and covers. I never used pins or snappi's with infants - just lay the prefold into the cover, and put onto baby. The covers can be re-used a few times unless they get soiled. Then I got a few pocket diapers, because they were "daddy friendly". I eventually transitioned to all pocket diapers. Prefolds are a very economical way to cloth diaper and can be folded many ways depending on the gender and size of the baby.
I made medium and large Chloe Toes diapers - not sure if that pattern is still available or not? I stuffed the pocket diapers with blue microfiber towels from Sam's Club. At night I added a layer of hemp to the microfiber and had 3 FuziBunz sized diapers (medium). Having only 3 night time diapers forced me to wash diapers every 3 days...which is a good thing for me. Some people can have a HUGE stash and still wash regularly - for me if I have a diaper I won't wash, so that works here.
With Lauren I also started with prefolds and covers, as well. I also made her some snap on Chloe Toes, and purchased some microfiber inserts that I use to stuff the pockets. I also have a Flip Cover and a couple Grovia. I have 2 Grovia AIO - aka they have the absorbent layer sewn into the diaper. I am not real happy with how these diaper are holding up, they are still absorbent but show use on the inside of the legs. I also have some Grovia Shells and inserts that I do like. Recently I purchased some one-size diapers from Alva - they are an inexpensive way to build a pocket diaper stash. Currently I am using the Alva pockets, and Flip covers and Grovia Shells with inserts laid in for day time use. At night time I use a layer of hemp, layer of bamboo and microfiber insert.
I use cloth wipes at home and disposable when we are out. If I use disposable I just wrap them into the diaper and place in my wet bag. I dump it all into the diaper pail and wash. Disposable wipes in the washer are great for cleaning out "leftovers" after the diapers have been washed. My diaper pail is a tall trash can with a lid, I have a PUL bag that I made to line the trash can and it gets washed every-time I do diapers. My wipes are 2 sided - one is flannel the other is some textured fabric (don't know the name) that I picked up on clearance. I have some that are stitched and turned and some that I just stitched - both are functional. Right know I have 3 wet bags, 2 of which get LOTS of use the 3rd one I grab when the others are dirty. I use water for my wipes - keep it in a squirt bottle on the changing table and wet the wipes as needed. (The peri bottle from the hospital is great for this use *wink*)
I wash my diapers in Charlie's detergent in a top loading washer. There are adjustments that can be made for each style of washer and type of water, so it may take a bit to get the washing figured out. In the warm months I like to dry on a drying rack on my deck. The sun is awesome for getting out stains. (I can't wait to get the diapers out in the sunshine!!!) You can also air dry them inside, and this is recommend for many covers. I am lazy. I dry everything in the dryer on HOT. I do a pre rinse, wash with soap on hot water and have a 2nd cold rinse. Sometimes I add a squirt of blue (not concentrated) dawn dish detergent and/or vinegar to the rinse cycle. The dawn helps with build ups and is often used in "stripping" diapers if they are not being absorbent...mostly an issue with babies once they have started on solid foods.
How to dress a cloth diapered baby....Why is this a conecern? Because many clothing brands are designed to go over trim disposable diapers...not cute fluffy bottoms. :) I like knit pants best. Jeans fit, It just depends on your child. Yoga pants are GREAT because the wide waist band is helpful in keeping everything covered. I often go up a size in regular clothing to fit the CD bottom. We live in footie jamies year round for CD baby, and I usually put on a new pair ever night, vs ever few nights with disposable, because of the stink issue. See below for a pants link ;)
Links you may find useful:
http://www.fishsticksdesigns.com/GreenBeginningsClothDiaper.html - I was a tester for this diaper pattern. If you have someone that can sew this is a fun way to build a diaper stash.
http://www.diapersewingsupplies.com/ - Where to buy PUL in solids and prints and other supplies if you choose to make some custom diapers/covers, etc.
http://www.nickisdiapers.com/view_category.asp?cat=270&gclid=cog-ivgfibycfshgmgodzcoata - I purchased my initial prefolds and covers from this company. I like the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers.
http://www.birthbabyandbeyond.org/ - My local cloth diaper store. See if you have one in your area. Local stores a great way to figure out about local washer issues, meet with others who use cloth diaper or other healthy/natural living types of events! We do a music class with Lauren at my local store and she loves it.
http://www.amazon.com/Crescent-Moon-Yoga-Pants-Pattern/dp/B001GN7NSM/ref=sr_1_3?m=A2H6DPZGH48AUA&s=merchant-items&ie=UTF8&qid=1363708047&sr=1-3 Yoga pants pattern designed for a cloth diapered child
Closing thoughts -
There are a LOT of options out there for cloth diapering. SO MANY, MANY more then when I started with Brendan in 2006. If I were to start from scratch today I would look for a snapping pocket diaper and insert, probably one size if I were starting with a non-newborn, and go from there. Buy a few different styles see which one fits your baby and family best, then find a sale (hopefully) and stock up on that brand/brands and go from there. I am not up to date on all the latest styles and brands. What I have works for me, mostly.