Different Kinds of Cloth Diapers
Do you want to start cloth diapering, but you're finding yourself overwhelmed by all the choices? There are many different types of cloth diapers these days...and they're not your grandmother's cloth diapers with a big ol' safety pin! There are lots of choices, and some are almost as easy as disposables!
First off, there is my personal favorite: One-size pocket diapers. I love, love, love BumGenius 3.0. Pocket diapers are made with two layers sewn together to form a pocket. You stick an absorbent insert into the pocket and viola! That's your diaper. They're really easy, and with the velcro on the BumGenius, they are just like putting on a disposable diaper. The best part about the one-size diapers is that they're adjustable, so they can fit a newborn up until they're potty trained. You can get years of use out of each diaper, which is great because these diapers are a bit more expensive than some other options. In cloth diapering communities you'll see people abbreviating "one-size" to "OS."
That's my baby Isaac pictured above in a one-size pocket diaper. Those aren't the BumGenius, however. The one he's wearing has snaps instead of velcro, which in my opinion, causes them to leak a little because they can't get quite as snug. I do know some people who like snap diapers, but these tend to be my back-ups.
The most popular are prefolds. These are the old school cloth diapers. They're the cheapest cloth diaper option out there. They come in three sizes: preemie (4-10 lbs), infant (up to 15 lbs), and premium (15-30 lbs). Here is an example of a prefold made by Gerber. Other options are CPF (Chinese Prefolds) and Indian Prefolds. CPF wash well, but the Indian Prefolds are more absorbent. There are a bunch of different ways to fold them. If you decide to use prefolds, you will also need diaper covers.
Next, you've got fitted diapers. Fitted diapers have elastic around the legs and snaps or Velcro keep the diaper in place. Instead of folding the prefolds, all you have to do is put the diaper into a diaper cover and that's it. They're a little more expensive than using the prefolds, but a bit easier because you don't need to worry about folding or pinning them.
Similar to the fitted diapers, there are also contour diapers. These diapers are sort of a combo of the prefolds and the fitted. They are like the fitted diapers without the elastic or Velcro/snaps. They don't need to be folded, just put into a diaper cover.
A very convenient type of cloth diaper are the all-in-ones. (AIO) Just as the name implies, it's just one big piece. No folding, no inserting, nada. It's basically like a disposable diaper...except you wash and reuse!
Lastly, there are hybrid diapers. They are cloth diapers with disposable or flushable liners. A popular example are gDiapers. You can flush or even compost the pee diapers! This is a great compromise if you want to cloth diaper but are kind of grossed out about dealing with poop.
Everyone has different preferences for cloth diapers, so if you're not sure what to use, I recommend the trial program at Jillian's Drawers.
Oh, and don't forget to make your own baby wipes. ;-)