Passionate Homemaking has a great article up about cloth diapering and the benefits. I won't repost that all here other than to say that cloth is better for your budget and better for your baby's health as well. I've been cloth diapering since Lucy was 8 months old and have really enjoyed it. I'm just going to post my favorite cloth diapering items along with a getting started list for fun.
One of my favorite places to shop is Abby's Lane, they have free shipping on every order and wonderful customer service. They have a yahoo email list that you can join to find a 5% discount code mentioned in their periodic update emails. Stephanie is great about answering any questions you might have and helping you figure out what will work for you and your baby. If you are a new customer to Abby's Lane, let them know I referred you by placing my name and email address in the comments box.
(Christy christy.vw (at) gmail (dot) com)
Alright, so here are some of my favorite cloth diapering items - and all you'd really need to get started if you're new to this. This isn't an inclusive list of everything out there, just my top picks.
Bumgenius One Size pocket diapers - these are definitely my favorites! I've seen pictures of them fitting on tiny little babies and they snap open further to fit all the way up to potty training. I love the stretchy sides and have always had a good fit with these on both my girls. You can customize the absorbancy of these diapers by adding an extra insert. Pocket diapers are super easy for Dad and Grandma to use and my favorite to keep in the diaper bag for going out. Add to that the fact that this diaper comes in pink (and other cute colors) and I'm sold!
Add a BabyKicks Hemparoo insert for night time. I use this insert along with the microfiber insert in my Bumgenius overnight and we're all set. Hemp is very absorbant and doesn't add too much bulk to the diaper.
If you're still having trouble with leaks at night, pull on a wool cover and its practically bulletproof! Disana wool is soft and easy to care for once you learn how. I'll do a separate post on wool one of these days. Wool pants are so much fun as well.
If you're on a tight budget, or just want to have extra back up diapers around, try prefolds. Prefolds are a workhorse diaper, they will last forever and are great to have on hand. I use a snappi (much easier than pins!) and a Thirsties cover. Thirsties covers are the best of any I've tried. They are nice and trim fitting, but have lots of room in them for the diaper. The leg gussets are great at keeping leaks in, and the bright variety of colors makes me want to buy them all. I keep my prefolds around just so I can use Thirsties covers I like them so much.
Did you know snappis come in a toddler size? I recommend having a few on hand for when those prefolds get a bit snug but you aren't quite ready for a bigger size yet. The toddler snappi is just a tad bigger and can help you get lots more life out of your prefolds. I was so happy when I finally found out these existed!
What about accessories? There are a few things that will make cloth diapering easier for you -
2 pail liners - when one is full, I carry the diapers to the wash and dump the pail liner inside out into the washing machine right along with the diapers. I highly recommend having a second one for when the first is in the wash. I have Swaddlebees and like them ok, but they've gone up in price so I'd probably try a wahmies instead. I have a large kitchen trash can from Meijers that I use along with my pail liner to hold the dirty diapers.
1-2 wet bags - this is a liner zippered pouch to put dirty diapers in when you are out and about, definitely a necessity
diaper sprayer - this hooks right to your toilet and is great for spraying off poopy diapers, especially when babies start eating solid foods and have that yucky sticky poop that doesn't want to come off the diaper. I highly recommend buying one of these.
cloth wipes - using cloth wipes is easy when you're already using cloth diapers. Just spray on some diaper spray or water and toss the wipe in your diaper pail when you're done. We like the Kissaluvs diaper potion spray.
detergent- I use Purex Free and Clear, for a complete list of detergents and which ones are safe, see this page. I hang my covers and pockets on a drying rack in the basement and they are dry overnight. Its something like this but I purchased it at WalMart.
Here is a list of Q and A that might be helpful for someone just getting started.
Thats all for now! Who knew there could be so much to say about diapering? ;)