I don't know if I ever mentioned it here, but before Elmer was born - heck, even before we knew we were pregnant, I had planned to use cloth diapers instead of disposable. I watched friends and family use cloth back in the day, and I personally use a menstrual cup instead of...ahem...disposable methods. I just can't stand the thought of all that waste! It helps that cloth diapers are cheaper than disposable as well.
So, now that we're 15 months into it, I thought I'd give an overview of how I like it and what seems to work for us. In short, we love cloth diapers!
First off, cloth diaper design has come a long way since even my nieces were in diapers - while you'll see I'm sticking to pretty traditional (and cheap!) prefolds and covers, there are a wide range of cloth diaper options.
While there are a variety of cloth diaper supplies and information online, we are lucky to have a couple of great local options. Zoolikins has a store in Scottsdale, as well as great website, and GoGoNatural is a home business run in Chandler. I buy 95% of my supplies from these local stores.
I wanted to keep it pretty cheap and simple, so our cloth diaper stash consists of pre-fold diapers and waterproof PUL covers. Zoolikins has a great starter pack deal, which was an easy way to get started. We are now on our third size of diaper, but I think this size will probably last us until potty training. Prefold diapers are your basic style of diaper - a rectangular diaper that you fold (there are a variety of folds - we use the newspaper fold for our little guy), secure with a fastener, and pair with a waterproof cover. No need to use pins any more - Snappis are wonderful invention!
As for covers - I've tried quite a few different covers over the past year, and I've decided that my favorites are the Thirsties Duo Wrap, and the Blueberry Coverall, with Rumparooz One-Size cover being a good alternative. The Thirsties and Blueberry fit great over a pre-fold without too much fuss and are easily adjustable. The Rumparooz are great, too, but my only complaint is that they seem to require a bit more stretching to fit, and are more prone to rub Elmer's legs a bit much. The PUL is a lot thicker, which is nice, but I also wonder if it just doesn't breathe as well as the Thirsties or the Blueberry cover. All three are available in really cute colors and patterns - much better looking than disposables.
For night-time diapering, we just add an insert to the regular prefold.. We have been using microfiber inserts, because they hold a lot of liquid and wick moisture away from the skin. However, after a few months they really start to smell, I mean really smell. Also, Elmer's skin often looks really red and irritated at that first morning change. I've just bought a few hemp inserts, so we'll see how they do as a replacement.
I also like the Flip diapering system for traveling - the covers do fit over regular prefolds fairly well, but you can buy disposable inserts that fit inside if, for example, you're at a cabin for a week and don't want to worry about laundry. Theoretically, I could also use any of my microfiber or hemp inserts with these covers - I just haven't done it since I'm happy with my prefolds. Since the inserts don't require folding or fasteners, I have thought about setting these out for babysitters. The Flip covers and inserts are very affordable, so I'd definitely recommend them to anyone thinking about doing cloth diapers and wants something simple, but doesn't want to spend a lot of money up front. I'll probably go with Flip when Elmer's ready for training pants.
We haven't been in the pool much yet, but we have a Bummi's swim diaper all lined up for this summer! These are super cute!
We don't find laundry to be too much of a hassle for cloth diapers. We do a load of diapers about every 2-3 days. I don't buy special detergent, but do use a recommended detergent from this list. For a long time we just had a hanging wet bag in Elmer's room, but I just switched to a pail with a reusable liner. We also have a diaper sprayer in the bathroom for handling poopy diapers - we just spray them off into the toilet.
We did use disposables that were given to us for Elmer's first week or so, and then again on our first trip out of town. After using cloth for a few months, we were not impressed with disposables when we traveled. They were much more prone to blowouts and leaking, were smellier, and definitely skimpy. Chris and I both were glad to get back to our cloth diapers after that first trip. With all the great cloth diapering options available now, I have no intention of ever using disposables in the future!