Once we made the decision to try cloth diapers, we had to decide just which route we were going to take. There are so many options now--these aren't your grandma's cloth diapers! After consulting with a couple friends, we decided to go the more economical route to start--prefolds and covers. I wanted to make sure I could handle the laundry and I was happy with the results before we invested any substantial amount of money into cloth.
Prefolds are what you think of when you hear the term cloth diaper--except modern advances mean you don't need diaper pins anymore! I purchased 6 medium sized Diaper Rite prefolds and 1 Flip diaper from Diaper Junction, a locally-based online retailer, for right around $30. Flip is a brand of diaper that consists of a one size cover and an absorbent insert. When you purchase a Flip, you get your choice of an organic cotton insert or a microfiber insert with a Stay-Dry liner--I chose the Stay-Dry insert. The great thing about the Flip diaper is I could use inexpensive prefolds inside and not just the inserts that come with the diaper.
When I picked up my order, I immediately came home to clean and prep our new diapers. The Flip diaper only required a washing, but the prefolds needed to be washed and dried 5-6 times to become quilty and absorbent. I was able to get everything ready to start diapering the next morning. The first time I put Hank in cloth, I used the Flip cover and the medium prefold. The prefold was a little big, so I folded down the top to make it fit. It was a little bulky, but it worked. Hank didn't seem bothered by the difference in diaper. I was happy with the performance of the prefolds and the Flip insert, and actually found myself a little sad at the end of the day when I had ran out of cloth diapers and had to put Hank back in disposables. I made sure I had all the cloth items washed and dried before I went to bed that night so I could try it again the next day.
The big shocker came the next morning. Hank was still sleeping in the bassinet next to our bed at the time, and I remember waking up and thinking, "WHAT is that horrid smell?" I look at Hank just sleeping away, and I realized it was his diaper! I had never noticed how bad disposable diapers stunk until that moment. I prepared a bottle for Hank and sat on the edge of the bed staring at him waiting for him to wake up so I could take that dipe off! I told my husband there is NO WAY that something that smells so bad could be good for him. I put him in a cloth diaper as soon as he woke up...and then proceeded my plan of attack to convince my husband we needed more diapers! After 3 days of cloth (and me staying up late to wash everything for the next day), my husband agreed to another diaper purchase. We have been using cloth diapers full-time ever since!
Fluff-tionary: A Cloth Diaper Glossary if you have questions about any of the cloth diapering terms I use in this post.