I have been promising my good friend Ruth information on Cloth Diapers and Cloth Diapering so I finally am posting about it!
I started using cloth diapers when Myles was 4 months old. I wanted to earlier, but allowed people to talk me out of it. I had so many people telling me it was gross, their horrible experiences with it (this from people who used cloth diapers years ago before there were as many amazing options!) and people telling me it would be too much work. I was also overwhelmed with all the cloth diapering information so it took me a while to research and wade through all of it! When we first started, I wanted to find the most economical way to do it and be able to get enough of a diaper stash that I wasn't having to do laundry every day to make it work. We started with 2 of the Flip Diaper System packs and a box of Econobum pre-folds with 3 covers. This gave me 7 covers and 12 inserts (for the Flip) and 12 pre-folds. I ended up only using one of the Econobum covers, to be honest I found them to be flimsy and cheaply made. The one cover I did use, ended up falling apart. However I loved the pre-folds. I wasn't terribly keen on the Flip inserts but loved the Flip covers so I used those and the pre-folds. Pre-folds really work well when your baby is EBF (exclusively breast fed) and their stools tend to be really loose. Using pre-folds with the covers, we didn't encounter any of those nasty "Blow-out" diapers that you hear of! We did however deal with those when he was in disposables so for this reason alone I wish we'd cloth diapered from the beginning! Somewhere in the next few months I learned of Hyneacart and of WAHM made diapers (work at home mother) and thus began a re-vamping of my cloth stash! I ended up selling the Flip & Econobum diapers once I got enough other ones. I personally do not buy used (just like I don't buy used underwear for myself!) but a lot of people do, so you can usually sell diapers you end up not being as fond of and re-couping a bit of what you spent. I wish we cloth diapered full time, but we do use disposables at night as Myles is a really heavy wetter and I haven't found a good nighttime solution. Diaper brands we own are:
Bebe Britches (sadly she is no longer in business)
Monkey and Bug (currently not making diapers, after having a second set of twins)
The top 6 links are WAHM's. The bottom 2 are commercial brands.
Now for cleaning information! When Myles was EBF we just threw the whole diaper in the wet bag (We have a Planet Wise hanging bag that we hang on the door of his room, it has a zippered top and keeps smells in so much better then the diaper champ we have for disposables which we do use at night). Now that he is not breast fed and is on solids we just shake off waste into the toilet, then throw the diapers into the wet bag till laundry time. They do make diaper sprayers that you can attach to your toilet and spray off the diapers with that, but we've never really had issues without it. It sounds disgusting, I know but its just as simple to scrape any stubborn waste off with a wipe into the toilet. I figure I am already wiping Myles off so it isn't really any different. I try to wash at least 2 times a week. Letting them sit any longer you can end up with stink or stain issues. For washing you will need to use a cloth diaper friendly detergent. If you don't you can end up with repelling issues (shedding water, which of course you don't want!). I use either Rockin' Green detergent or Eco Nuts on our cloth diapers. To wash I open the wet bag over the washer & dump the diapers in and the bag. I run a cold rinse cycle, then add detergent and do a hot wash that is followed by a cold rinse (it is a function on my washer). Then I dry on high. Wool dryer balls are great to add to your dry cycle for speeding up drying time. Also don't use dryer sheets! The additives can cause issues with your diapers absorbancy! Fold and ready to go!
A few additional notes: With cloth diapers you will need to use a cloth diaper friendly rash cream if your child has a rash. Myles seldom gets rashes unless he is teething or sick but when he does we use Grovia Magic stick rash ointment. Mother Love also makes a good rash ointment. If he has a really bad rash and I want to use something stronger, I will either use a disposable or lay something on top of the cloth diaper like a small piece of flannel or fleece to act as a buffer. Typical rash creams can coat the diaper and make them repel.
Some diaper styles & terms (taken from Cuties with Cloth Booties on Cafemom):