Cloth Diaper Options & Information:
Prefolds & Covers: This is a great economical option. For a newborn you will need around 24 prefolds and 6-12 covers. This also works as a great all-in-two because you can reuse the cover and just change the prefold out until the cover gets soiled or just too wet. You can also trifold a prefold diaper and just lay in the cover and put on baby. Super easy. Another option is to use a fitted diaper and cover, but that gets to be expensive, but you have the benefit of all natural fibers against baby's bum and you can still use it like an all-in-two system. For prefolds and covers I highly suggest: www.greenmountaindiapers.com. Cotton Babies has also come out with whats called the Flip and Econobum systems and they seem to be very economical and they are a one-size option. You can find those at www.cottonbabies.com">www.cottonbabies.com
Pockets: These are great options if your baby is prone to diaper rashes. It keeps their bum very dry. The wetness soaks through a fleece or micro suede layer into an absorbent inner that you had previously stuffed into the diaper. These are more work to launder but are still fairly convenient because once they are stuffed, you're done, they can be a lot like an all-in-one. Most inserts are made of microfiber which can get stinky more often and tend to loose their absorbency faster than cotton, but they are cheap to replace or you can stuff your pocket with a prefold or purchase cotton inserts. There are a few brands I recommend for this: Fuzzibunz, Happy Heinys, and BumGenius one-size pockets. All three offer a one-size option which saves you money in the long run and they are all high quality and will last through multiple children if cared for properly.
All-in-ones These are by far the easiest option. They do tend to be the most expensive option as well. They are the cotton version of disposables. Everything is ready to go, just velcro (or snap) onto child. All the absorbent material is sewn right into the diaper cover. If washed correctly they will also last a long time. With all-in-ones there are really two options, one-size to grow with your child, or sized. There are only a few brands that make one-size, but there are a ton of sized. So it really depends on what is important to you and how the diaper fits.
All-in-one, one-size suggestions: Bumgenius Organic One-size All-in-one, Mother's Touch, Kissaluvs Marvels One-Size All-in-one, and Bamboo Baby.
Sized All-in-one suggestions: Sposoeasy, Thirsties, Bottom Bumpers, and Nana's Bottoms. There are a lot in this category so just start by looking around. Each diaper will also fit your child differently so you may have to try a few before finding the right one.
All-in-twos These can be more economical because you can re-use the cover for multiple diaper changes by just changing out the inner. As your child grows, you may only get two uses out of the cover before it needs a wash.
All-in-two suggestions: Softbums, Grobaby, and Flip System
Hybrids: For those wanting an easy option with not much washing, this is a good one. It includes a washable cover but the inner is a biodegradable disposable insert.
Hybrid Suggestions: gDiapers, Grobaby, and Flip
Detergent: This is important. Some people have had success by just using very little of their regular detergent, but most diaper manufactures suggest using cloth diaper friendly detergents to avoid build up which can cause stink issues and leaking. This website has a great list of detergents: www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html
Diaper Sprayer: If your infant is breastfed, you can just throw the diaper in the wash, no rinsing necessary because the poo will break down in the wash, but as you add in solid foods it does help to spray the poo off before washing. To avoid dunking, I highly suggest investing in a diaper sprayer. They can be pricey, but in my opinion, worth it. Cotton Babies sells one that has been rated well: www.cottonbabies.com/product_info.php?cPath=37&products_id=1228. I've also heard of people making their own which I'm sure would cost a fraction of the price.
How Many?: For a newborn you will need anywhere from 12 to 24 diapers. It really depends on how often your child poos and how often you want to do laundry. For some infants 12 diapers will only get you through a day and for others, it could be two. For an older baby, you really only need 12 diapers and that should get you through two days.
Washing: You should really wash your diapers every other day or so. If they sit too long, bacteria can start to grow and cause a long-term stink problem. It's a good idea to strip your diapers every two months or so. You do this by adding a squirt of dawn dish soap to your wash and then wash on hot until there are no more suds. Usually this is a minimum of three washes.
For a regular washing routine wash with 1/4 amount of detergent (optional: add 1/2 cup of baking soda with detergent and 1/4 cup of vinegar to softener spot) and wash on cold for one cycle, then wash on hot wash/cold rinse with no detergent and use extra rinse option. Hang dry covers and dry everything else on low. Hang dry in the sun when possible because it's a natural anti-bacterial.
Decide Why: Why are you wanting to cloth diaper? Is it to save money, is it to avoid harmful chemicals being against your baby's bum? To avoid diaper rash? I find it helps to have a reason. If you just go for it because cloth diapers are ADORABLE on your child, you might feel like giving up once you run into stink issues or leaking. Most of these problems can be fixed, but it can get frustrating. I've seen people invest hundreds of dollars and then give up when they face their first challenge. Having a reason helps you to really stick with it for the long term.
Resources: www.diaperpin.com, www.diaperswappers.com, www.kellyscloset.com, www.happybabycompany.com