When switching from using disposable diapers to cloth diapers, here are the basics you need:
You could still use disposable wipes if you wanted. But if you're washing cloth diapers, why not wash cloth wipes? Cloth wipes are strong and durable and since they're reusable you'll save money. I'll have a post for making your own cloth wipes within the week.
As far as the diapers go, you need to keep two things in mind:
1. Something needs to absorb what comes out.
2. A cover needs to keep it from leaking through to clothing, furniture, YOUR clothing, bedding, etc.
When we started, we opted not to invest in fitted diapers or all-in-ones and go with the less-expensive, but definitely reliable combination:
1. prefolds (and doublers for night)
2. waterproof covers
If you want to go the el-cheapo route you could use plastic pants and diaper pins and flat diapers. But I don't personally recommend it. I think plastic pants are too varying in size and tend to leak. But my mom did it, Danny's mom did it, so did many people for ages. So you could survive. ;)
I don't want to stick my baby with a pin either. There are alternatives to pins called Snappis. I have a couple. They work quite well with contoured diapers or flat diapers. But it's an extra piece to remember. and not lose.
Starting out we purchased 4 dozen prefolds and about 8 waterproof covers and doublers. I also bought three polar babies covers-- which I've determined are lame and bulky. And I made my own flannel wipes.
Why did I purchase so many prefolds? Because I didn't want to wash everyday. Of course, then I had to deal with the stink of the wet diaper pail. or the stains that result in the dry diaper pail.
If I did it all again, and was only diapering one at a time instead of three, I could easily do with just 2 dozen prefolds.
New cloth diapering vocab for the week.
Prefolds: rectangular diapers (that are thicker in the middle) that you fold and insert into a diaper cover.
Diaper covers: waterproof material that fits over the diaper to be used with prefolds, flat diapers with pins or snappis, or fitted diapers. You can pre-fold the diapers and put them in the covers in advance and just have a stack ready.
Doublers: A rectangular (usually fleece and terry cloth) piece about 4 x 11" that adds an extra layer to the diaper absorbency usually for car trips, overnight, or just heavy wetters.
That's all for now from me. Check back for the flannel wipes tutorial.
Amy at themombot is starting her own series on cloth diapering 101. Click here to visit her.
And 'Becca wrote a great piece too. Click here to read her story.
If you want to read what I've written about cloth diapering in the past, click the tag under my post labeled cloth diapering.