I could write a book on cloth diapering so I'll try to keep it short and sweet, along with plenty of great links covering the books worth I could write here. Have fun dig thru the links and learn, learn, learn!
So here's just some quick diapering 101 using cloth diaper styles I prefer. Keep in mind you'll find what you like the best just as I did with trial and error. Every lil' one is unique as are those messes! There are dozens of different methods and diaper styles out there find what works best for you!
For starters, I like using a simple diaper cover with a layed in "insert". Below are (left to right)
100% Cotton Unbleached Indian Prefold, Homemade Bamboo Fleece Flat, & 100% cotton Bar Towel
Here's what the diaper cover and the Indian Prefold look like ready to be put on baby. Simply fold prefold in thirds and lay in, folding down any excess to the front or back which ever you prefer.
Another option is using the POCKET diaper with the insert of your choice. Here I used again the Indian Prefold folded in thirds. I left it hanging out so you can "SEE" where it goes, naturally you'll slip it all the way in. A quick note on most pocket diapers including these that I make... If you are using diaper creams place something like a baby washcloth or similar lining on the diaper where it will act as a barrier between the diaper and the cream. Diaper Creams are a PAIN in the tush to wash out of suede cloth (which is what I use here) and many other fabrics. Save yourself the major headache and remember to "line" your diaper before using creams.
Yet another option for that tiny tush... below is an Indian prefold being fastened with a SNAPPI. Like the good ol' standby diaper pin but without the nerve racking "omg! I just stuck the baby!"
You can use the Snappi and prefold inside a regular diaper cover or in a "woolie" also known as Wool Soakers, Wool Cover, Wool Longies, etc. I hear your shock at the word wool but believe it or not it is the #1 best option for baby, hands down!
No it's not itchy!
No it's not hot!
No it's not hard!
Need more info on the benefits of wool covers....
Now for the cool links and info, where to find?, how to wash?, what is it?
http://www.cottonbabies.com/ Best prices for Indian prefolds.... search "prefold"
http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/index.html Prefolds and excellent baby pic examples, SNAPPI too!
http://clothdiapers.thefunnyemu.com/ Practically everything you need to know for cloth diapering, including styles, washing, etc.
http://www.zany-zebra.com/how-many-cloth-diapers.shtml More opinions on diapering!
http://www.gdiapers.com/ (can also be purchased in store at Babies R Us) NOT ready to take on the full cloth diaper experience? I love gdiapers! Yes I should be pushing my cloth diapers but I've used gdiapers with their disposable liners and with washable liners and they rock as a great hybrid diaper! My only complaint is I hate the velcro diaper chains that I pull out of the wash. Try 'em! If you prefer snaps you can always track down a diaper maker as myself and have them converted to snaps. Yes I will convert them for you! My pro snap press is sitting here waiting to be put to work!
Just an ending note...the biggest complaint I've heard and seen with cloth diapers... "we sprung a leak!"
My opinion you have leaks with disposables too! With cloth diapers make sure your "insert" isn't sticking out too. Keep in mind those super soaker chemicals in disposables, sadly baby can be left in that diaper for hours and hours! YUCK! Cloth diapering (as should all diapers) should be changed as soon as baby wets or ATLEAST every two hours. This keeps baby happy, avoids diaper rash, and even encourages potty training. Everyone has their reasons for cloth diapering... money saving, no chemicals, eco friendly, safer and more comfy for baby, etc.
HAPPY BABY BUMS MAKE HAPPY BABY MUMS!!!!