I got some great feedback about the Fuzzibunz post. So I thought I would continue to detail the types and brands of diapers for you. Let me know if you like it, or if you don't...I don't want to bore you with details you don't want.
Prefolds and Covers are the most inexpensive and versitile way to cloth diaper. These diapers will last child after child after child. With our Infant Prefold Package, and our Baby Prefold Package, you can have an entire cloth diapering carreer (for multiple children) for about $250. Think "Grandma's way", now, stop thinking that! Although this is the way that Grandma probably diapered your mom, it had come - A VERY LONG WAY!
Let's start at the beginning. What is a prefold diaper? A prefold is a rectangular piece of cloth that is sewn with several layers of cloth, usually cotton or hemp, in such a way as to have twice as many layers in the middle as there are on the side. A 4x8x4 would have 4 layers on each side and 8 down the middle, right where absorbtion is most needed. This is an important number to consider, as all prefolds are not created equal. Just as an FYI, a flat is a cousin of the prefold, but with the same number of layers across the entire diaper.
We prefer Indian Prefolds, as opossed to Chinese. As the name suggests, these are made in India instead of China. They generally are less pilly and shrink a bit more than Chinese prefolds. Unbleached Indians are softer, especially after the first few washes. The fabric on the Chinese is woven a little denser, so they will shrink slightly less and feel less soft. They ‘quilt up’ a little less than the Indian Diapers, the Indian diapers get a more ‘quilted’ appearance. Indian diapers having a softer weave, tend to have a more frayed appearance at the ends of the diapers and an occasional loose thread. This is normal and expected and does not affect the diapers durability or usability. Frayed edges do not make a defective diaper. We have heard many storys of Indian Diapers lasting through several children and then making the rounds as a cleaning rag for years after.
Now, lets talk covers. The two most popular are Thirsties and Bummis. Flip Covers are a somewhat new cover from Cotton Babies, and they are catching on very quickly too. A cover is needed with all prefolds.This is the waterproofing layer. Although the prefold/cover may be a little much for the new sitter, you will get the hang of a prefold & cover system very quickly.
Thirsties come in 2 sizes, and in both snap and hook and loop closure styles. Size 1 covers 6-18 pounds, and Size 2 is 18-40 pounds. Thirsties Duo Wrap Covers use only 2 sizes because they utilize the same snap structure on the front as a one-size. Bummis has 4 sizes. This is the cover I recommend for all preemies and tiny newborns. The newborn is 4-9 pounds, small 8-16 pounds, medium 15-30 pounds and large 27+ pounds. Bummis are only hook & loop closure. Flips Covers are one-size, and come in both snap and hook & loop closure syle. All covers wipe clean, meaning there is no cloth on the inside of the diaper. If it is wet or lightly soiled, it can be wiped clean and reused.
Here is the thing that scares most people off... There are tons of ways to fold a prefold. Don't panic! The simplest is to fold each side over the middle, lay it in the cover and snap onto baby. If you baby is tiny, fold in forths along the short side. But, if you are adventurous, and most of you will get there once you get the hang of prefolds, you can try different folds for different uses. You can find my blog on ways to prefold here: http://3babyboysandabusiness.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-fold-prefold-cloth-diaper.html
Pins are a thing of the past! Snappis are used to secure prefolds on baby. But, these are optional! Some moms prefer to put on a prefold and allow the cover to keep it in place. Other moms like the security of the snappi holding the diaper in the correct position. Either way, pins are no longer needed with prefolds. If you choose to use a snappi, simply put on one side, stretch to the other and stetch the bottom down. That's it!
Overall, prefolds may be the most versitile and long-lasting way to cloth diaper. It is definately the most inexpensive. There is a huge following of devoted prefold parents out there, are you one?