Modern cloth diapers come in many varieties. I found cloth diaper retailers' websites such as this one to be very informative, and you can find a ton of user reviews online. If you're interested in cloth diapering a newborn, I would strongly suggest checking out this post on Dirty Diaper Laundry. It's also a good idea, if you have a bricks and mortar store in your area, to go in and touch the diapers and talk to the staff.
After doing our research, and getting some advice from the experts at our local cloth diaper store, we decided to try an economical style to start out, with a few other styles mixed in to help us figure out what kind of diaper we favoured for the longer term. The mainstay of our newborn diaper stash is prefolds and covers. With 24 prefolds and 4 covers, we could get by using nothing but these since we wash diapers every 1-2 days. In the beginning our baby went through about 12 to 15 diapers per day--this is the reality when you are changing him every couple hours and having the occasional surprise on the change table (this might only happen with boys?).
1. Prefolds are the cheapest and most old-school diapers we use. They consist only of a rectangular piece of organic cotton that is wrapped around the baby and covered with a waterproof wrap. We have 24 Bummis prefolds and 4 Thirsties Duo Wraps. Since we weren't expecting a tiny baby, we took some advice and skipped newborn size prefolds and went ahead and bought the infant size, which should fit to 15 pounds. Putting the diapers on took a bit of practice, and they're not the quickest diapers to get on and off, but we have had no leaks and I think these diapers will stand the test of time. It's just a piece of cloth, so there really isn't anything that can fall apart or get damaged in the wash. They are also versatile enough to be used for other purposes, like burp cloths or change pads. I even used one to wipe up a spilled glass of water the other day.
Our newborn diaper stash
3. Pocket diapers are the most modern style of diapers we use and are the closest to disposables because they don't require a cover. The diaper itself has a waterproof exterior and an absorbent insert that is removed in the wash. We bought 6 Fuzzibunz XS. These are our cutest and trimmest newborn diapers and were our preferred diapers to keep in the diaper bag or to wear under a cute outfit. We had a couple of leaks with these diapers (after a long nap or overnight) but we have since learned to use an extra insert if he's going to be in the diaper for more than a couple of hours. This is a great style of diaper if you're looking for something easy or if your baby is frequently in the care of others.
To complete our cloth diapering set-up, we also purchased two pail liners that get washed with our diapers, several dozen baby face cloths that we use for wipes, two Snappies (the modern day diaper pin), a reusable bag for our dirty diapers when we're on the go and cloth diaper safe diaper cream, although sometimes we just use olive oil.
Oliver is two months old and over 12 pounds, so he is now big enough to wear one-size diapers that should last for the rest of his diapering days. A lot of people skip cloth diapers in the first few weeks, because they think it will be too much work or they can't be bothered with tiny diapers. We've only ever used cloth diapers, so I can't say which way is better. All I can attest to is that cloth is working for us, and we're having as much fun as you can have when you're up to your elbows in dirty diapers.
If you have any questions about our diapers, feel free to leave them below. I love talking about cloth diapers! :)