The great thing about cloth diapering is there are about a million ways to do it. This is part of what makes it so confusing when you're a newbie - you're getting different advice from everyone and you kind of start to think that everyone is crazy and nobody knows what's what. The thing is, something different is going to work for everyone, and you really just have to jump in and find what works for you and your baby.
We've been cloth diapering for awhile now, and while it was very intimidating at first, I think we've finally figured out what works for us.
The Diapers: As you can see, our stash is really varied. That's the best way to go in my opinion; I always have an option for all of my diapering needs!
The bulk of our stash consists of prefolds and covers - I initially bought these because they are the most inexpensive option (well, besides flats! I still haven't been brave enough to learn how to use those!) but I've ended up liking them a lot more than I anticipated. I generally use these when I have E all to myself; most other people who watch him aren't huge fans of cloth diapering and don't want to pull out the wet and potentially soiled insert to switch it for a new one, but I don't mind it at all. I almost never have leaks with my prefolds and covers, and often use them for overnights.
I have several different brands of pocket diapers - each brand has a feature that they're best at, and I haven't met a brand that I have no occasion for. Some I like better for nights, some I feel are super reliable for when we go out (and cute - that's important to me because I want people to think "What? A cloth diaper? CUTE!" not "What, a cloth diaper? Ick!") and some are trimmer and look better under clothes, but are better for shorter periods of time. It all just depends, so that's why I really love that I have a mix. I definitely would not change my wide variety even if I could afford to buy a whole new matching stash!
AIO (All In One) diapers are a minority in my stash, and in my humble opinion are a luxury item. I only have a couple of these, and while I don't feel that they're a necessity in a cloth diaper stash, they are quite convenient. They're my first choice to leave with babysitters, because there is nothing different about them than a disposable diaper besides the fact that they are washable! A velcro AIO diaper is very non-intimidating to people not familiar with cloth, and that helps a lot when you're trying to convince people that cloth diapering is not that hard. Or weird. Or crazy. But since caregivers aren't doing the washing, they're not really going to notice the difference between an AIO or a pocket. So they're cool and nice and convenient, but I certainly wouldn't die without them.
Fitteds are even rarer than AIOs in our house - when I first tried one I didn't "get" it. Most other diapers have a polyurethane lining (PUL) - basically, plastic - to keep it from leaking; fitteds do not. They are very trim, and come in a million adorable prints, but because of their lack of PUL they need a cover (same covers you would use with a prefold!). That made no sense to me - I know some people worry about the chemicals in the PUL, but I am not one of those, so fitteds just perplexed me (why have such a cute diaper just to cover it up? WHY?). However, a couple of months ago E got a pretty bad diaper rash and Katie told me to put him in a fitted overnight - since there is no "plastic" lining, it allows the air to circulate and would help the rash get better. GENIUS. It totally worked. And ever since then fitteds have totally clicked for me, and I wish I had more. As I type, E is in one for the night because again, he has a bit of a rash (I'm making it sound like he gets them a lot, but he really doesn't. He just happened to have one today!). If I add to my stash it will probably be more of these, and I would definitely say having a few of these is a necessity. That being said, I personally probably wouldn't build a stash of exclusively fitteds.
Now, of the above, probably two-thirds have snap closures and one-third have velcro. When I first started out, I preferred velcro - it's very similar to putting on a disposable diaper, it's fast so you can hurry up and do it before your squirmy toddler gets away, and there is less guesswork involved in getting the right fit. As E has gotten older, though, he's figured out how to get a velcro diaper off. That is bad, bad news. Remember the time I woke up and his diaper was off and he almost pooped in my bed?! Yeah. So my preference changed. To snaps. Which he still does not know how to remove. I'm thrilled about being able to let him run around outside in just a diaper this summer without having to worry about him going streaking. As a bonus, snaps tend to last longer than velcro, so if you're planning on using your diapers for multiple children it's a way better investment. Now, personal preference and investments aside, I think there is a place in every stash for both. Velcro is so much better for apprehensive caregivers. It's so similar to disposable diapering and it's so easy to get a leak free fit. Even now, I occasionally have to adjust E's snappage after I've already put the diaper on and sent him on his way, and for someone who isn't the primary caregiver and isn't used to cloth it can be really confusing. Refer to the above picture of the way my mom put on a snap diaper. Lol!
So those are the diapers that make up our stash. How about you? How do you cloth diaper?