snowangel729 wrote:We found out we were having a little boy
We used cloth diapers 25 years ago on our son. Back then it wasn't that common any more, but we were driven by the need to save money and ecological reasons. The town where we were living had just had to pass a huge bond referendum to build a new landfill, so we didn't want to put all the trash associated with disposable diapers in it.
We used prefolded Gerber diapers, although I did come across some flat ones and used those some. The flats take much more folding after laundering, but they dry almost instantly in the dryer. We did it the old fashioned way to start, with diaper pins and vinyl (plastic) pants, but switched to Gerber diaper covers, which held the diapers in place without using pins after DH stabbed his own thumb diapering the baby. We never stabbed the baby, though.
It was actually pretty easy. We had both a washer and dryer and a clothesline, so on a nice breezy day, I could hang the diapers outside in the sunshine. Your covers and plastic pants should be line-dried. You can clothespin them to plastic hangers and hang them up in the bathroom if you don't have any other place to dry them.
Some white vinegar in the diaper pail water and the wash water took care of odors. We washed all his stuff in the same detergent we used for the rest of the family. I'd dump the diaper pail contents into the washer, set it to spin to get all the dirty water out, do a regular hot wash, and a double rinse.
Cloth diapers become more absorbent after they've been washed a few times. Never use fabric softener on them, as it will make them repel liquid instead of soaking it up.
The only time he ever had diaper rash was not from the diapers but from an antibiotic prescribed for an ear infection. Our friends who disposable-diapered their babies tended to be lax about changing them because the diapers could hold so much urine, and their kids always had a roaring case of diaper rash.
One of the great things about cloth diapers is, if you have diaper pins or some of the new Snappy clips to hold the diaper on the baby, you can air out the baby's behind by just putting the diaper on without a cover or plastic pants. Exposure to air is healthy for baby's skin. A diaper without a cover will leak urine, but any poop will probably be contained. We used to put on just the diaper and put DS down on the floor on an old quilt for airing out sessions.
When he was old enough to sleep through the night, we did use a disposable diaper at night. He was a very skinny baby and attempts to double-diaper him for nighttime with cloth diapers left him with a bottom bigger than his head, and he just didn't look that comfortable.