While pregnant with the Goose, I became fascinated with cloth diapers. Something I read really sealed the deal for me, though - a mom said that she didn't have to worry about running out of diapers and needing to pack up the kids and go to the store, she just threw in a load of laundry. We live about 25 miles from stores where I'd buy diapers (small town grocery stores are *really* expensive on that sort of thing!) so that comment really stuck. (I love this pic of Goose, wearing her cow leg warmers and reading a nappy book. :>))
I wasn't sure where to start, though. Luckily I had some acquaintances (now friends :>))in the Nebraska Friends of Midwives that use cloth, so I was able to garner a number of opinions. One mentioned that she purchased several different kinds of diapers at first, figured out what she liked, and then went with those. I did a crazy amount of searching and clicking around - about that time, I was experiencing some anxiety (which I'm going to have to cover once I get caught up on writing some about me posts!) and thinking about cloth diapers helped soothe that, for whatever reason.
Please note that none of these links are affiliate links, nor have I utilized the companies - they are just links that I found helpful.
Were I to start from scratch, I might try something like one of these sampler packages. If you try doing a search for "cloth diaper starter kit" or "cloth diaper sample package" or something like that, you'll likely find more. Ooh, I found a bunch of links that I stumbled across a long time ago, you can find more sampler packs here, here, here, here, and here. Note that some of the returns are for credit.
My decision was mostly made from the start, because Patty, one of my NFOM acquaintances (now a dear friend), was a retailer for Happy Heineys. She was also expecting a baby about the same time I was expecting the Honker, so we had a fun time comparing pregnancies. Hers was baby #5, though. :>) In addition to the Happy Heinys, I also bought some Fuzzi Bunz and a couple of Bumkins All-In-Ones (AIOs). I didn't even try prefolds and covers after hearing Patty wax poetic about pocket diapers.
If you want to learn more about cloth diapers, there are tons of great sites. Some that I found helpful include the diapering forum at Mothering.com, Diaper Pin, Pinstripes and Polkadots, and Punkin Butt. Though I'll admit I've not read through them in quite a while! If you really want to kill some time, visit Diaper Swappers. You can learn tons about diapering and a lot of other natural family practices, and there is also a huge marketplace for gently used and some new diapers. It moves FAST though!
I didn't like the AIOs because Goose felt wet right away. With the pocket diapers, I could go about up to 2 hours between changes (unless she was dirty, of course). A pocket diaper has two layers in itself - in the case of the Happy Heinys and the Fuzzi Bunz, the outer layer is waterproof PUL, and the inner layer is fleece. You then use something absorbent as an insert.
Both Happy Heinys and Fuzzi Bunz make a one-size diaper. Goose pretty much fell off the bottom of the growth chart (though she has always been perfectly healthy) and I didn't care for the one-sizes for her. But every baby is different. I preferred the cut of the Fuzzi Bunz diapers and the way they fit Goose, but I liked the aplix (velcro) closure of the Happy Heinys better.
When Goose was tiny, I used cotton washcloths. Then Happy Heinys came out with a microfiber insert which I really liked at first. But eventually I had trouble getting them clean and they got stinky. I really liked the absorbency of the microfiber, though, and so I switched to microfiber towels, which I purchased in the auto department of Wal-Mart. Note that they should never be put directly on baby's skin, though.
I'll post later on our routine and the important part - washing diapers! [edit - you can read it here.]