The next thing I want to talk about is the four basic styles- pros and cons. I'm including a guesstimate of what I paid for the ones I bought in each category. Tomorrow I'll get into sources-- where and how to buy CHEAP, then I plan to finish up with a few handy little tips to make it all easier :)
AIO; these are by far the easiest and most like disposables. You don't have to keep track of liners or soakers-- it's a one piece, one step operation. They're also usually the most expensive. And sometimes they leak, because you can't add layers of absorption to take care of nightimes or long car rides and such. And they take For. Ever. to dry in the dryer. FOREVER.
I only have one of these-- because I didn't like it. I bought it new, on sale, and it came out to about $20 with shipping. Yikes!
Pockets, as I mentioned, are pretty much the same as AIOs. The only difference is that the absorptive part is separate, which means you can add in as much or as little as you need in the circumstance. It also means that you have to keep track of liners and shells and re-assemble the diaper every time you wash. I tend to re-pack them as I fold and put away, but then I still will need to adjust for extra absorbancy, when I want it. Somewhat less convenient. And you do have to actually touch the wet soaker pad to pull it out of the pocket before laundering. But they dry MUCH faster!
These are my favorites. The ones I bought I found on Ebay for $5 each- no shipping cost. They're knock-offs from Hong Kong, but so far they work great! I also have made several for myself, for about the same price-- but cuter :)
With both AIOs and Pockets, I HIGHLY recommend you find a brand that has FLEECE linings, not flannel or bamboo. Fleece is God's gift to women with a high gag reflex. The poop just slides right off-- I barely even need to swish!! It's wonderful.
Shaped/Contoured diapers are still fairly convenient when it comes to the actual diaper change. You have a diaper-shaped cotton or bamboo piece that snaps around the baby's legs, just like a Pocket or AIO. You can add layers (with extra soakers) for more absorpency. But then you need a water-proof cover and (at least I recommend it) a liner. Ideally fleece. This provides a dampness barrier and, as I mentioned, helps with poop removal. If you're counting, that's a three-piece diaper. Now we're starting to get a little more complex. It's still pretty fast, definitely cheaper and super easy to wash and dry.
I bought a stash of these (about 10), in excellent used condition, from Craigslist and paid $2 each. I use them often and like them a lot.
With Pre-folds we've reached the absolute bottom rung in price. They also happen to be the most labor intensive at changing time. Also the highest number of moving parts :) You have a rectangular piece of cotton or bamboo, pins or a snappi and a water-proof cover. That's four. It's a little tough to juggle while trying to pin down an active toddler on the changing table. But, like I said, they're C.H.E.A.P. And you do eventually get a rhythm down-- I've gotten pretty fast with the snappis. And. They're cheap.
I paid $15 for a lot of 20, I believe, on ebay. I use these when I've not gotten around to washing and I've run out of everything else. This happens more often than you might think...
That's a short run-down of my experience with the four basic kinds. You might look at that list and think you know exactly which one will work best for you. Or not. My opinion is, buy four or five of each kind and try them out for a while before you commit.