Squid wears cloth diapers. And not diaper-service cloth diapers. We wash them ourselves. Cloth diapers? Isn't that gross? Yes, it is. That is, if you consider saving money and the environment gross. Also, for my dear SCA friends, how cool is it to use cloth diapers just like Ye Olden Dayes? I don't recommend a chain maille diaper cover, though.
Seriously, you can spend over $500 in the first year on diapers and wipes for your wee one's bum. You can get pretty much everything you need to cloth diaper for about $200. We have probably spent a bit more than that, but that's mostly because we have tried a few different types before settling on something that works well for us. That leaves more money for books and conventions and Spock ears.
We use pre-folds and PUL covers most of the time. My two must-haves are Econobum Diaper Covers and Snappi Diaper Fasteners. There are bunches of ways to fold a diaper, so I'll let you research Google on your own. The hubby and I use different techniques and both claim that ours is superior. I have not noticed a difference in leaking or other messes, despite which one of us changes the diaper. And Squid dislikes diapers right now, regardless of how they are folded.
So, why Econobum? Because they are cheap, easy, and do exactly what they claim to do. They provide a waterproof cover for the cloth diaper that you can use pretty much the entire time your tot is in diapers. They have snaps on the front that allows the cover to grow with your child. They aren't fancy. They don't come in pretty colors or cool patterns. But they are the most reasonably-priced and they wear pretty well. We've been using pretty much the same ones for the last year or so, and they are still in one piece (even after not following directions and regularly throwing them in the dryer because we are washing diapers at midnight and don't have time to let them hang-dry). We tried other covers, but most only accommodate a range of sizes before you have to buy new ones. And they cost more. Sometimes twice as much. The ones we use cost around $8 each. We have about 7 or 8. It's more than enough to get us through 3 days of diapering between wash loads.
Snappis are a gift from the gods. Seriously. I have no idea how the heck our forebears diapered using pins. I tried it a couple of times and worried endlessly that I would stab the wriggling infant with the diaper pin. Snappis take away all that worry and are very secure. It's a flexible y-shaped fastener with teeth on each end. The teeth grab the cloth, the arms stretch and hold it snug. A miracle if there ever was one. Here's a video showing how to use them:
They come in two sizes - infant and toddler. My only complaint is that we seem to lose them a lot. They should sell them in 5 packs or something a bit more convenient.
Do any of you cloth diaper? What items make your cloth diapering experiences successful?