Wow, this is my first post at Connected Mom! I guess I should introduce myself and my family first. I am a WAHM to six little (and not so little!) ones who range in age from 14 years to 7 months. We have previously homeschooled and plan to again, have always co-slept until the kids were ready to move out of my bed into their own, and have worked at becoming more green over the last few years. We have also used cloth diapers for about a year.
Cloth diapering is one of the choices that I have made that has allowed us to reduce our impact on the environment exponentially, but if you are just starting out you may feel overwhelmed by the choices that are out there. I didn't understand pockets, or AIO's until I actually had one in my hand to try out for myself. There are several basic types of diapers, but my advice is to start simple.
Prefolds and covers are super easy to use and care for, so my advice is to start there and then gather different kinds of diapers until you find out which types you prefer. The best thing you can do if you need to find out which diapers you prefer is to buy a sampler or starter pack. They might seem expensive, but they are worth every dollar since you will have one of each type of diaper to try out for yourself. If you are on a budget, like I was, then look for deals on cloth diaper forums and auction sites.
Starting simple is cost effective, too. You can get 2 dozen prefolds and 10 covers for under $200, and these diapers will last for several years or more. Prefolds can also double as dust rags and can be used in the kitchen as a substitute for paper towels after your baby outgrows them, too.
If you know that you want to use another type of diaper, such as pocket diapers, then look for package deals that allow you to save. A 12 pack of cloth diapers is less than $300, and can be used through potty training if you choose a one-sized diaper.
Don't get overwhelmed by trying to stock up too fast. Take your time and try the many different types of cloth diapers out as your budget allows you. In no time, you will have a full stash and will start seeing the savings build up once your stash is complete. I haven't had to buy a diaper in several months, which means more money in my pocket and less trash in a landfill. If you have any questions about starting your stash, feel free to ask.