Types of Cloth Diapers
A pre-fold is a piece of flannel that has been pre-folded and sewn with a bulk in the middle. You have to do some folding and tucking when you use a pre-fold. You also have to use some type of closure be it pins, a cover, or snappie. People like the pre-fold for the price. A pre-fold can be a little bulky, though it doesn't bother most.
Here you can find a picture of a flat pre-fold that is folded "Jelly roll" style. http://www.littlefornow.com/pages/jellyroll-prefold.php
a fitted is a diaper that has been cut and sewn into a diaper shape. There is no folding involved and they usually have elastic to fit better. They usually close using a snap or velcro. They need some sort of cover too.
I make and sell these in my etsy shop here.
These are like the fitteds except there is a layer of PUL (polyurethane laminate) that is water proof. This makes it so the diaper doesn't need a cover. Some people love these, because there is less to deal with. On the other hand they aren't breathable and if your baby gets rashes this can make them worse or cause them.
These are like the AIO's except the absorbent layer isn't sewn into the diaper. You have to stuff the pocket with an insert for absorbency. These are nice for drying purposes with the insert separate they dry faster. These may or may not require a cover depending on if they have a PUL layer or not. They usually do have a PUL layer and so don't need a cover.
I can make and sell these also. I don't keep any stocked in my shop, but you can place an order here.
This is a diaper that ties on your baby. They can be made out of a variety of fabrics from old t-shirts to hemp and bamboo. Usually you want a lay-in insert for more absorbtion. They are not to diffucult to tie on, You can even tie them in the back if you have a child that you think will untie them, or won't lay still for a diaper change. This diapers need a cover.
I will make tie nappies also for you order here.
Closures: this is just a personal preference.
Pins- I hate pins. I was always sticking myself and worried about sticking the baby, but they do let you customize the fit of the diaper. And they are a cheap alternative! You will only have to use these on the pre-folds and some fitteds.
Snaps- I personally use snaps. I bought a snap press with resin snaps. I put lots of snaps on my diapers, so I have quite a bit of different fits in one diaper. My diapers fit from 7-35 lbs.
Velcro- when you use velcro on diapers you don't want it to be velcro you want it to be aplix. The aplix holds up better. You want to make sure that it has a washing flap. This is so that you you can attach the aplix to something while washing or you end up with a bunch of diapers all stuck together making your aplix wear out sooner. I personally don't like this, I found it to difficult to work with. Plus the kids can take off the diapers easier as they get older.
Snappi- you can go here http://www.snappibaby.com/products/snappidiaperfastener.html I haven't ever used these, but lots of people love them. You use these with a pre-fold or a fitted that doesn't have snaps or aplix.
Liners or covers:
Liners- there are some diapers that use liners that are flushable, but I personally think that if you are using diapers you are doing it for one of two reasons,
1- you want to save money (and purchasing liners isn't doing that)
2- you want to be environmentally friendly (I don't think that flushable diaper liners is the best way to do that, wouldn't reusable ones make more sense?)
So I think if you want a liner it should be cloth.
Liners have a few purposes. In some diapers they are just a liner that makes diaper clean up easier. For others they are used for absorbency purposes. You can also use them when you have a rash you are dealing with and don't want to get the cream on the diaper. (creams usually aren't good for diapers) If your diaper isn't absorbing enough and you have leaks you may want to add a liner or two to help absorb more.
Covers- I have lots to say about covers, but I will be short and sweet.
there are 3 different covers I know of.
1- Plastic pants. These are cheap, but they aren't breathable, and my kids always had issues with the elastic on their legs.
2- PUL covers. These can come with snaps or aplix. and that is just a personal pref. These are the most common cover out there. but they again aren't breathable.
3- Fleece covers. These are easy to make and easy to find. Some people like these because they are breathable. On the down side though you have to wash them every couple diaper changes.
4- Wool covers. These I love. Wool is breathable and soft and warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There are- wraps that snap or aplix. There are- soakers that are like bloomers that pull on. There are- longies that are like pants. Then you can have fun and make shorites or capris, and if you are having a little girl you can have a little skirtie that you put over either a soaker or a longie. For woolies you only have to wash them about once a month, unless they get poo on them. Then you should lanolize them for maxime usage. This isn't a hard or long process, for more info see the wool info page.
For a newborn (and a beginning diaperer) I think the best diapers are prefolds. I used prefolds from the beginning. I cut them so they were contoured and then used covers for them with a fleece liner. Then as your baby gets bigger about 4 months you can start to try out different diapers.