We have two kiddos, 18 months apart (and a 3rd on the way). When we were expecting our first baby, I knew I wanted to try cloth diapering because 1) cost and 2) environmental impacts. They also just felt softer and more comfortable against babes skin. I wanted to be realistic about it though, if it didn't work out, I was okay with that. It felt like there were enough pressures as a new mom and I didn't want this to just be one more.
We inherited a 3rd generation lot of Bum Genius original pocket-styles and registered for a few new all-in-ones. I went crazy researching cloth diapering, finding so much conflicting information. I spent endless hours on Pinterest, pinning pictographs and articles about the very best way to cloth diaper your baby.
I finally asked a friend who had been using cloth for a few months to stop over, explain the terms, show me what I had and what I needed and how to use them/wash them. I learned I was way over-complicating things. Each brand tells you to use their inserts and wash a certain way and to "strip" them. The lingo gets overwhelming, but cloth diapering isn't overwhelming, it's pretty simple.
Here's my take on the cloth experience:
I have 22 cloth diapers. I wash every-other-day. I don't use a toilet sprayer. When babe soils diaper, I take out the insert when I change them, throw both insert and cover (or the whole thing if it's an all-in-one) into the wet bag. I dump the whole bag out into the wash and usually throw the bag in too. The first wash cycle, I do "cold" and use about 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar. The second cycle, I do "hot" and 1/2 the recommended detergent amount. We love Mrs. Meyers at my house. I line dry the covers on a rack in our washroom (in the sun if it's out) and dry the inserts in the dryer. When everything's dry, I stuff the inserts in, roll them up and put them back in the nursery to be used. Boom, done. If I really get in a pinch, like didn't get my laundry done until we're out of cloth, I wash them and throw everything in the dryer, covers and all. So many online forums say not to do this. Well, it all turned out just fine.
I stop using cloth around 12-15 months, when the poo becomes real solid. This is about the time I stop breastfeeding too, so that makes a difference. One babe poos at the same time each day, so I'd use disposable for the poo and do cloth the rest of the day. I took a small wet bag with us on the go and brought cloth most of the time. We used disposable sometimes too, we weren't too hard on ourselves about this.
The idea of "stripping" the diapers is when too much detergent or oil from babe's waste builds up and they are no longer as absorbent as they use to be. The sun does wonders to fix this. Wash them with a little bleach and put them out to dry. The "sanitizing" wash on the dishwasher also does wonders. I only had to do this once and I used my diapers with both babes, back-to-back.
My husband and mother-in-law all have no complaints for cloth diapering. It was way easier than we expected and it saved us so much money between our kiddos. Number three is on the way so we'll use them again with him. We're using more water and detergent but still coming out way ahead.
We love our Bum Genius and recommend them to friends. Here at blooming kids, we have over 13 different brands of cloth diapers. Come in, get your hands on them, ask us questions. We have customers who find just the right combo of inserts and covers and swear by their systems. We have customers who only use cloth at night or only as swim diapers. Get creative, they're so versatile and easy to use. We only buy the best and they're priced 50% of new retail. We have wet bags too so can get you all set up.
As with most things baby: simple is best. I found this true of cloth as well. I way over-thought it and didn't need to. It's just something they poo and pee in anyway!