I was totally in your situation when I initially decided to try cloth diapering while pregnant with DS1, except my DH was even more skeptical than yours!
Everyone has different favorites and preferences, but after months of trial and error, and dozens of brands/types of diapers, here's what we've settled on, and it works great for us.
First of all, I don't use cloth 100% of the time. We have disposables in our diaper bag, DS is in a disposable when I drop him at the church nursery, etc. We also use disposables at night because I haven't found anything else that works and doesn't leave DS with a red bottom in the morning. And we used disposables for the first 6 weeks until he was big enough to fit into our stash of one-size diapers.
I ended up hating pockets, sold them all, and now exclusively use Bum Genius Elemental (Organic) All-in-Ones. They are so easy to put on and off, no stuffing or un-stuffing, no velcro to curl and get all messed up in the laundry, and organic cotton inside, which I like. They are super absorbent, and we've never had a leak, even when I leave them on longer than I should. They do stain easily, but the sun gets the stains out for us. I also have a crappy washer and dryer, but have never had a problem getting them clean and stink-free. I use All Free and Clear detergent, cause I can buy it pretty cheap with a coupon at Costco.
I also ended up hating our lidded diaper pail with pail liner (stinky) so now we use a Planet Wise hanging wetbag (hangs by a loop on DS's closet doorknob). It zips open and closed, and when it's zipped closed there is absolutely no hint of a smell. And then you just invert it into the washer (to dump out the diapers) and toss it in, too. You can buy smaller ones to keep in your diaper bag and use them to bring home dirty diapers when you're out and about. They totally contain the stink and mess.
So, that's my two cents! Hope that helps! I promise it really is SO easy once you get started. There's so much laundry to do with a baby, that the extra laundry hasn't really bothered me. I just do a load first thing every morning (every 2 days it's a diaper load and on the other days it's just a load of our clothes or towels or whatever). I love never having to run to the store to buy diapers! Like I said, we do use sposies sometimes, but the big box of Huggies from Costco lasts 6 months at our house. And now that we have #2 on the way, we'll really get good use out of our one-size BGs and save even more!
DS Asher born 11/29/09
DD Clara born 3/9/12
Amanda's post reminded me--I definitely found that I liked snaps better than velcro in the long run, even though they do take slightly longer to put on/line up, when baby gets old enough to start pulling off velcro, you will love your snaps (Also, the curling and laundry chains are suuuuuper annoying after a while.)
I wanted to just pick and stick with one kind too. But over time, sales, hand me downs, etc., I ended up trying a few different kinds, and ultimately, it really does help you figure out what works best FOR YOU. Everyone's situation is different!
Wow, it looks like you got tons of great advice. I agree with pretty much what everyone says.
I think sposies smell way worse. When DS was first home from the hospital, we used the leftover sposies at night time so we didn't have to fumble with prefolds... we quickly noticed how strong his pee smelled compared to when he was wearing a CD. As for stinky storage, its basically the same. In both scenarios (CD vs. Sposy) you still have a pail with a liner full of dirty diapers. Ours never smell unless you open the lid. The only difference is that instead of carrying the bag full of diapers to the trash, you carry them to the washer instead (which is a way shorter walk at our house ) We also have a wet bag that unzips at the bottom. So its super easy to gather the top of the bag shut, carry it to the washer, then unzip the bottom and they all fall out. Then you just throw the bag in.
I also agree that your DH is gonna get the hang of it all. Whether you use cloth or disposables, your baby is still gonna poo and he is still gonna have to deal with it. As for being out in public... we just have a small wet bag. so when we change a diaper it just zips into the bag... you can't smell it at all.
I agree with everyone else also about getting a varied stash. I too have liked different things at different times. Even from day to day, I prefer a different diaper for different situations. The prefolds seem daunting, but they really aren't that bad. We use the fold that Midori posted about. Its super fast and easy... although we use a snappi to hold it in place. My suggestion would just be to order a couple different types. If I were doing it all over again starting right now, I would order a dozen prefolds, about 3-4 thirsties covers, a couple BG AIOs and a couple BG and FB pockets. We had a tiny baby so we mostly just used prefolds at first b/c that was pretty much all that fit him. Now I like to use pockets at night (or a huge fitted with a cover) and prefolds at home and AIOs when we are out and about, or if we have someone watch him.
HTHs!! GL!! As prepared as I was from all the reading and studying I had done, I was still very nervous about whether we would actually be able to stick with it. I was thrilled to find out that its ridiculously easy. I honestly have no idea why people even use disposables. I will even say that we moved last weekend and my dad kept Corbin for about 6 hours and he hasn't taken care of a baby solo since we were babies, so it was a huge step for him. He even changed his diaper a couple times and had no problems!! If he can do it, ANYONE can do it! haha!
Switching to cloth is very overwhelming! I have a friend IRL who is TTC her first and asked me what I think about cloth, and I sent her like 10+ paragraphs in 5 separate facebook messages with all sorts of information to consider and answers to her questions, so it is a LOT of information to take in.
Ease of use: On this point, we decided to go with pockets. I have no interest in prefolds whatsoever, and I knew pockets would be my best bet for convincing DH to switch. I just prestuff everything, put them in our diaper drawer, and they are ready to go just like sposies.
One brand/type: I agree with the others, this is not the best idea. I totally recommend seeking out a diaper trial. I did that and it was beyond helpful! I thought I wanted velcro, but ended up preferring snaps. I thought BumGeniuses were the brand I wanted, but they fit DS weird and I ended up loving Fuzzibunz instead. Having a trial where I could try 5-6 different brands of dipes was exactly what I needed as a newbie to help me figure out what worked for us.
Ease of washing: Like the ladies said, they all pretty much wash the same. And I've heard that old top loaders often have an easier go than HE machines (like mine.) I have to do lots of extra rinses to keep the stinkies away, but I haven't noticed a change in our water bill at all.
Smell free storage: Our DS1 is in sposies (he's being potty trained and we didn't see the point in buying cloth for him when he'd be out of diapers shortly) and DS2 is in cloth, and I must say that our diaper pail does NOT smell any worse than our diaper genie. As long as it has a lid and you don't leave it too long between washes you should be just fine.
I hope you can wade through the mass amounts of information to find out what will work best for your situation
You've gotten so much good advice already!! I'll just add...
We used prefolds and covers from two weeks old until 6 mos old (and probably could have gone til 7 mos with those same diapers, but we moved and they went into storage). My DH got so used to the prefolds that he couldn't figure out a disposable. He kept breaking them and putting them on backwards!! So, yeah, even though you might think they seem harder it just comes down to what you learn and get used to.
Because a few people mentioned it... Don't the BumGenius 4.0 pockets have inserts that are supposed to come out on their own in the wash?? We use BG AIOs and Flips (love them now that DD is older! cheap and super easy!) but I thought I read that about the new BG pockets.
Also, as everyone else has said, once you actually start you will forget so quickly that it was ever overwhelming. It will become just the way it is, and chances are you will love it!!!
Mara & Joel, 2009
I hope this doesn't overwhelm you more but I wanted to add.
One of the best parts about cloth diapering and my husband totally agrees, cloth wipes! When we were out of town and had to use disposable diapers and wipes we could never get his butt clean. Both of us agreed the cloth wipes are the best! You just wash them with the diapers. What I did was get a diaper wipe warmer (a good one from Prince Lionheart I think, it even broke and they replaced it for free). Then I wet a stack of cloth wipes put them in the warmer on the dresser changing table and had a small foaming soap bottle for poopie clean ups. The foaming soap was made for cloth diapers I think Northern Essence? it's been a while.
I did try a few pockets but prefolds (tri-folded in the cover, no pins or snappies) were the best, least likely to leak/blowout. The cheapest too and now I'm so excited to cloth diaper again in February. Another good thing about cloth diapers is your child may potty train early. My DS potty trained at 23 months, it was over about 2-3 months and very easy for my husband and I, he just needed a little encouragement and some rewards. I will have had a year off diapers (he's also night trained too by last Feb) and I look forward to getting all the diaper supplies out again.