Cloth diapers have come a long way and the options are endless!
Here are a few different kinds of diapers and diapering systems that are available.
There's nothing wrong with having a mix of different types of diapers.
These are the old style diapers that most people envision when they think of cloth diapers. They are square and can be used with diaper pins or with a diaper wrap you can just fold them and lay them in the wrap. The wrap will hold them in place. This is the most economical way to cloth diaper, 3 dozen plus different sized diaper covers or diaper wraps and your good from birth to potty learning. They make great rags when your done with them. Flats can also be used as inserts for pocket diapers.
Usually 4x6x4 or 4x8x4 these numbers refer to the number of layers in the sides and middle. Called prefolds because the thickness is already pre folded in the middle many people swear by prefolds and they are a great base for any cloth diapering system.
DSQ (Diaper Service Quality) prefolds are pretty much only available online the ones you might find in a department store are not usually of very good quality, look for Chinese or Indian Prefolds. They come in four sizes Preemie, Infant/NB, Premium Infant and toddler sizes, most people only need the Infant/NB and Premium size. These may be pinned or snappied or laid in a diaper wrap. Once baby grows out of the Infant/NB size these may be used as extra soaker inserts for heavier wetting older babies.
Prefolds make great inserts for pocket diapers and when your done with them they can be used as rags.
Shaped or contoured diapers
Diapers that are shaped like an hourglass so no folding is necessary. These do not contain blowouts very well so should be used with a good diaper cover preferable a wrap so you don’t have to try and remove a pull on pant with an explosion under it. ;)
Shaped diapers with elastic gathers at the legs and sometimes at the waist usually they have snap or hook and loop (velcro type) closures but sometimes are made to be snappied or pinned. Fitted diapers require a cover and are easier for sitters to use. These are the best at containing leaks!
Much like a fitted diaper with even more convenience the cover is built in these go on just like a disposable. Great for sitters. They can take a long time to dry.
AI2's (All-in-two diapers)
Just like the name suggests this diaper is a two part diapering system. Usually a shell and an insert. The great thing about All in two diapers is that they are as easy to put on as AIO's, dry much faster and are excellent at containing leaks. The insert alone can be changed if the shell is still dry plus you don't have to un-stuff them when they're soiled. :p
Almost an All in one with a Waterproof barrier fabric on the outer and a stay dry inner (usually Suede cloth or micro fleece) with an opening to stuff with inserts or prefolds. The convenience of an All in one when pre-stuffed and completely customizable absorbency. Wash thoroughly and dry quickly. Many parents choose to use pocket diapers at night. These are great for babies that don't like feeling wet.