So it's been about 2 months since we started using cloth diapers. I had done quite a bit of research on all the different types and it seemed there wasn't one type that everyone preferred. Because of that, I decided to try a combination and see what I liked best. We have used a combination of:
Mother-ease Sandy's fitteds
Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers
BumGenius one-size AIOs
BumGenius one-size pockets
While I've had success with all of them and any of them would be preferable to disposables in terms of price, convenience, and leaking issues, I now have a much clearer idea of what I plan to use for my next child. I have some friends who plan to use cloth in the future so it was important to me that I get it right and have a few different suggestions for them depending upon their budgets.
Prefolds with either fleece or wrap-style covers. I got 2 fleece ones to try from a WAHM on Etsy [Cornersewn] and once they're on, they work really well and can be used several times before washing. The only thing that can be annoying is that you have to pull them on like underwear, which can be difficult with a squirming baby. As far as wrap-style covers, I much prefer Bummis to Thirsties in terms of quality.
You could probably get away with 24-36 prefolds in newborn size and 18-24 in infant size, it just depends upon how often you do laundry. The majority of the cost will be in the covers. I have 4 of each size and if you use Snappis, that should be sufficient. If not, you might need more because once they get poop on them, you have to put them in the laundry.
Middle of the Road
Fitted diapers in at least 2 sizes with your choice of covers. You won't need as many covers with fitteds because you shouldn't have many leaks, if any at all. I haven't had a leak yet. I have Sandy's fitteds in XS and S and while Bay can wear the XS with the bottom snaps left undone [she's 13+ pounds], we could have skipped the XS size altogether. Unless you're expecting a preemie, I would go straight to size S.
One-size all-in-ones and a few one-size pockets for nighttime. Even though this is the priciest option, it is still way cheaper than disposables, especially when you factor in subsequent children and/ or resale value. I plan on doing this with the rest of my children because it's so convenient and you only buy one set of diapers that work from birth to potty training.
I have only used BumGenius, which I absolutely recommend, and one Dream-eze diaper because it was on sale. Dream-eze, to my knowledge, only sells sized diapers and it leaked several times with my [slightly chunky] baby. They seem to be good quality and may work better with smaller babies but I won't be using them again. Plus, I just love the one-size option.
As far as BumGenius, I started with two each of AIOs with snaps and pockets with Aplix. The snaps aren't any less convenient for me and they will last longer so I will be buying those from now on. I also like that the AIOs are organic cotton. The pockets are synthetic and have a "Stay-dri" insert that is amazing at soaking up any moisture so I use them exclusively as overnight diapers.
I am slowly building up my stash of AIOs and plan to use them exclusively once Bay grows out of her size S Bummis covers. They are the most expensive option but can be found at a discounted price online when you buy in larger quantities. 36 with 2-3 pockets for night would be an excellent stash but you could probably get away with 24 AIOs if you do laundry every other day. Anyway, I highly recommend them and they are surprisingly slim-fitting even on a newborn. If you want to go this route but don't like the BumGenius or have a tighter budget, there are lots of cheaper AIOs available.