I’ve been doing tons of research myself on cloth diapers, and then tried to explain to Darling Husband, lol. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
In general I’ve found there’s 3 main options. 1 – All in Ones, 2 – Cover plus an insert, 3 – pocket diaper.
All in One (AIOs) – These are considered the easiest cloth diaper and the most similar to disposables. They’re all one piece, when dirty take the entire thing off and wash. The con is that they’re more expensive than other types of diapers and can take longer to dry due to all the layers of material needed for absorbency. Bum Genius does have a new type called Freetime, where the inner layer is attached at only one end, which is supposed to make drying quicker.
Cover plus insert – These are basically 2 layers. One is an absorbent layer that goes closest to baby. There’s also an outer layer to make it waterproof. The benefit to this type of system is that you can keep reusing the cover for multiple changings, and just change the insert. The insert also dries quicker than AIOs. For the inner layer you can use:
Pre-folds – these are basically square of cloth with extra layers in the middle that get folded and then secured around the baby. You can use a little clip thing called a snappi, or updated diaper pins that lock closed. This configuration is the cheapest option, and the inserts should not have a problem drying. The bad thing is that you have to fold them and then secure them around the baby.
Contours – This is like a prefold that doesn’t need to be folded, it basically looks diaper shaped but has nothing to secure it. You can secure with a snappi/pins, or I’ve heard you can also just wrap it around the baby and put the cover on to secure the entire thing.
Fitteds – This is an insert that goes on just like an AIO or a cover with built in snaps or velcro. Just like the other inserts it’s not waterproof, so it needs a cover.
Inserts – these are strips of cloth that get laid in the diaper instead of securing around the baby. These are inexpensive and don’t require the extra step of putting them on the baby before the cover. They can also be used as “doubler” on top of one of the other types of inserts for extra wetness protection.
Pocket Diapers – These are like an AIO, except that you need to stuff the pocket with an absorbent insert. In some of these you need to take the insert out before washing, and in some the washer agitates them out. The drying time is quicker, but the drawback is that you need to stuff each diaper.
Personally, when the time comes I’m leaning towards some of the BG Freetimes, along with some Thirsties Duo diaper wraps and either their inserts or contour diapers.