we started cloth diapering around 5 months, took a hiatus at 10 months for 6 weeks (leon would not tolerate long changing sessions), and have been doing 3-4 day cycles once a week since then. i have a coin-op laundry in the basement, so washing and drying not only gets expensive, but it's a pain to find quarters so frequently. i thought about doing a diaper service, but the only one available in my area provides their own diapers. i've found a combination of prefolds, pockets, and fitteds that works for me, so i wasn't interested in a predetermined selection of diapers.
my minimalist diaper 'stash' includes:
12 medium sized pre-folds from green mountain diapers
2 pockets from apple cheeks (purchased used from the diaperswapper.com)
2 medium fitteds from sustainable babyish (these run small), great for long naps.
6 pul covers (my favorite is the thirstie duo wrap because leon is so skinny)
2 wool covers, one from little beetles, the other from the defunct luxe baby.
if i could start over, i would have bought 2 more wool covers. leon has only had 2 almost-blow outs while cloth diapering (rarely with disposables, too), so the wool doesn't really get dirty. it's breathable, water-repellent, and neutralizes ammonia. i balked at the price of wool ($30-50 for nice interlock, but you can knit your own, or buy repurposed wool), but they're actually more affordable that i had thought. between the two wool covers, i can use 6 prefolds and the 2 fitteds. all you have to do is air the cover out compared with rinsing and drying the pul cover (which i'm too lazy to do). i use this tutorial to lanolize and wash my covers once every 3 weeks. i'm glad i've found a use for all that extra lansinoh left in the tube.
i may be lucky in that leon has remained a slim baby. we've been using the same prefolds and covers since he was 5 months, but he's also only 20 lbs at 17 months. maybe cloth would have been more expensive if he had had a major growth spurt. i've seen people buy 5 pocket or aio diapers at a time at my local diaper shop ($20-25 each), and although i've been tempted by the rumparooz and fuzzi bunz, saving money has been one of the main reasons that i use cloth. i've spent less than $280 on detergent, snappis, wet bags, doublers, diapers, and covers. laundry is $3 per week, and disposables are $30 per month. i'm terrible at math, but i'd like to think i've done ok so far.
one of the hard parts of cloth diapering is finding clothes that fit over the extra bulk. i can do a pretty trim diaper with a snappi'd prefold and cover, but we always size up with onesies. leon doesn't outgrow the carter's onesies as often as he does with gerber or baby gap. pants are tricky because they tend to have a low rise. which is why i was excited to see these corduroy pants on baby gap's site.
i swear by catherine's wool jersey pants. you can ask her to increase the rise to accommodate a cloth diapered bum. leon finally outgrew one pair (both purchased last october), and the other one is still loose on him. he wore them nearly every day last winter, and finally wore through the knees. i patched them up, so they're ready for another baby (if not mine, then a friend's).