One thing you'll often hear as a newbie to cloth diapering is to not spend a ton of money on one brand or type of diapers before you're able to try them with your child. The reason for this is because different types of diapers and different brands of diapers work differently for every baby. Until you know for sure that a brand works for your kid, it's smart to hold off on buying three dozen of them, even if they ARE on sale.
But WHY exactly? You've heard great things about Brand X diapers and you know you want to use them!
Well, let's look at Suzy. Suzy was sure she was going to love all-in-ones (also called AIOs...they're so easy - they're just like disposables!), so she bought a ton of GroVia AIOs on the advice of a friend, who uses them and just adores them. However, when she started using them, she discovered that they take WAY too long to dry, and she hated not being able to adjust the absorbency easily, and she slowly realized that AIOs just aren't for her family. Or maybe she loves everything about AIOs and that type of diaper is working well, but the GroVia brand specifically just doesn't fit her baby's thighs and they leaked every time. So all that cash Suzy invested in GroVia? Down the drain while she tries to figure out what DOES work best for her baby. They worked great for her friend, but not for her.
And this holds true for every brand and type. There is no one type or brand that is going to work perfectly for every family!
Another example: Jane thinks that she's going to love pockets (the benefits of AIOs but they dry faster and you can switch out the inserts!), so she did a bunch of research and found that bumGenius are well reviewed - and she found a great sale! - so she buys two dozen. But she soon discovers that she just hates having to fish out inserts from poopy diapers. Or maybe she discovers that she hate stuffing the pockets after washing them. Or maybe after using them she finds out that her child has a suedecloth sensitivity and can't use bumGenius diapers because of that.
On the other hand, Mary thought she would be frugal and got all prefolds and covers. But in using them, she discovered that the process of trying to fit a prefold and a separate cover on her wiggly kid who hates getting his diaper changed is just too much of a struggle. Or maybe she finds that with her kid's sensitive skin, she needs a diaper with a stay-dry feeling.
So Mary, Jane, and Suzy now have to try to find a brand that works for them, figure out something to do in the meantime, unload the stash that they have (and possibly lose money in the process), and buy more diapers. Now COULD you get lucky and find that the brand and type you invested so heavily in work perfectly for you on the first try? Sure! Of course! But it doesn't always work that way.
(Note: Prefolds and covers generally get an exemption from this rule because they're SO very cheap (i.e. you can get an entire newborn system for less than $75 if you look for used diapers and deals) and even if you hate them, the prefolds can later be used as doublers, inserts, burp cloths, changing pads, etc., so you'll get use out of them no matter what.)
So what should you do? Your baby isn't here yet so you can't figure out what works for you, but you really want to start building up your stash! Or maybe your baby IS here, but you're still not sure where to start, and reading all this didn't clear things up at all.
It's time to move on to Building a Stash, Part 2!