At a total loss as to where to start? All the different FAQs and information making your head spin? Still not sure you have a good grip on the different types of diapers?
Here's a "timeline" of the basic cloth diaper journey with links to useful posts, with a more expanded explanation following:
4. Use! (Just put it on the kid. No, really! That's it!)
I always recommend that you start by watching the Cloth Diapering Video 101 series. These videos are highly useful and informative! You can also check out our post on the different types of diapers here, if you're more the reading/picture type.
If you're thirsty for information, skim the FAQ link at the top of this blog. If you see any questions that jump out at you, click them to learn more. While you don't have to memorize every single thing (and it's not recommended unless you want to stuff your head full of things you may not ever use!), just knowing in the back of your head that there's an answer to a question can help with confidence.
The cloth diapering community has its own set of lingo that can be confusing - so definitely check out the acronym and dictionary page if you're starting to get lost on what the AIOs and OS and FSOTs sprinkled around posts mean. Again, you don't have to memorize it all, but knowing that the resource is there if you get lost is helpful.
It can get overwhelming! Take it slow. Don't feel like you have to read it all at once or know it all immediately. Anytime a specific question comes up, come back and check to see if there's an answer. Or better yet...ask! Most cloth diapering mamas absolutely love to talk cloth. (A good place for this? Our Facebook page!)
After you have a good handle on everything, you can start thinking about buying your first diaper. For hints on building your stash, read the "Building Your Stash - Part 1" post (and obviously follow up with Part 2!). Consider enrolling in a diaper trial to try some different brands and diaper types out. You might also want to think about checking out used diapers for a cheap way to add diapers to your collection. If you're cloth diapering a newborn, be sure to read why one-size diapers won't work right away (and also find out what's up with newborn poop!).
Any time you're considering purchasing a brand of diaper, cover, insert, accessory, etc., check out the reviews put together by users (click the various tabs along the bottom to see the different categories). Not sure where to buy? The "Favorite Retailers" list at the top of the blog might help!
It's also helpful to know how many diaper to buy and what accessories you might need. Once you have your diapers, read about getting them prepped and how to use them. Finding a good wash routine is difficult for some people; here are some routines for specific types of washers, and here is a post on washing your diapers!
One last thing: you don't have to go all or nothing. You can cloth diaper in your home and use disposables on trips or at daycare. You can cloth diaper, but use disposable wipes. You can even just cloth diaper when you feel like it. There is no rule that says you have to dive in 100% and devote your life to cloth diapering! So if you feel like it's going to be a hard transition, don't make it hard on yourself: buy one diaper. Heck, borrow one diaper! Make the switch slowly if you need to do so. Similarly, you don't have to know it all, ever. You don't have to become an addict hard-core cloth diaper obsessive (like me, ha!). You just have to know what works for you. If you are doing all-in-ones and only all-in-ones and that system is working perfectly for you, you don't have to know 100 ways to fold a prefold diaper. You don't have to own a prefold, know how to use one, or even know what one is if you don't want to know! Keep it simple! Do cloth the way that cloth works for you. If it's not working for you, ask for help or try something else.