While we prepare for the arrival of a new little one, one of the considerations we have to make is whether we are going to use disposable diapers, or cloth. Because of personal experience, information we have read, and other considerations, right now my husband and I are strongly inclined towards the cloth diapers direction. I know many of the ladies who read this are experienced cloth diapering moms, so I'm not sure I have much to add to your extensive knowledge, but I'm still going to share a few thoughts about why we think cloth diapers are a good option...
For the baby's bottom
Just for the record, I was cloth-diapered as a baby, as was my husband and his 4 siblings. None of us ever had diaper rash. My mother used cloth diapers because that was the only option available. Once, a generous relative sent her a pack of disposables, and diaper rash started immediately, after which she went right back to using cloth. Now, I can imagine disposable diapers have evolved during the last 20+ years, and maybe now they cause less diaper rash, however they still contain a whole array of chemicals that can be absorbed through the baby's delicate skin. When you use plain old cloth you don't even have to wonder whether this or that chemical might be unsafe for the baby - cloth is 100% safe and allergen-free.
For the environment
As an environment-conscious couple, we cannot ignore the fact that disposable diapers make a disproportionally large percent of overall waste in the area where we live. Of course, energy is still needed to make and clean cloth diapers as well, but it's much less of an overload. After all, all that is involved in cleaning a cloth diaper is water, and detergent which can even be organic.
For the budget
We made some calculations and saw that using cloth diapers can save us a bunch of money which otherwise would be literally thrown away. Investing in a stack of cloth diapers will pay off soon, even if we go for the handy-dandy, all-in-one diapers available today, as we plan to handle them carefully and use them with more than one child. By the way my mother used simple square pieces of fabric which she folded herself, and it still worked just fine. So we won't necessarily go for the most convenient option after all. We will make the pros and cons of what's available in our area, and might decide that a bit of extra work might be worth the effort.
Cloth diapers are an option for us because we intend for me to stay home with the baby. A daycare facility couldn't be reasonably expected to bother with cloth diapers, especially if we don't use the all-in-one variety. I realize it will probably mean more work for me, but the one and only reason I see in the favor of disposables so far is quick convenience, and that's not enough in my eyes to outweigh the benefits of cloth.
I would love to hear the experience of cloth-diapering moms, and any tips you might want to share are most welcome!
Picture taken from an Israeli website that sells cloth diapers www.robyna.co.il