When Asher was born I was in two minds about the whole cloth vs. disposable nappy thing. We decided to try not to get too caught up about it and to see how we went, but the idea was to use mostly cloth, particularly when we were at home and use disposables overnight and when we went out for convenience sake (getting out and about was of primary importance to help minimise the chances of post-partum depression so anything that made that easier was not really negotiable).
I believe that cloth is better environmentally particularly as I didn't use the tumble dryer or chlorine bleaches and only washed with a full load, despite the environmental problems with cotton growing. I loved the cute 'modern cloth' nappies and found that although I needed to change him a little more often they contained those early breastfed baby pooplosions better than the Huggies. I loved that many of the nappies we were using were made with love and care by other mums and felt really good about supporting those small businesses rather than a huge multinational like Kimberly-Clark, and it was probably cheaper for us as well (but I haven't done the maths). When Asher was a tiny baby washing and drying nappies was no hassle - his favourite place to be was on his change mat in his room and at that stage fitted the fold out washing line perfectly. I would pop him on his change mat or in his cot and sing to him as I hung out washing and it would dry quite quickly in the afternoon sun that fills his room, particularly in winter. At that stage it was less hassle than the very regular visits downstairs to the bin would have been.
Have you noticed me using past tense? Well, that's because we aren't using the cloth nappies any more. There are a lot of small reasons really, that are mostly due to Asher's stage of development and the way things have changed in our household. We needed the clothes line real estate in Asher's room for a chest of drawers and the weather warmed up, so we put the washing line outside, and at the same time Asher got more mobile and didn't want to lie on his change mat gazing at his mobile. Now I have to quickly get the washing out while he's having his morning sleep (and I still do a load of washing almost every day). The other difficulty is that we are out and about a lot now and for convenience sake we don't use cloth when we are out so getting a full load of nappies takes a while, by which time the smell from the nappy bucket is gag-o-riffic. I would also need to buy some more cloth nappies to make a full load, now that he's grown out of some of them. I fully realise that this is all a choice thing, and it wouldn't be too much more hassle but I think the payoffs are worth the environmental vandal tag and guilt for us at the moment. He's also SO wriggly that getting a dispo on him is challenging sometimes!
I would wholeheartedly recommend trying cloth to anyone who is even vaguely contemplating it. I would also add that motherly mental health is more important than what type of nappy one uses and that sometimes there are more important things to spend one's energy on. If there is ever another baby in our lives we will be giving cloth another go, at least up until 6-8 months when solid food starts and there are fewer, but stinkier, nappies to deal with. I'm also happy to talk about which of the many types of cloth nappies were best for us at the different stages, but I think that's a bit boring for anyone who isn't thinking of using cloth themselves, so I'll leave it for now.