On the subject of diapers. As a mother of four who ALL wore cloth diapers, while those around us were scoffing that they didn't have to rinse out dirty diapers with their disposables, I can give you a bit of insight:
- If you're trying to save money and time, prefolded diapers are okay but realize that all those layers make it take far longer to dry, and once baby starts to be mobile having all that padding between their legs is not the most efficient method of locomotion
- also things tend to soak in to those layers making them far harder to wash them thoroughly.
- I would go with cotton not-quite-gauze and fold them myself. That said there are two different sizes of cloth diapers. The square ones which you fold to look like the prefolded padded ones, and the long rectangular kind which you fold in half and then sort of like a kite. Either way, no need to hem them all. Invest in a good pair of pinking shears (or borrow a pair from your friendly seamstress) and just cut the diapers with the shears.
- For many reasons, I preferred the rectangular ones, not the least of which is that you won't need to upgrade to a larger prefold once they're a toddler. You can fold them to the exact size of your baby. (used to be made by Curity and you can still find them on the web sometimes). They're about 18" x 36" or so. I have a cartoon tutorial somewhere on how to fold them.
- It may seem like folding diapers is one more unneeded chore. But a line of white diapers that are not prefolded dries outside in less than 15 minutes with a breeze. And when you bring them in and sit down with baby to fold there are SO many imaginative ways to make it fun. Nothing more beautiful than a baby in a basket of diapers. Folding diapers is somehow very therapeutic.
- As baby grows, they are easily doubled to provide more absorbent padding.
- as for quantity, when we had two in diapers (one doubled and one not) at our maximum we had 5 dozen. I think that 3 dozen is enough for two days plus an extra in case something comes up and the laundry doesn't get done on the second day. No one can stand the smell of a diaper pail for more than 3 days. Most people wash them every other day.
When baby is young it forces caretakers to actually sit down for the time it takes to fold the load. It's a chore that is very easily shared. Mama might be leery of others doing things elsewhere at home but anyone can sit and fold diapers (or hang out a line of them or bring it in). It's a great task that almost always needs doing and is the perfect answer to the people who show up and want to have a peek and ask "what can we do?" When baby gets older they LOVE to help try to fold them. Endless games of peek-a-boo with something so light they can get it on their own head pretty easily (as well as pull it off) but it's also pretty see-through so no dark under there. When they're older they will love to pass you the didie, or play tug of war for the last one in the basket. As well as using them for a cape or a flying pair of wings.
As for wipes, we just took a couple (actually more like three) of baby washcloths with us in a zip lock bag. We put them in there pretty wet and then wrung out the water before wiping. The wringing out heated them up enough to not be a shock to baby's skin. You only need about 7-8 inches square. When you squeeze the water out the warmth of your hand heats the cloth.
Hope this helps.