Have to put in my
I agree with PP that the newborn stage is maybe THE most important stage to use cloth. Their skin is just so sensitive at that point. When DD was born, I just couldn't imagine chemicals being one of the first things to touch her skin...not to mention in the most sensitive of areas!! We won't have a service for the first few months this time around, but I'm sure I will get some help with the household chores for at least the first week or so. (my mom is already planning on staying with us) So, I guess, my advice is to go with cloth and simply delegate the laundry task to someone else until you feel up to the chore (if possible).
As far as rashes and leakage go....
Rashes are a controversial subject with CD. My dd (2yo) has only had 3 rashes since she was born, and all of them turned up when she was a bit older and didn't want her diaper changed as much. I, personally, believe that it is because I use CD that she doesn't get rashes easily. It has also been proven that disposables MAY cause more diaper rash than cloth, because of the liquid-clumping chemicals that they are laden with. Other people may believe that CD cause more rashes, but this is usually because they aren't changing the diapers often enough. This is my opinion.
Leakage, seriously, has NEVER been a problem for us. I have a girl, and I don't think she is what you would call a heavy wetter....BUT seriously the only time I've ever had a leak is when I was using an AIO diaper. For me, the AIO's tend to put more emphesis on cuteness and softness, and not so much functionality. I just don't want to wash the WHOLE diaper EVERY time...plus then the additional clothes that have been leaked on. Back to disposables....I agree with leigh09....disposables often allow the poop and even pee to slip away from the sides of the diaper. My sisters used disposable with their kids, and "up-the-back-poops" were extremely common for them. I've yet to experience that joy, because CD's "hold" everything in.
Okay....I'm done. Also just wanted to say thanks for the advice on washing the toddler and newborn diapers. I think the rinse cycle is a GREAT idea, if I decide to wash them together!