This is my last baby, and she wears 18 mo clothes already. (she is 6 mo old)
I have never done ANY CD'ing.
What should I buy?
12 Green Mountain Diaper prefolds,
6 Gerber 100% cotton prefolds (from the big box),
4 Thirsties/Bummis Super Lite (sizing is a touch on the small side) diaper covers and
1 Snappi diaper fastener.
Depending on how often you want to do diaper laundry this could be enough for full-time. The prefolds are not as daunting as they may sound. There are many ways to use them - folded in 3rds, wrapped, w or w/out a Snappi, but pretty much as long as the diaper is contained in the cover its fine. The only other thing you'll need is a diaper pail, an old plastic garbage can or 5 gallon pail with lid will work well enough.
Can you borrow anything to try first? Prefolds or flats would be ideal cost wise, but it would really help to have an idea of what will fit your baby and what you feel like you can manage. I personally have a strong dislike for pul covers but I like prefolds and wool, and I'm trying out flats with my nb. So far I'm happy with them but might not be when she is mobile!
If you know anyone who cds or can connect with someone in your area to try things on I think that would help!
There is a FSOT section on diaperswappers.com and there are mamas that give things away free for shipping. If you stalk it you might be able to get a decent amount of dipes for less than $100. I just gave away 2 dozen nb prefolds and 4 covers that were pretty rough but still useable. That way you can get a feel for cloth without investing much. You could also try calling diaper services in your area and see if they have any used but still usable diapers avaliable for cheap. I have gotten prefolds really cheap from a diaper service that went out of business because there were too many in the area! The diapers were barely used and held up for two kids before I gave them away.
Since this is for part time, to buy new:
2 doz. flats (about $30)
3 Thirsties duo wraps size 2 (about $37)
pins or snappis ($5)
large wet bag (with handle to hang it) (about $15)
cloth wipes (make your own or buy a pack of cheap washcloths) ($5)
and if you have any money left over a couple hemp doublers for overnight/naps
Save even more and find second hand receiving blankets. They make great diapers and for 50 cents or less it's a nice deal.
perhaps Econobum prefolds and wraps are an option for you?
or, of course, buy used!
If you are not into prefolds/flats I would consider Kawaii pockets. Affordable, generally have a good reputation, and tend to fit bigger than other one-size diapers.
Or buy used. I got awesome deals for good quality diapers on my local Craigslist/Kijiji. Just do some research to make sure they are good brands and check them out in person to make sure elastic, snaps/velcro, fabric, and PUL is in good condition. And of course you can sell your dipes after, whether you buy new or used, to recoup some of your investment.