This is one of the longstanding great debates of parenting. The basic argument in favour of cloth diapers is that they’re less expensive and some people feel they cause less diaper rash.
Also, disposables have plastic liners that don’t decompose, while cloth diapers can be recycled, thus lessening the impact on our landfills. Then again, frequent laundering of cloth diapeers can harm the environment, too, especially if you use bleach or non-biodegradable detergents.
It’s worth thinking it through before your baby is born, but be aware that you may change your mind afterward, so don’t invest too heavily in lots of expensive diapers. Think about practical issues such as whether you have a washing machine and possibly a tumble dryer.
If you opt for disposables, can you easily buy regular supplies and do you have somewhere to store them? Talk to friends with young babies and find out what choices they made. In most urban areas there are diaper-laundering services. They supply and deliver clean diapers and pick up the used ones to launder. Compare prices for cloth diapers, disposables, and diaper services over the two to three years that you will be using them. You may also want to include having a second or third child in your calculations.
Even if you choose to use cloth diapers, you may find disposables useful for when travelling or for emergencies.