Does your local council run a nappy service? Ours used to provide a small grant to offset the cost. This is no longer available, but searching "nappy" on the council website brought up links to "nappuchino" events.
There may also be nappy laundry service covering your area, just google it.
Another source of information might be via the NCT, when I was a member ours had a real nappy information service.
After trawling loads of sites, I've found thenappylady.co.uk the most comprehensive and honest (not just trying to sell you the limited range they have). You can fill in a questionnaire (for free) and she'll make recommendations based on your needs (as there is so much variety) then give you 5% off everything you buy from then on. Also loads of general info on the different types, how to wash etc.
I started off with a friend's stash, which didn't fit my son so well and picked up a few second hand, which has been great to get started. The Nappy Lady recommendations have been spot on so have finally got a system that can cope with epic weeing and bf poo. I wouldn't commit to an expensive system until DC arrives but try a few things (you can hire kits for newborns too from lots of places) as they don't all fit the same things (my son appears to have quite a long bum!).
Good luck! (But be warned - nappy collecting is very addictive...)
Hi All! I'm so glad this thread is fresh as I think I am in a similar situ to MoanyMandy! I'm months away from birth but have promised my dear mum that I'd look into real nappies. I did find this great site (http://www.lizziesrealnappies.co.uk/) but am going to look at the link above as well.
One quick question - how does 1 nappy fit from "birth to potty" as this site I linked above says several times. I just can't envision in my head how that works!
The site above makes it sound fairly appealing and easy but my worry is I'll spend hundreds on all the gear and then not get on with them and end up buying disposables anyway!
I've just started using reusables on dc2, 3.5 weeks, so not an expert, I have been given some second hand, and have bought a couple of other different types so I could try some different sorts before committing to a particular brand/type. As my boy is quite chunky, I think I prefer the birth to potty pocket nappies - I.e bumgenius, but wouldn't have known this before I had him. Especially as my dd1 was a petite little thing.
So maybe buy a couple of different sorts to try first?
The birth to potty ones have poppers on so that you can adjust the size.
I used re-useable nappies for my first child and went back to disposables for my second.
I found the re-useables were not so environmentally friendly because of all the drying. I had to use the tumble drier because I needed them turning round quickly and it would take 2 hours. Also it isn't very nice having a bucket of stinky nappies lying around. I used to spray them with a weak solution of tea tree oil to try to keep the smell at bay.
I also found them to be bulky under clothes and some trousers just weren't made to accommodate big nappies. You need to have the waterproof pants over, or they leak and they didn't feel nice - quite rough.
So, I wouldn't recommend them. However, there was no nappy service in my area and I am sure that would have made for a better experience.