"Elimination Communication is a practice in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant's need to eliminate waste. Caregivers try to recognize and respond to babies' bodily needs and enable them to urinate and defecate in an appropriate place (e.g. a toilet)."
With both children, we started EC when they were newborns. I had first heard of it while pregnant and I'll be honest, I was very intimidated. My immediate response was, "Whoa, no thanks". But then I got my hands on Ingrid Bauer's book, Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Infant Hygiene. I was captivated. It finally hit me that we essentially train our babies -- from birth -- to shit themselves. In a bulky, toxic, plastic-y thing. And then when they reach some arbitrary age, we say "Nope, you can't poop in there anymore. Here's a toilet." None of that made sense to me, so I dove into EC. It turned out to be way easier than it seemed, and highly rewarding. If you're interested in learning more, check out Go Diaper Free. She has videos and audio on her website, as well as a great book on the topic. There is also a community on Facebook where you can ask questions and get support.
After trying a few things, here's our favorite cloth diapering set-up:
Organic Unbleached Cotton Prefolds (Green Mountain Diapers)
Organic Unbleached Workhorse Fitted Diapers (Green Mountain Diapers)
We had about two dozen prefolds, 6-12 workhorse fitteds and only two wool diaper covers. All of the prefolds and fitteds were second-hand from eBay and local moms, so we saved a lot of money there. We had two wool covers, but honestly rarely used them. Elan and Ruby usually wore just the prefold or fitted without a cover and I'd either EC them or remove the diaper as soon as they peed/pooped. It's really not okay with me to leave them in the same wet diaper for several hours.
A note about PUL covers: We tried them and they worked very well, but I eventually decided that I didn't want to put plastic on my child. Wool is natural and has so many amazing properties. It's antibacterial, it wicks away moisture and you only have to wash it once every week or two (or three). If you're vegan and don't feel comfortable buying wool, you can find upcycled wool diaper covers on Etsy. I was comfortable buying these because upcycled wool is better for the planet than plastic.
We use disposables for nighttime and when we're out of the house. I have never and will never put my baby in a Pampers or Huggies or any other generic brand diaper. They're full of toxins and this is a big concern when you consider that most babies wear them around the clock, near one of the most sensitive areas of their body. The only brands I recommend to people are Bambo Nature and Naty.