Since I started cloth diapering Liam at 3 months, I avoided the whole, what to do with a newborn question.
I have a few friends that are due to have their first little ones over the next year and plan on cloth diapering so it will be interesting to see what they end up doing. If we were to have another little one(which we are NOT planning on) I can tell you what I would do and how I would stock up.
1. I would absolutely chicken out and use 'sposies for the first 2 weeks. Bringing a newborn home is exhausting. You are recuperating and adjusting. You have meconium and then breast milk blow outs. Most newborns go through a dozen diapers a day. That is a ton of laundry to add to an already tiring time.
2. For the first 4 months I would use fitted diapers and pre-folds. Newborns usually have skinny thighs, which means it is tough to get a good fit through the legs. Pre-folds and fitted diapers allow for adjustments at an economical price. Purchase 2 to 3 dozen diapers plus a handful of covers(4-6). Prefolds are the easiest to clean in my opinion. I use them on Liam when he has a diaper rash(sans cover) and folded in my gDiapers. They always come clean and never have the stink some of my pockets have. Make sure to get a few snappis in place of diaper pins.
3. Consider your child care situation. Make sure to check with your day care/friend/family member (whomever will be with your little one during the day if that is not you) that they are willing to use cloth as well. More and more daycares are allowing cloth diapers but have rules on what kind they will use. If they have not had anyone ask and are therefore skeptical, show them examples of diapers you are going to use and how easy they are. I've heard most prefer pockets with APLIX and a wet bag.
4. Slowly build your stash throughout your pregnancy. Buying diapers here and there and looking out for some deals over a 9 month period is a smart way to make sure your are stocked by the time you bring your baby home. Buy a variety and take good care of all of your diapers. If you end up not liking a certain style or brand you can re-sell them as long as they are in good shape. This brings the cost WAY down on diapering in the long run.
5. Leave the registry for baby essentials. Especially if you are a new mom and need a ton of stuff, leave diapers off of your registry. While some people will bring a pack of diapers to a baby shower, no one wants to show up with one expensive diaper. In reality you are responsible for purchasing diapers whether you use 'sposies or cloth. Friends are going to want to buy you the fun stuff like baby baths, outfits, diaper bags and toys. In my opinion, let them!
The great thing about cloth diapers is there are so many options! It may seem like the up front cost of building your stash is high, but when you compare that cost to the $3000 you will spend on disposable diapers in your child's diaper years you always save money. Again, take good care of them and you will lower your cost by selling them when you are done.
I would love to hear from mommas who did start out cloth diapering from the beginning and what you used!