What makes an "expert" at something? I've been reading blogs around the internet about cloth diapering, and I realize that many (most?) of those moms have been cloth diapering for a year or less! Yet, they write with confidence, and present themselves as experts. (*edited to say that I don't mean people are claiming to be experts, but many write with a self-assured "this is how it is" tone.) I have tended to think of myself as NOT an expert, especially compared to the people behind the brand name diapers and stores who have years of experience diapering babies, and working with other cloth diaper families.
But wait. I have years of experience. I have a total of a little more than 5 kid years with cloth diapers (but technically about 3.75 years from the first time I put cloth on a kid). I've used fitted, pockets, and prefolds. Cotton, hemp, microfiber. Organic, unbleached, bleached. Aplix, front snaps, side snaps. Snappies and pins. One size, sized. I've diapered a girl and a boy (simultaneously!), at night, nap, and daytime. I've traveled with cloth. I've used top load washers and front load washers. I've used 5 different diaper detergents. I've battled stink (and won!) I've used a diaper sprayer, I've scraped, I've dunked and swished.
It's definitely how one presents one's self, and how well one can repeat information others have already said, even if it's not a personal experience.
I guess I don't feel like and expert because I don't have answers for everything. Because I don't use cloth diapers 100% of the time. Because I sometimes have quit diapers for a little bit in frustration or because I just couldn't keep up the the diapers that week, or because there are some things that I still struggle with (did I mention that the ammonia stink came back months after I had it fixed?). I can't tell you what diapers to use, or how to wash them, or what accessories and laundry products to get. Why? Because I'm not you. I don't have your situation, your kid(s), washing facilities, and resources. Because I can't give you a for sure answer, I don't consider myself an expert.
I think I need to re-examine what it means to be an expert!
Mechanics and doctors don't always know what's wrong, or what the answer is. Other people that I would consider an expert haven't lived my situation, and may not know what my personal experience is. They're still experts though, right?
I tell you, if there were a cloth diapering degree, I'd just about have it by now. Just don't go looking to me to tell you the one way to cloth diaper, because there isn't one. I will help you figure out what works for you, though.