Thanks to Amy for this Frugal Baby Tip!
I use cloth (or did before I got pregnant, anyway!). I use my old cheapie cloth diapers - the Gerber birdseye prefold kind you buy at Target or K-Mart.
Those things are worthless IMO as baby diapers, but GREAT as menstrual pads! I just fold them into the right size (shorter for day, longer for night), and place inside a snug-fitting cotton
panty. I almost NEVER have leaks or slippage - in fact, less than I did with disposable pads. Yeast infections are history, and washing is no big deal.
I just keep an extra diaper pail in the bathroom, and toss in the used pad (and often a washcloth - much nicer to cleanse oneself with at that time of the month than toilet paper!). It is a dry pail.
The first time I did this, I soaked, and the smell was HORRID! Took FIVE washes to get them clean again. With the dry pail, there is no odor problem. When my cycle is done (about 4-5 days), I just toss everything in the washer, and run a cold cycle to rinse them.
Then I add detergent (my homemade stuff!), baking soda, and fabric-safe bleach or whitener. Sometimes vinegar, if I think of it. Hot cycle, and then they go into the dryer. Stains are minimal, and I don't care if they're there anyway - no one sees these but me!
Best of all - cost to me was essentially nothing, as I'd purchased the diapers years ago for my babies (and used them quite unsuccessfully - just not absorbent enough!).