Having used both types of diapers with our kids, I found there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Where cloth diapers have the advantage:
- Cloth diapers are touted as more environmentally friendly
- Cloth is often cheaper in the long run
- Cloth is said to lead to easier eventual potty training (several cloth diaper delivery services such as Happy Nappy "guarantee" this by offering free service if your child isn't potty trained by 2 and a half years of using their diapers)
- As per above point, services exist that will manage pickup/delivery/cleaning of cloth diapers
Where disposables have the advantage
- Cloth diapers tend to be bulkier than disposables - this is mainly an issue for trips when you have to take several diapers (and bags to store soiled ones) with you. Disposable diapers can just be tossed in the garbage after they're soiled instead of taking them with you to clean later
- Disposable diapers tend to have a universal "look and feel" that even non-parents pick up on quickly - depending on the type of cloth diaper, it may have several more snaps/clicks that confuse babysitters/etc (though again, this depends on the brand of cloth diapers)
- Disposable diapers have an absorbent gel built in to help keep skin dry, so it's less of an issue to change a urine-soiled disposable diaper right away vs a cloth diaper which will stay wet against the baby's skin
Keep in mind that there's no "right" or "wrong" answer, but which advantages are most important to you (or which has the least disadvantages):
Should I start with disposables at birth, then move to cloth when they get bigger? Should I start with cloth right from birth?
For our first child, we used the disposables the hospital gave us, then used a cloth diaper delivery service for a while. Our main incentive was to reduce the cost, which they did (we kept track of how many diapers we went through, and what it would have cost in disposables). However, we switched to disposables when we started travelling a bit more and found taking the cloth diapers everywhere was too cumbersome.
We were also a bit less stressed after switching to disposables because the extra absorbency meant it wasn't a major issue to change a urine-soiled diaper as immediately.
How difficult is it to use at birth?
When we were new parents, we found cloth slightly more difficult at first, but that's mostly due to the newness of it all.
I guess overall it's not really a choice where one style is any "easier" or "harder" based on the child's age, but one where it has to fit in with your lifestyle.