Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Elimination Communication, and/or, why your infant doesn't actually need diapers

Elimination communication is the process of teaching your infant to eliminate their waste in an appropriate spot, such as a toilet. The term was coined by Ingrid Bauer, whose experiences traveling outside of industrialized nations led to her method and her book 'Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene'. It's all about learning your infant's cues and responding to them.

There are so many benefits to going diaper free. It's better for the environment, it's better for your budget, and you can avoid problems that may arise from diaper use like persistent diaper rash or a difficult struggle potty training a toddler. None of the benefits are as great as the unique bond that you're creating by becoming in tune with your child's body and needs.

To get started, the first thing you'll want to do is remove your baby's diaper! You may have an accident or two (or three, or four) while getting started, but to me it wasn't any worse than cleaning up after a diaper leak. If you're really struggling with the idea of letting your baby have some air time, a basic pre fold cloth diaper without a cover is a great second option.

Our routine involves giving Bee the opportunity to use the toilet upon waking up, and shortly after each nursing session. To do this, we hold her above the toilet in a supported, comfortable deep-squatting position that looks like this:

She is completely supported and very comfortable, which is key! Once you're in position, make a sound. The sound we use here at Brightly Living Headquarters is sort of a mimicking of a stream of water, almost a "pssssst" sound. If your baby fusses or pulls away, don't push it. You can always try again and you want this to be a positive experience! Ultimately, your baby will learn to eliminate on command by hearing the sound and soon you'll become an expert at recognizing and responding to your baby's signals!

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