When our child was born, we decided to follow the idea of elimination communication. We read the book Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene that gave us a new perspective on the nappy topic and helped us prepare for this way of handling the child’s elimination. Recently we reflected on the first year of our baby and our parenthood using the diaper-free approach we experimented with. For the record, our baby sleeps with us in the same bed, and she breastfeeds (sleeps with the boob).
Things went well
- It’s amazing to see that the baby can signal the need of elimination from day one. We regularly offered her to eliminate over a sink/toilet/metalic potty/sunny meadow since the very beginning. We are proud that we even caught half of the meconium in the potty.
- The poo almost always goes into the potty or in nature. The baby is 13 months old now. She says kaka when she needs to poop and waits until we offer her the potty.
- We have somewhat worse statistics with the pee. About every second time when we offer her to pee, she still has a dry nappy.
- Being aligned with the baby help to read their signs. However sometimes we go out of sync. In these cases, having routines (offer to pee when leaving home, getting out of car, arriving somewhere) help you remember that it’s potty time, and the baby will slowly also learn that their basic needs are being taken care of.
- Around 7 month age we introduced a potty where the baby could sit on her own. There was no need of “toilet training”. She immediately knew what it was for and used it appropriately.
- Summer is great, you can let the baby be without wearing anything. Being nature is great, you can offer to pee everywhere.
- Elimination communication is really a language you develop between you and the baby. You help them be conscious of their body functions. On top of that, seeing the baby’s pee and poo every time gives you direct feedback of how they just are. It’s stupid to discard this natural analysis.
Things to change or improve
- We used textile diapers. We washed them every 2 days. However for drying them, in the coastal climate (humid and cool) where we lived, we would have either had to buy tons of washable nappies (lots of money if you want organic cotton) or used a drying machine. We had chosen the latter. Not fully earth care though.
- In general, the nights were often hard. Our sleep pattern was much disturbed. We observed that our baby was waking up for the need to pee during the night too (she wakes up and cry). We decided to offer her to pee even at these hours, and then put back the baby on the mother’s boob, so that the mother wouldn’t wake up entirely.
- Around 8 month age, the baby started to hate it (cries) that she was taken out from the bed to pee. Her cry then would wake up everyone. At this point we were already quite sleep deprived, so we needed to change something. For a while it worked that we put a thick layer of cloth nappy on her. But many times she would pee so much that it would still leak and the nappy would also become very cold on her bottom. We decided to use semi-biodegradable disposable diapers for the night. Not fully earth care. Helped a lot though to get more rest.
- Nappies are not for the babies. It’s a comforting tool for the parents. We clearly see why parents would choose to put a disposable diaper on the baby one in the morning and one for the night. It’s just too convenient. Especially if people live in the cities, don’t share the same bed with the baby, or the baby is put into daycare very early on, there’s little room for elimination communication. We are grateful that our diaper-free journey was a bonding experience for all of us.
- Ana wishes that next time for the first month we don’t use nappies at all just soakers. She also prefers that we start using disposable diapers for the night much sooner so that everyone gets enough rest.
- I wish to find a way to get rid of disposable nappies completely but be able to sleep well too.
- We are soon going to try to leave the nappies completely. We expect that we will need to wash her clothes way more often. We also expect that she would learn that it’s better to pee in the potty and then we can close the nappy chapter.