I first heard about Elimination Communication when I was pregnant and was looking for environmentally friendly alternatives to disposable diapers. This approach is also referred to as Natural Infant Hygiene or simply Diaper free and is well described in Ingrid Bauer’s book Diaper Free The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene.
My reasons to have my baby diaper free
Initially I wanted to do this because of the impact on the environment of the disposable diapers. I did not want to use non recyclable materials like if there is not enough garbage for our planet to handle. It feels great that I can do at least this for the environment and for the generations to come. But doing the research on this issue I found many other great reasons: saving money on disposable diapers, baby’s comfort, healthy body awareness and many others.
How it works
This method utilizes babies’ abilities to develop awareness and control of their body functions and communicate about them since birth. This means that the baby and the mother have a very close connection or bond and the mother is able to know when the baby needs to go. This sounds really incredible and even unrealistic at first.
But it is simply natural. And this was my main reason for trying Elimination Communication. You probably have heard from nurses or doctors that the moment you take diapers from the babies they start peeing right away. It is usually said with a negative tone to it. But in reality, this observation shows that babies do not want to wet the diapers! They are not just making a mess in the doctor’s office. They hold until they are given the opportunity not to wet the diaper. Is not that amazing? In my opinion, this is something to admire, not be sarcastic about.
The babies are aware of their body functions from birth. Despite the general myth that the babies cannot control their muscles or understand anything in general, they understand and can do much more than we think.
And it is natural for the babies to give cues and communicate their needs to pee or poop to the caregiver. All the babies do this, but not all the mothers and fathers notice. But paying attention and tuning in you can catch the moment and take the baby to a sink or a basin or simply to grab a container on time to collect after the baby.
After some time the caregiver usually develops such a bond with the baby that he or she can intuitively know when the baby needs to go. As a result, the baby can stay diaper free, dry and clean. Elimination Communication is gentle to the baby and to the environment as well. You can find detailed guidelines, tips and instructions with pictures in Bauer’s Diaper Free book.