I stumbled upon Elimination Communication when I was pregnant – its an interesting concept that pre-dates diaper’s/nappies and all the debates of today that go with it. Ironically it is Elimination Communication that is now considered to be the controversial stance as far as infant hygiene is concerned.
Described as a toilet training practice, “Elimination communication (EC) is when a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant’s need to eliminate waste.
When I mentioned ECing to my friends I have to admit the typical response was “Huh?” and some had fairly strong views on the subject: “babies at this age aren’t cognitively aware enough” and “babies are not aware enough to understand what’s going on” and even “children should not be potty trained until they are old enough to be interested in it” or my favourite “I simply don’t have time to sit around watching my baby for signs that it needs to pee”.
Interested in it? Don’t have time? When most of the world’s population do not use diaper’s/nappies what exactly do they do? I can assure you babies who spend their day being carried by their mother’s in slings whilst they are at work are not covered in their babies bodily fluids. AND they certainly don’t have the time to sit around watching their baby … SO … how do they manage without diapers?
I realised that the modern world had fallen victim to the diaper industry giants such as Pampers and Huggies and once we realised that they were bad for the environment, the landfills etc… the diaper industry brought back cloth diaper’s, made them cool colours and incredibly trendy but in all honesty how eco-friendly is it when you have to wash and dry all those diaper’s? All that water and electricity? Plus, give me an example of one mammal that urinates and defecates in their bed out of choice? I digress.
Today I decided I was going to start ECing with my little princess. She is 3 months old. It started this morning when she woke up after an 11 hours sleep (yes, my angel!) with dry diaper! I gave her half a feed as she was starving and then held her over the potty. About 30 seconds of “pssst pssst pssst” sounds she peed in the pot! I was elated! As the day progressed I started to notice how she wriggled and made a certain sound when she needed to go and managed to end the day having only consumed 3 diapers compared to the usual 15+*. She even held it until we got home and I took her diaper off!
So today’s summary is 9 to me, 3 to Pampers! If everyday was like today I would be happy. Its all about the ones we catch not the ones we miss. Also, ECing does not have to be a full time thing, it can be practised only at the weekends, evenings, whenever really!
It was slightly time consuming today but I think my little one preferred it as we definitely skipped the squirming and squawks after she has peed and needs changing. I am certain it will get easier.
We are also going to save a fortune on diaper’s/nappies, rash cream and at the same time I got to know my daughters signs a bit better. More info on the benefits can be found here
PS – I do have to admit, you need to be attuned to your baby’s needs and pay attention to her sounds and movements in order to EC.
* our consumption of diapers is high because our little one, since the day she was born, has squirmed and cried the minute she was wet. The upside to changing her so regularly is that we’ve never had diaper rash.