As the debate rages on between cloth and disposable diapers, their is a lesser known third option that bypasses diapers alltogether: elimination communication (EC). In many third world countries, diapers are not an option. When Ingrid Bauer visited India, she noticed that mothers would often be carrying diaperless babies fearlessly and with what seemed liked virtually no “accidents.” How is this possible? In many cultures, mothers develop an incredible sensitivity to their babies’ elimination needs and can hold them over an appropriate receptacle when that need should arise. Ingrid Bauer has written a book on EC entitled: Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene.
Elimination Communication enhances unity and communication between parents and infants. Other benefits include increasing baby’s physical comfort, eliminating diaper rash, promoting baby’s body awareness, preventing toilet training strife, reducing dependence on diapers, and preserving the environment. When the mother (or caregiver) senses that her baby needs to go, she removes the baby’s clothing, and places him over a toilet or other repository.
Some features of EC include observing when the baby usually goes and how this relates to other bodily functions such as sleeping or nursing. Secondly, mothers learn to watch for signals from the baby. Although it may be hard to believe, many babies display very subtle changes in behavior, signaling that they need to go. This may include fussing, squirming, grunting, becoming very still etc. Thirdly, mothers develop an even sharper awareness of their babies’ bodies and bodily functions. Lastly, verbal (or non-verbal) cues are used to communicate with baby. For example, specific sounds such as “Shh”-ing when trying to help baby urinate, or grunting when baby needs to poop are used. In addition, specific positions are used. This helps baby to associate these sounds and positions with the act of elimination.
Elimination Communication helps parents form a closer bond with their baby, and eliminates the need for diapers altogether. A most appealing option, indeed.
For more information on Elimination Communication, please visit the following websites: