Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Raising baby Diaperless?

I recently discovered the fact that there is a movement of parents in the United States that keep their babies diaper less. When I first came across a website, which listed the virtues of raising babies diaper less, I thought it was all some really grand joke. I read through page after page waiting for the punch line. At last, I had to give in to the obvious fact that there was no punch line. These people were serious.

I have to say I am the type of woman who will try anything, as long as it is legal, once. I am also a strong believer in the limitless values of attachment parenting. However, this whole diaper less baby thing was beyond my scope of understanding.

You may wonder, as I did, why any parent would want their baby to go without diapers. I have given my baby some diaper free floor time because being diaper less for even a short time per day can help to prevent and heal diaper rashes. Also, I imagine, it feels pretty good to get out of the tight confines of his disposable diaper. My son seems to take great joy in peeing into the air without being hampered by his diaper. I tolerate this about once everyday because I believe it is healthy for his skin. Urine is easy to clean up and waterproof pads do help when baby agrees to stay on it. The moment I hear him pass gas, however, I run right over to him and quickly fasten a diaper on his bottom. One poo on the floor was enough for me to be sure that I do not want him to have the opportunity to poo outside his diaper until he is potty trained. The diaper less baby movement is not all about a couple of hours of diaper free time however. It is about keeping baby diaper free all day and night.

Raising babies diaper less is often refereed to as elimination communication or natural hygiene. Parents use elimination communication to learn and eventually rely on signals and cues from their babies, in order to know when baby needs to relieve himself. When baby needs to use the bathroom, elimination communication parents take him or her to the adult bathroom and allow baby to go in the adult toilet or sink. For instance, many babies may grunt, grimace, squirm, or cry when they need to eliminate. Parents of diaper less babies watch for these changes in their babies and take them to the bathroom. Elimination communication parents also pay careful attention to when their babies need to use the bathroom most often and rely on that schedule to take their babies to the adult restroom. For example, many babies need to go to the bathroom just after meals, so parents raising their babies diaper less learn to take their babies to the bathroom after meals. The focus, in most cases, is not on training the baby to hold it, but on training parents to focus on and stay in tune with their babies needs. Many elimination communication supporters believe that babies will, in time, learn to hold it all on their own.

Many elimination communication advocates believe the best time to begin raising baby diaper less is in the first days or weeks of baby's life. They believe waiting beyond the first few months causes babies to lose their awareness of the need to eliminate because of the use of diapers. It is, they state, possible to train an older baby in the ways of being diaper less, but generally, it will require a greater investment of time, effort, and patience.

There are several reasons why parents may choose to raise their babies diaper less. Some parents think it is cruel to make a human being eliminate into his or her intimate apparel. Some parents are very environmentally conscious and believe they should contribute to the health of our planet by reducing the amount of disposable diapers. Many are very concerned about the health of their babies' skin. Some parents think it is easier to train their babies to use the potty as infants rather than first training them to use diapers and then later, as toddlers, training them to use the potty.

It is important to realize that raising babies diaper less is not a completely new concept. While it is relatively new in North America and Europe, it has been in practice for hundreds of years in other countries, such as Asia and Africa.

Although, this idea is still out of my realm of complete understanding, I do see some benefits in it. I do believe it would be healthier and more comfortable for baby's skin and I could definitely do with not having to change any messy diapers. Still, I just think the costs, in terms of ruined clothing, carpets, and outings with baby, would be too much for me to bear.

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