We have been practicing natural infant hygiene, or elimination communication, with our son for going on a month full time now. The first couple of weeks had their rough spots with many misses and some backup diapering here and there. We still have misses every once in a while, but we are diaper free 100% of the time even on long drives and outings! A month ago it sounded crazy to me to leave the house without any diapers for my son, and today we left at 7am to go sell at our local farmers market and we didn’t come home til after 2pm.. diaper free and no
misses all day! So here are some things that I have learned.
Do diaper free as much as you are comfortable with. The point of natural infant hygiene is to love and respect your child by being fully present and aware of his or her needs. If it is too stressful to be diaper free all the time, then just do it when you feel peaceful and comfortable with it. Every little bit of diaper free time is good for your baby and for you.
Be consistent. Use a specific position every time you think your baby needs to eliminate. We hold Kalani in a crouching position with his legs up hovering over either the ground or a bucket. Use a specific place, like a bucket by the bed at night or the bathroom sink. Make a specific sound like a “psssss” or something similar when you hold him in position. Do this every time and your baby will become familiar with it.
Pee your baby first thing in the morning. This pee is the easiest one to catch in our experience. Kalani always has to pee in the morning, usually a few times, so right when he starts waking him up I hold him over his bucket to eliminate.
Have lots of diaper free time at home. We started out just being diaper free from morning until night here at home. When we left, we still used diapers during the transition period. We also used our cloth diapers without a cover at night. This way I would know when he peed right when he was wet and could immediately change his diaper.
Let your baby sleep naked with bed protection. After a few nights of the cloth diaper without a cover, we decided to let him sleep naked in our bed with us. We put him on a thick blanket and a few cloth diapers so the bed wouldn’t get wet. Other people use sheep skins, towels, or changing pads to protect the family bed.
Gradually and comfortably transition. When you feel ready, start taking your baby places without diapers and just a few extra pairs of pants. We started by putting a cloth diaper on him in his carseat, but we would make stops every half hour or so to see if he had to pee. If we were out in town, we would take him into a bathroom somewhere and pee him over the sink. Now we can drive for over an hour without any misses, just stopping once for a pee and we barely have misses even when we are gone all day.
Trust the process. This is something that is not familiar to most of us in our society so it can be a difficult thing to grasp. We can all do it though! Know that your baby is fully aware of his or her elimination needs from birth and your baby does not want to be in wet or poopy diapers. If you keep with it, you will progress and learn from eachother.
Don’t be discouraged. There are times when your baby might revert back to wetting the bed or peeing on the floor. Babies get stressed and they try to communicate in their own way so try not to be discouraged. We must understand that elimination is one way for them to communicate with us. Recently Kalani has been eating a lot more solid foods so his poop has evolved into a more solid consistency. Sometimes he works on getting his poop out all day off and on, but then it just randomly starts coming out without him letting us know. The food is more stressful on his system and he is getting used to it so it’s another transition period that we are flowing into.
Seek out support. Because this process is not very widely practiced in western society, it can be really hard to find support… but we are out there! Leave comments here and I’m happy to chat with you about it. Also, check out the book Natural Infant Hygiene and this forum about EC – http://www.mothering.com/community/f/227/elimination-communication .
Please share your experiences with elimination communication in the comments below!