Re-Grow Roots

Learning to live harmoniously in Missouri.


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Tips for Elimination Communication

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.

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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!

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My Diaper Free Baby (Elimination Communication)

Our little baby boy is growing so fast and learning so much every day. It’s hard to believe he is almost six months old already! This experience as a new mother is amazing beyond words, he teaches me new things about life every day.

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From the moment we realized I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to take a very natural and intuitive approach to parenting. I ate well, didn’t get ultrasounds, had minimal testing, and birthed naturally. We breastfeed, never use a bottle, co-sleep, and do everything together as a team. We spent most of that first month at home, naked most of the time, a lot of time spent diaper free just carrying a cloth diaper under his bum. My intuition told me that diapers weren’t necessary, but when we started going out more frequently, we started using cloth diapers regularly. Convenience was the biggest reason, and also a lack of faith in my ability to know his elimination needs.

This boy is absolutely amazing to me. He is so happy, talkative, active, and when he is sad there is a distinct reason for it. If I’m paying close attention, he tells me what he needs. He knows when he is hungry, he knows when he is full, he communicated to me when he was ready to try solid foods, and the same holds true for poops and pees. He knows when he has to go and if I slow down long enough to pay attention, I notice his cues.

Throughout the last five months I have had periods where he’s diaper free while we are home, but when we go out and during the night he always has a diaper. But something in my heart tells me it just isn’t right to have him wearing a portable toilet. He doesn’t like being wet and it’s difficult to avoid sometimes. It’s definitely not hygienic and to me, it seems more loving to be attentive to his needs before he goes, instead of after.

I bought a book to help me gain a little more confidence to take the leap into diaper freedom once and for all! It’s called Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene by Ingrid Bauer and I highly recommend it to any mother whether she is considering diaper freedom or not. I started reading it a few days ago and since then Kalani has been diaper free during the day when we are here at home. I still use diapers at night and when we go out, but I am already starting feel a lot more confident and I’m sure we will be completely diaper free soon.

A common misconception is that babies don’t know when they have to go potty and even if they did know, there is no way that they would be able to tell parents. This is completely false! Babies do know when they have to go and they do give signals. What happens is that most babies become accustomed to wearing diapers and being wet, so they stop making those signals because parents don’t respond to them. From the beginning I have noticed that Kalani will make a little cue when he has to pee or poop, but they are small like a squirm or a grunt so if i’m not super tuned in, I miss it. Since committing more to being diaper free, I have become much more aware of his cues. Not only that, but he also responds to my cues! I take him outside to pee and hold him in a semi squat position while I make a hissing sound. This indicates to him that it’s time to pee and he responds by peeing. Babies are so aware and communicate in various ways when we open our minds to it and accept our intuition.

Throughout India, Africa, and South America there are many mothers who never used diapers with their babies and they are completely in tune with their child’s elimination needs. They have a very close bond with their baby and they respond immediately when the child needs anything. In Western societies we have become very distant from that closeness over the years. There are countless things that rip our attention away from our children and families so we must make a very conscious effort to create a different reality for ourselves. It’s a long and arduous journey, but worth every moment for us.

Do you have experience with elimination communication? Please share your thoughts!