We have an expert here to talk about something very special and still oh so very natural. Yes on this new column every Thursday we talk about everything that is natural. Everything 😉 So please meet Tamara Beck from Nestwärme who says:
Babies don’t really need diapers, or: how „Elimination Communication“ (EC) works
Elimination Communication », in short « EC », to me is one of the rather unpopular apects of Attachment Parenting. Breastfeeding, nursing, co-sleeping and babywearing is nothing of a bigger challenge. Most parents do at least one or two of those things without really knowing that they’re following Dr. Sears‘ recommendations considering how to deal with a baby.
Practicing EC, though, is quite a challenge nowadays in our western lifestyle. About 80 percent of the babies worldwide don’t wear diapers. Their parents or caretakers just react to a signal they give when they need to pee or poo and hold them away from their body, just over the ground, outside. The babies do what they need to do and are brought back to their position, often worn in a sling wrap or another carrying method close to the body of the caretaker.
Even Remo Largo, well-known Swiss pediatric (His book « Babyjahre » is a classic) writes in the mentionend work that from birth on babies give a signal as soon as they need to get rid of « something ». E.g. they do a cry, begin to whine or getting fidgety. If someone continuously responds to this signals (holding the baby above the lavabo, a bowl or something else and making a « pss »-sound), the signals keep coming, if not, they disappear around the thirdth month after birth. Coincidence or not, this is exactly the moment when the ominous « 3-months-colics » tend to stop. Do I need to mention that these baby-colics are unknown to the diaper-free parts of the world ?
So, how does EC work where we don’t live outside the whole day and aren’t able to enjoy a nice warmth throughout the year and thus don’t need to fully cloth the baby ? It’s not as complicated as you may think. There already are a lot of shops that sell special clothes, made for EC. E.g. Split Pants, Extra long pullovers, baby legs and very small underpants. In addition, back-ups or cloth diapers belong to the daily routine of EC-practicing parents. EC, of course, is no error free way of life. Accidents may happen throughout the day and some parents feel more comfortable to use a back-up or a nappy sometimes, especially when they’re out (an accident in the car or over the new carpet of your mother-in-law is nothing to favour) or during the night.
Bringing the baby in the position to „let go“ is comfortable for them. It supports relaxation as well as contraction, helping babies to release and simultaneously build control of the involved muscles.
And why did I use the world challenge? Babies don’t always signal, babies are picky, babies teethe, babies are ill. Parents are not always alert. Maybe they’re on their phone, maybe they’re housekeeping, maybe the elder sibling claim their whole attention. Newborns need to pee every ten minutes ! It is almost impossible to catch every single one of those ‘cause you can’t pay your whole attention to your baby in every second of your day. But who cares ? Just wipe, wash and laugh at it ! EC should be cool and funny, not straining. If you’re exhausted, if you’re not focused, do use a nappy – that’s the clue to it.
There are two ways how to succeed in EC. First one is timing. Every, really every baby needs to pee after sleep. Hold it over and you’ll sure catch it ! Most of the babies do need to pee during or after nursing. What goes in, must go out. Watch your baby, check your clock – there you go! Babies pee more often in the morning. The longer you practice and observe, the more secure you become. Second one is intuition. You feel that your baby needs to pee or poo NOW. Don’t think, just hold it ! Maybe you can combine both ways or just one. No matter how, EC is individual. All roads lead to Rome. You don’t need to pratice it from birth, you can board in later (but don’t wait too many months).
What are the advantages of EC ? It clearly saves a lot of money ! And of course it is one more way to communicate and get attached with your baby. If your baby cries it may be hungry, it may needs to sleep and it just may need to defecate. How cool it is to be able to fully respond to its needs ? EC-babies above all get dry (use the potty) earlier, may walk earlier (no disturbing diaper) and less suffer skin irritation caused by diapers and constipation (colics !) Last but not least, it is one benefit for the environment (less waste ).
Do you believe your baby is able to notice their need to eliminate waste ? Do you want to help him or her doing it ? Do you think it’s totally undignified to letting lay a baby in its own excrements? There you go ! Let the diapers aways, go try it ! It may change your life !
WOOW what an interesting look of it all! Isn’t it? I sure want to give it a little try, even if my baby is already one year old! It is really worth trying since it feels really like Attachment and Natural Parenting which is really really what we live and very much admire. Thank you so much Tamara for this interesting point of view and all the additional information. What do you think? Would you give it a try? Or are you already practicing EC? Tell us more if you like.
Lots of Love from us in Amsterdam,
Tamara Beck is a certified Windelfrei-Coach (« EC-Coach »). She successfully completed the basic course at « Babys ohne Windeln» with Julia Dibbern and Nicola Schmidt as instructors, they‘re both well-known in Germany with their „artgerecht“-project. A coach may help you with every question that occur during your EC-practising or to start the experience. Courses are also held in Switzerland. You may want to take a look at their website www.babysohnewindeln.de or at Tamara Beck’s page www.nestwaerme.li for more information.