Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Elimination Communication, Natural Infant Hygiene, and The Like

Ok, here's the thing.

Oftentimes, when I learn about a concept or way of doing things that makes complete sense to me and differs from what I'd been doing, it's almost as if I start to feel like I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't adapt to that way almost immediately.  This doesn't apply to every case, but it does apply to many.  I can be intense in that way.

A few years ago, before I had any idea that a child was in my future, I was watching a documentary and caught glimpse of a Namibian woman hold her infant child (he was naked) over her leg so that he could relieve himself.  That stopped me in my tracks. I was wondering, a) how did she know he had to go and b) is this the sort of thing people who still live "in the bush" or rustically are doing in terms of a baby's need to go? It blew my mind.  I stored that bit of information somewhere in my brain.  It's always intriguing for me to learn how people do things, and although the information wasn't relevant to me at the time, it was fascinating.  

Fast forward to spring 2014. I'm between four and five months pregnant and starting to further research cloth diapering.  I knew I preferred to us cloth over disposable, so I spent a significant amount of time learning about the various types of cloth diapers, different kinds of covers, laundering diapers, etc.  Many times when an elder would talk to me about my pregnancy when I was out in public, that was my opportunity to query as to whether or not they had experience cloth diapering back in the day, since I knew that disposable diapers are a relatively new concept.  All of these tactics gave me a lot of insight into the process.

So, fast forward some more. Baby comes, we're cloth diapering, we move to a new place right on the beach(!!!), and all is well.  Noni is about a week and a half away from turning three months old.  All of a sudden one day I'm online researching cloth diapering again, and I end up watching a video of someone talking about something called Elimination Communication.  Soon I realized what it was about: get in tune with the times baby needs to go, hold her/him over a receptacle so they can go, clean 'em up (takes minimal effort), re-diaper, and you're done.   In that moment I had an epiphany of that epiphany I'd had a few years earlier when I witnessed an African woman doing just that.

I looked over at baby, who'd, up to that time, been sitting/playing in her bouncy chair. She started to fuss just a little. I got her up, removed her diaper and went and held her over the toilet.  To my surprise, she peed!  From that point on, it was On!

She's now a little more than four months old, and this is what we do. She's still in diapers, and many times it's hit or miss, but here are two primary things this process is teaching me:

1.  Babies don't just mindlessly go.  There are definitely signals that it's time.
2.  If the caretaker gets in tune with those signals--that's really what it's all about--then this can be done successfully.

It's almost like a game.  It can be fun.  I can certainly get stressful if you let it.
Take it easy and don't be demanding on the baby or yourself (besides, there are still diapers).

Through research I found out that people in other countries/cultures practice this with a baby from birth, as they don't have the "luxury" of diapers in any form. Plus, it really is the most natural way.   In the US it's become a movement just like many other things, but I'm glad that I came across that video.  It takes patience, energy, and effort, but once you get in the flow, I think it's one of the most amazing things to do with and for a baby.  Not to mention it speeds up that whole potty training process and will likely prevent all the potential stress involved with that when baby is two or three.  It's probable that Noni can be out of diapers by age one!

I'll leave you with a cute video on the subject.  This isn't the one that I saw that I mentioned previously. It's a favorite, though.  

I'll be sure to write more about both diapering and EC--ing.

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