I hope you joined me yesterday as I outlined the difference between disposables and cloth diapers, and why I personally think cloth diapers are the cheaper way to go. They definitely are for us, anyway. Our monthly cost for diapers is less than $10, and our upfront costs were only $170 (and our diapers will last 2, 3, or 4+ years), compared to $500 or more annually for disposables.
But there is one other option, and it is:
The Diaper-Free Alternative
Yep, that’s right. Everything you thought you knew about diapers…
They really aren’t 100% necessary.
They are nice. They are convenient. Especially if you have nice carpet to keep clean. But our ancestors, and our brothers and sisters living today in other places, haven’t always used diapers.
When I was pregnant and reading blogs about babies and parenting, I somehow stumbled across this radical (to me) idea: Elimination Communication. I won’t get into all the ins and outs here- there are whole books devoted to the topic- but I’ll give you the highlights.
Elimination Communication: Basic Principles
The idea behind Elimination Communication (or E.C., diaper free baby, or infant hygiene as it may be called), is that babies are actually born with the awareness of when their body is… um… eliminating. By having babies dispose of waste into diapers, we almost desensitize them to this awareness and have to retrain them later to go in a potty.
BUT- babies and children do give us cues when they need to or are about to start going to the bathroom. I mean, we all have seen the tell-tale signs, especially leading up to the big #2, right?
Well, with a little bit of attention, you can basically catch these cues, take baby to the potty, and hold baby over the potty while they do their thing. You know what I mean.
E.C. proponents are quick to say- THIS IS NOT POTTY TRAINING. It is not a guarantee that your kid will potty train early. But it is a way to keep kids aware of their bodies AND cut down on icky bottoms to wipe. AWESOME
My Experience with EC
Mike and I started trying to “catch” some of Olivia’s eliminations around 6 weeks. I started real simple: every time I went to change her (before and after naps and feedings), I would strip off her diaper and hold her over the potty. I was shocked and amazed to find that as soon as she was naked, she would go to the potty, right into the toilet! Pretty soon she and I were so into the rhythm that I would go days without having to change a stinky diaper… and this was during the time of life when she was going 6-8 or more times a day! It was awesome.
Recently, however, Olivia has been going through a “potty strike” (I read that that is very common at her active age!) and gets mad if I try to hold her over the potty, even if I can tell she is about to start going and really needs to. It’s been a bummer to go back to wiping dirty bottoms, but I am always excited when she lets me catch one (she did this morning, actually). I’m hoping her strike will be called off soon…
Anyway- I’m not one of the all out Elimination Communication people. I don’t do all the tricks and I’m not hyper vigilant (some parents are so in sync with their kids their babies don’t even wear diapers anymore!). But, even just doing E.C. part time has really helped me cut down the cost of diapers AND cut down on the messes I need to clean up. That’s enough for me!
Choosing What Is Right For You
I hope that in reading these past few posts you have found a few ideas you can use. I hope it inspires you to know that there ARE alternatives, and they don’t have to be expensive, not just for diapering but for pretty much every other facet of raising a baby. Seriously, it is amazing what you will discover if you step outside of the mainstream box! And if you have more questions about elimination communication- message me OR visit the Diaper Free Baby website.
Have you had any experience with cloth diapers or with Elimination Communication? What went into your decision to use disposables or not? What tricks have you found for saving money in this area? Leave a comment!