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Monday, December 26, 2005

Diaper free...maybe baby

Not to put too fine a point on it but ever since Jeff Strasburg's report on the gDiaper we have had a "mess" of inquiries about this new dynamic spilling into the age old question of potty training and the modern baby. One of our readers sent us this link to Diaper Free Babies.org and, well, we thought we should try to get to the bottom of it; Here's our report on babies without diapers.

Diaper Free Babies was started by 2 moms, Melinda and Rachel, in December 2003 and has quickly grown to include chapters in 35 states and 11 countries. The organizers maintain that DF Babies is a natural solution to rearing stress free, well socialized and we assume competent humans who take an active role in their own potty training from a very early age.

The group uses a technique they call Elimination Communication or EC for short which basically asserts that from birth, baby feels what it feels and knows when it goes so why not make the most of those early-on opportunities to establish a parent/baby line of communication and get to know your inner baby. Those little squirmy movements and odd facial expressions or baby talk that are so cute are also babies' sign that something is going on down there. To the observant parent this should be a recognizable sign that it's time to spring into action.

When baby and parent learn to communicate in this matter it is a simple step, according to EC theory, to turn the process into an early learning opportunity and get baby to a safe place where it can do its business in comfort, secure in the knowledge that mom or dad is right along side approving every step of the way. Baby, mom and dad feel a sense of togetherness unencumbered by diaper checks and before long your little genius is accomplished beyond its months in this most vital of all human practices, the toilet.

The organization claims that baby is naturally meant to learn in this manner and in fact most societies, until recently, practiced close parental, communal supervision of the child's potty development. In villages and small towns adults and toddlers mixed routinely in open communities where small bare bums were the rule rather than the exception, whenever a little one started its peepee dance an adult was always there to insure that the choreography ended at the appointed place. Besides, says the group, bare bottoms are much more likely to produce a happy baby and at the same time all but eliminate that scourge of western civilization, 'diaper rash.'

DFB.Org offers mentoring, training support, community resources and some really cute photographs, we like it simply because it means more family togetherness and instantly reduces pressure on our land fills by a factor of oh, probably 100.

We'd love to hear from any parent or baby who has had first hand knowledge of EC training but please, don't feel obligated to send photographs.

By Harlan Weikle
Greener Magazine

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