Having a baby has an incredible environmental impact. When we decided to have a baby, there was one environmental concern we had in particular: diapers. So, I Am Phasing Out Diapers With My Infant. Here’s How!
Let’s be honest: when you hear ‘diaper free’, you might think I have a huge mess on my hands. So did I. But phasing out diapers is a way to understand your baby’s natural rhythms to help them go in a potty throughout infancy. Diapers are a back-up. For example, we still use disposable diapers overnight and when we don’t have access to a washing machine, but otherwise use reusables.
How do you phase out diapers?
People want to try going diaper-free for many reasons: perhaps the baby has a rash, or they’re looking for a different approach to potty training. In my case, we don’t like the waste associated with diapers. Even reusables require a lot of water for laundry on heavy settings. Fortunately, any age from infant to a toddler can try Elimination Communication- it may just require a different approach.
Elimination Communication (EC) acknowledges that babies are just like us, and instinctually don’t want to be going in a diaper. Since I am new to all things parenting, I found the website Go Diaper Free and tapped into tons of free resources (blog, podcast) as well as an e-book for purchase. The founder of Go Diaper Free, Andrea Olson, has 5 kids who were all potty trained by the time they could walk (within 18 months).
“Elimination Communication is a gentle, non-coercive way to respond to a baby’s natural hygiene needs, from as early as birth. Like all mammals, human babies instinctively resist soiling themselves, their sleep space, and their caregivers, and they clearly communicate about it from birth.” // Andrea Olson, Go Diaper Free
Here’s how we got started with our 1-month-old!
After learning about going diaper free, we started ‘part-time’. That means we choose specific times of day to offer ‘pottytunities’, like when the baby first woke up in the morning and after nursing. We would also typically give opportunities at our house, rather than in public or at the grandparents. Of course, as our extended family gets used to what we are doing, we offer more ‘pottytunities’ in new places!
The first time we tried to ‘catch’ our son’s pee, he was one month old and my partner held him in the bathtub. It worked- he went within seconds! After getting more comfortable, we started holding him over our sink, and most recently, bought a top hat potty since it is portable.
What I’ve Noticed while phasing out diapers
LESS mess: How is this possible?! Well, we are getting smarter about his cycles. It’s natural for a kid to want to pee the minute their diaper is off, so we’ve learned to have an option at the ready, and he has learned to wait for the opportunity.
Less waste: by offering opportunities at the right time, we save diapers. But even more significant is that the average baby starts potty training between 18 months and 3 years old, so we have the potential to cut the years of diapering in half!
Strengthening: Our kid seems to enjoy it, and although he can’t sit up on his own yet, his core strength has improved while sitting supported on the potty several times a day.
Fewer rashes: His only rash so far was in his first month, before we started EC. EC has led us to a lot more naked time since we are getting more confident about when he needs to go.
Bonding: Funny enough, potty time has been a great bonding experience and builds on a foundation of respect. When he was very little and in the sink, our baby would smile back in the bathroom mirror. Now, when he sits on the potty with one of us, he is smiling and cooing!
Elimination Communication has been a great experience for us so far. The most important thing was to get started! Just like when going Zero Waste, you won’t flip a switch and suddenly have a mason jar of garbage for an entire year. But you can work at it every day, eliminating waste in parts of your house and gradually reducing your garbage output for the rest of your life.
Diapers are an important part of your baby’s journey but so is what you put on your kids. Ethical, sustainable and non-toxic bay clothes are another thing to consider when shopping for baby products.
What do you think, would you ever give this a go? And if you are looking for cute baby clothing