Say goodbye to nappies
The mums disposing of disposables
ELIMINATION communication. Up until a couple of weeks ago you’d probably never heard of it. Or maybe you missed that story about the Queensland mum who has “never used a nappy and never plans to”.
She is practising elimination communication – also known as natural infant hygiene, infant potty training, diaper-free – or here in Australia, nappy-free.
It is a system of toilet training, a method that involves observing the baby and looking for toileting cues, according to a New South Wales nappy-free advocate, Nicole Moore.
Nicole first went nappy-free with her eldest 14 years ago and made a film about the process.
“I used to go around doing talks and demonstrations but I made a film and used to show it and do a Q&A,” she said.
The mother of two said she started the film project when her eldest was six months old and today the DVD Nappy Free! has been sold across Australia.
But Nicole said nappy-free is still not common practice in Australia, despite 80% of the world doing it.
“It is still practised in Africa and Asia and it is extremely common even today in modern China,” Nicole said.
“But it isn’t mainstream here.
“It is more common in alternative parenting cycles but that’s because nappy-free goes hand-in-hand with other attachment practices such as baby wearing, co-sleeping and prolonged breastfeeding.”
Nicole describes nappy-free as a way to “reduce the ecological footprint of each child”.
“There are eight steps to go through before a nappy reaches the baby’s bottom.
“This way you can make those disposables go further.” Nicole also said nappy-free doesn’t mean not using nappies, ever.
“Nappy-free is also about being free to choose,” she said. “It’s about being free to choose how and when you use them, you can use a nappy and take it off for the baby to do a wee.
“Sometimes I would use them at night and very often I’d use an open cloth nappy on my lap.”
So how would one go about going nappy-free should they decide to?
“You need to be really relaxed about the process. If you’re not okay about wee on your lap occasionally then going nappy-free is probably not for you.
“Window of opportunity is between newborn and six months. You can still start practising after six months but it will be a little bit trickier.
“Every baby is different. They develop cues and you respond to them and it creates a communication loop that strengthens each time you listen to it.
“The way to learn is to leave them without a nappy on and observing them for a period of time. In that newborn phase a lot of women put in that time with the newborn so it isn’t too big a stretch.” And what do they do before they eliminate?
“If the baby is lying on the floor and you see it does a little wiggle and then does a wee, during that wee you make your verbal cue,” Nicole said.
“You need to decide as a family what your cue is going to be. Then you build on that communication loop.”
Nicole said the type of vessel used for the elimination doesn’t matter.
“Toilets, buckets, any vessel will do. They do it and when you get a chance you empty it. You might have a few vessels, a bucket near your feeding chair or by the bed.
“I live in the bush so it was very easy for me, we just used a tree.
“When in public you just pick and choose your places. I can count on one hand the number of people offended by it, had more people interested in what I was doing.”
Nicole has taught a lot of people about the practice of going nappy-free and raves about the symbiotic relationship it creates.
“It is a great practice that brings baby and caregivers close together. It creates the framework for extra level of intimacy and attention and works very well with other attachment practices of baby wearing, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding.
“It creates a symbiotic relationship between baby and parents because one of the ways you read the baby’s cues that they need to go is by using your intuition.
“It also brings the father into closer intimacy, giving him an opportunity to expand his telepathic communication with the baby. And proof, when he gets it ‘right’.
“And the environmental impact is massive, it reduces washing and costs and it greatly reduces nappy rash.”
When in public you just pick and choose your places. I can count on one hand the number of people offended by it, had more people interested in what I was doing.
◗ Baby knows best: they develop cues and parents pick up on them, says nappy-free advocate Nicole.
◗ One New South Wales mum has made a film about letting kids go nappy-free.
◗ Some aides needed in the nappy-free technique.