Say goodbye to nap­pies

The mums dis­pos­ing of dis­pos­ables

Life & Style Weekend - - READ - BY Alexia Pur­cell

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.

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