Category Archives: Nappies/Diapers

We hope your enjoy reading our articles on nappies and diapers… We encourage your feedback, please let us know of any topics you would be interested in reading more about!

Using Cloth Nappies out of the House

 

 Easy Tips for Using Cloth Nappies When Out and About!

  • Take a reusable waterproof nappy bag for wet nappies when you are out. Or use brown paper bags or biodegradable cellophane nappy bags to store used nappies. These can be washed, reused or composted. Wotnot bags and other brands are biodegradable if you prefer to buy a brand in a box. Wotnot nappy bags can be purchased here http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/wotnot-nappy-bags-biodegradable.html
  • Take a wet terry face washer in a container for wiping bottoms. Nature’s Child Organic Cotton Baby Wipes are $9.95 for a packet of 3. This can save you a small fortune instead of buying wet nappy wipes all the time. If you prefer wet wipes, I recommend Gaia, Wotnot or Seventh Generation Wipes. View our full range of cloth and disposable nappy wipes here http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/search?orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=nappy+wipes
  • Flushable nappy liners are great for when you are out of the house or for every nappy change so you don’t need to store stinky, wet nappies. Flush poo in the loo wherever you are and just bring your wet nappies home.
  • Invest in a wet bag or make your own! A wet bag costs between $9 – $18 or you can make your own wet bag. It needs to have a zip or cord for easy closing and opening and holding in the smells and wet nappies. It needs to be easy and effortless to transport or you won’t use it! Nature’s Child Sells Wet Bags at this link http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/nappy-bags-and-changemats/baby-beehinds-wet-bag.html
  • nature-s-child-organic-cotton-baby-wipes-

How To Choose A Nappy That Is Right For You?

How to choose a nappy? This is a short article designed to be an overview of the different styles of nappies available for Australian Babies.

There are 5 criteria to help you decide what nappy you need.

1.      Convenience: It needs to be easy to use

2.      Price: It needs to suit your budget

3.      Environmentally Issues: It needs to take care of our earth

4.      Healthy Issues: It needs to be good for your baby

5.      Washing Needs: It needs to be simple and organised

 TowellingNappy-140x150

1 – Convenience: It needs to be easy to use

There are four styles nappies on the market. Standard disposables, eco-disposables, moderncloth nappies and traditional terry towelling square nappies.

You can buy standard disposable nappies from most supermarkets and chemists. These are made from layers of paper and plastic and contain gels that hold moisture. Looking the same as mainstream disposables but with significant differences, eco-disposable brands are available with limited release at some Australian Supermarkets but primarily sold online or in health food stores. More on eco-disposable nappies below.

Modern cloth nappies have been developed over the last two decades and are now very efficient in design. Available primarily online, they are a response to the contemporary need for an easy to use cloth nappy. They retail between $15 – $40 each, depending on the quality, country of origin, fabric used and whether it’s a business or cottage industry. Some brands are one-size fits from newborn to toddler and other brands have small, medium and large sizes. They are very economical and easy to use, and can be used on more than one child in a family. Modern or fitted cloth nappies look like disposables; they have gathered elastic at the legs and use Velcro or snap closures. Velcro, snap, or pull on nappy covers can be used as well. No folding or pinning is required. Ninety-eight percent of cloth nappy brands can be found online. Before you choose the nappy, ask yourself what is most important. The fabric they are made from? The design? The price? Narrowing down this criteria will help you significantly when you are browsing. For example. Decide Organic Cotton or Bamboo only. This will narrow down your search. It gets very confusing with all the choices once you start looking if you don’t have a criteria in place!  Cloth nappies are still in the minority as a nappy of choice, but this trend is changing fast due to better designs, better information and a passionate drive from the creators.

Many people find traditional square nappies to also be convenient with practice and a well-organised system. It’s no secret that these are certainly my personal favourite. Ask your mum what nappy folds and tips she can give and share these with other mums, or else consult the internet. Terry towelling nappies are available at most major department stores and on the Internet. The Nature’s Child Organic Cotton Luxury Towelling Nappies are in my view, the best quality nappy available, the cheapest organic cotton nappy you can purchase and have the added benefits of one size fits all, easy to dry, inexpensive and more. See our YOU TUBE channel or just search you tube for HOW TO FOLD A CLOTH NAPPY NATURE’S CHILD – you will find this one minute video helpful, informative and educational. Watch the Video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_eBRVGf-TE

There has been a flood of “eco-disposables” on the Australian Market in recent years. Disposable Nappies that have no bleach, have biodegradable parts or that can be composted can all be found conveniently and introduced as part of your cloth nappy system as a back up. The Gently Nappy has the added benefit of having a traditional disposable shape with the majority being biodegradable. The tabs are not. Many councils will now take these nappies as part of a green waste disposal system. Ask your local council or contact us for a list of participating councils. View our recommended biodegradable eco-disposable nappies here. http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/hybrid-nappies-

Eenee Weenee Disposable Nappies have been available in Australia for over 15yrs. They are still little known but make a great disposable nappy pad that can be used alone as a disposable nappy or combined with a cloth nappy for extra absorbency.

We also love BAMBO disposable nappies. We think Bambo are a premium, affordable disposable nappy for parents. View Bambo Nappies here. http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/disposable-nappies

Remember, this article is a summary, we could go on and on but we are aiming to make this an introduction for you to discover the types of Nappies available for your baby. Once you have a feeling for a style of nappy you like, then you can delve more into that type of Nappy for your baby.

 

Bath-140x150

2 – Price: It needs to suit your budget

If you choose a full-time disposable (or eco-disposable) system, you will need to spend between AUS$3,000-5,000 on disposable nappies for one child from birth through toilet training. Then there are accessories like wipes, bibs (WHAT ARE BIBS?), change mats and swimmers, which are an added cost.

Fitted-Cloth nappies for the same period for one baby will generally cost approximately AU$400-800; these nappies can sometimes be used on second and third children too!

Square nappies that you fold in terry towelling, muslin or flannelette cost under $200 to set up in the beginning. You have on-going costs of nappy liners, fasteners and covers but these are minimal.

Environmentally friendly washing powders and nappy soak costs approximately $120/ year. Environmentally-safe washing products are surprisingly cost-effective compared to their conventional counterparts and sometimes cheaper, too. Additional costs of water and electricity need to be considered at approximately $3 a week.

 

3 – Environmentally safe: It needs to take care of our earth

There have long been arguments around about cloth and disposable nappies being equally environmentally safe. In 2005, a UK Environment Agency report concluded that ’overall there are no environmental benefits to using either disposable or washable nappies‘. After a four-year study involving more than 2,000 parents, the agency found that ’there is little or nothing to choose between them‘. The findings were attacked as ’seriously flawed‘ by the Women’s Environmental Network, who questioned how the disposal of about three billion nappies each year in Britain’s landfill sites could be comparable with using washables.

Belinda de Montfort, the waste reduction officer at Kent County Council, which campaigns to persuade women to use washable nappies, even offering a £30 gift token for all ’converts‘, said she was ’astounded‘. Disposable nappies create about 400,000 tonnes of waste each year in the UK.

The disappointment from cloth nappy advocates regarding the scope of the research could be heard with a roar when this report was produced. The list of flaws was longer than the terms of reference. Environmentalists agree that there still has not been a worthy report looking at this issue with complete accountability or independence to give us an accurate picture. A packet of disposable nappies may use similar or less resources than a set of cloth nappies to make. But if you need to buy three years of packets, vs. one set of cloth, the differences to cloth advocates seem too obvious to mention.

Until an independent study is undertaken that looks at all factors, you need to use your own intuition and what facts you have on waste, cost, health and landfill.

If you choose a conventional or eco-disposable nappy, make sure you follow the instructions on the packet and don’t throw the poo away with the nappy. Raw sewerage in our landfill is a health hazard and is illegal. While disposable nappy companies take care in telling you this in their instructions, the design of the nappy means it is more likely people will throw the whole nappy with undisposed poo away in the bin. Untreated sewerage is a health hazard.

Please read our article Responsible Use of Disposable Nappies to learn more about this topic.

Baby BeeHinds Minkee Magicals -9

4 – Healthy: It needs to be good for your baby

The main issue with nappies that people fear is nappy rash. Nappy rash is primarily caused by an acidic diet or skin trapped by warmth and wet. Speak to your naturopath for advice on your diet and give your baby lots of nappy free time (see sidebar). See belowWhen using cloth nappies, use a cloth or disposable nappy liner that absorbs the wetness away from baby’s skin or a compostable disposable nappy liner that will protect their skin and also ease the mess at change time.

If your baby regularly gets a rash in a disposable nappy, it could be chemical burn or other reaction to the bleach and gels in disposable nappies. Many parents put up with this thinking it is nappy rash but our babies sensitive skin can react to these ingredients. Try an eco-disposable. They use a lot less gels and cloth nappies have no gels at all. Many parents who switch to cloth report an instant improvement in their babies skin condition.

Another reason babies may have nappy rash, is due to a digestion issue. See your naturopath for assistance with nappy rash that seems more dramatic than normal. To try our world famous certified organic bottom balm. Click here. http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/lotions-and-oils/nature-s-child-bottom-balm-50ml.html

Baby & Earth

5 – Washing: It needs to be simple and organised

The big appeal of disposable nappies is no washing. The action of taking a fresh, clean nappy out of a packet, using it, throwing it away and grabbing another one equally neat and clean when you are ready is very seductive. When it comes to throwing them away however, the horror of a full and smelly nappy bin may not impress you at all. Many councils are now reducing their pickups to fortnightly as well which is creating a longer lasting stench in wheelie bins. This experience has led many parents to wonder, how bad is it washing nappies? The fear and hassle about this chore has been so blown out of proportion over the years that simple help instructions are now required to assist parents. We mentioned above that some councils have green bin waste for disposable nappies, but only for two brands that we know of when this article went to press. Gently and Eenee Nappies are the only nappies approved for Green Waste Disposal in Australia. View both these nappies here. http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/hybrid-nappies-

 

So here is the good news – it is simple to wash cloth nappies. Read our other nappy articles to learn how to wash nappies with ease. For now…here is a little bit of information.

Cloth nappies need to be washed every day or every second day using a dry or wet system. You can have a day off washing if you have a well-organised system and enough nappies on hand. Bleach products have traditionally been used to whiten nappies when soaking, if you are concerned about environmental impact, it is not suggested you use whitening products. Bleach is a dioxin that is a major cause of animal and soil chemical contamination. Modern cloth nappies are less likely to require bleach and there are many environmentally-safe and cost-effective soakers available online and in health food stores. We recommend Tri Nature Pre Wash Soaker as the best, Australian Made, Eco-friendly detergent and Pre Wash Soaker for Australian Nappies.

We recommend our ULTIMATE NAPPY PACK which gives you a variety of Nappy styles to try. Mention that you have read this blog and we will include 1 x FREE pkt of eco-disposable nappies for you as well at no extra cost. View our ULTIMATE NAPPY PACK here http://www.natureschild.com.au/store/search?orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=ultimate+nappy+pack

 

 

The Story of Bottom Balm

2004 - Bottom Balm is born!

I remember our first jar of bottom balm. It was my personal formulation. I chose the richest and most healing ingredients I could imagine but had no idea how to blend it together. A colleague of ours, Christine showed me how to blend and cook it all up. It was so exciting! It seemed so simple and so powerful at the same time. We first rented a commercial kitchen to ensure all materials and the environment was perfect and safe and clean. It was a kitchen used by other organic manufacturers so there would be no chemical contamination. Sometimes I took the extra ingredients from the bottom balm mixture home and experimented with new blends and formulas in my own kitchen. I had no idea it would be this much fun to make bottom balm!  I loved the delicate balance of strictly controlling the ingredients mix. I felt like I was doing something really special. I made sure I was feeling love and excitement, knowing this vibe would also go into the final product. The most exciting part was holding the temperature gauge, making sure it was just perfect. It was so important not to have the product too hot or too cold, all the healing it would be destroyed if i did not have the perfect balance. The mixture would not set right if the temperature was not perfect. The feeling of responsibility was awesome! I just knew how special this bottom balm was going to be. And then….the final, superb moment. The lushness of pouring the mixture into the jar. I LOVE this moment. Within minutes, the mixture was set. I needed a really good rhythm to ensure 300 jars were filled asap! no drips, no mess, and looking perfect in the jars before the mixture had time to set. And then….watching, waiting, it only takes minutes for the bottom balm to set solid, and you see it’s perfect texture. I would gather my kids around to watch at this point and we would all gasp at the perfection. Occasionally, one jar will have a dip in the middle. Thats fine I tell my children (and now i tell you!). It is far more important to have the purest, most beautiful product possible for your bottom, rather than a chemical mix that makes sure there is no bump.

 

These days, we don’t get to experience this joy of the early days. We just feel likek parents in waiting, enjoying each new shipment as it arrives monthly to our store. A wonderful team at a Fully Certified Organic Factory now makes this in bulk for us. The days of the kitchen and the small commercial kitchen are long gone. But every time i see a jar, i know and remember the humble beginnings of the now super famous, purest, most healing and beautiful balm that is loved by so many all over the world. I am a proud mum every time i see a shipment arrive. Thank you to this beautiful Nature’s Child Bottom Balm. I am still loving the journey with you.

Thank you to all of you amazing people who take the time and love to write to us about all the amazing healing ways in which you use Bottom Balm. It is because of you that we created wonder balm. Our second Balm Child is Wonder Balm with the purple label. This was motivated by all of you and finally, the impetus was when my babies who are now teenagers refused to use anything with the word bottom on it once they were old enough! Funny things but they helped me realise this was so important for people. So now we have the equally famous Wonder Balm and here are some of the many uses that you have all told me about over the years that you use Nature’s Child Certified Organic Bottom Balm and Certified Organic Wonder Balm for.

 

Recently our third Balm Child, Nature’s Child Certified Organic Nipple Balm has been created, growing our Certified Organic Balm Family. We purposely made this formula a lot more slippery to make it easy to apply to sore nipples. Shea Butter and evening primrose oil gives it a yummy slippery healing texture that is being loved by healed sore nipples everywhere. Music to our ears! Thanks for all your feedback, it helps us so much which allows us to help you better and better each day.

 

 

Bottom Balm

1 – Nappy Rash

2 – Excema

3 – Dry Skin

4 – Burns

5 – Rashes if any kind

6 – skin Grazes

7 – Hemmorhoids

 

Wonder Balm

1 – Cancer Patients who have dry skin

2 – Excema

2 – Excema

3 – Dry Skin

4 – Burns

5 – Rashes if any kind

6 – skin Grazes

7 – Hemmorhoids

8 – Nappy Rash

9 – Psoriasis

10 – Under Breast Discomfort

11 – Cold Sore itchiness at the healing end

12 – Dry Lips

13 – Dry Elbows

14 – Tinea

15 – Under the eyes to soften wrinkles

16 – Sore Bottom

17 – To remove make up

18 – To smooth make up on

Keep sending in your ideas and we will update this list!

 

All my love, Jannine Barron, Owner and Creator

5 Criteria for Choosing a Nappy

There are 5 criteria to help you decide what nappy you need.

1. Convenience: It needs to be easy to use

2. Price: It needs to suit your budget

3. Environmental Issues: It needs to take care of our earth

4. Health Issues: It needs to be good for your baby

5. Washing Needs: It needs to be simple and organised

 

1 – Convenience: It needs to be easy to use

There are 5 styles nappies on the market. Standard disposables, eco-disposables, modern cloth nappies, traditional terry towelling square nappies and now compostable disposables. You can buy standard disposable nappies from most supermarkets and chemists. These are made from layers of paper and plastic and contain gels that hold moisture. Looking the same as mainstream disposables but with significant differences such as no bleach, reduced chemicals in the polymers (gels), eco-disposable brands are available with limited release at some Australian Supermarkets but primarily sold online or in health food stores. Nature’s Child offer’s 2 brands of eco disposables. Modern cloth nappies have been developed over the last two decades and are now very efficient in design. Available primarily online and in some major baby stores, they are a response to the contemporary need for an easy to use cloth nappy. Major Baby Stores stocking modern cloth nappies demonstrates a significant shift in the mainstream thinking and consumer choices. They retail between $15 – $40 each, depending on the quality, country of origin, fabric used and whether it’s a business or cottage industry. Some brands are one-size fits from newborn to toddler and other brands have small, medium and large sizes. They are very economical and easy to use, and can sometimes be used on more than one child in a family. Modern or fitted cloth nappies look like disposables; they have gathered elastic at the legs and use Velcro or snap closures. Velcro, snap, or pull on nappy covers can be used as well. No folding or pinning is required. Ninety-eight percent of cloth nappy brands can be found online. Cloth nappies are still in the minority as a nappy of choice, but this trend is changing fast due to better designs, better information and a passionate drive from the creators. Many people find traditional square nappies to also be convenient with practice and a well-organised system. Ask your mum what nappy folds and tips she can give and share these with other mums, or else consult the internet. Terry towelling nappies are available at most major department stores and on the Internet. Nature’s Child at the time of writing this article offers the only certified organic cotton towelling square nappy. The Natures Child Luxury Towelling Nappies – Packet 6 includes instructions on how to fold a nappy, all the tips you need for using them efficiently. Remember to visit our YOU TUBE Channel as well for the 1 minute cloth nappy folding demo! www.youtube.com/natureschildorganics

 

2 – Price: It needs to suit your budget

If you choose a full-time disposable (or eco-disposable) system, you will need to spend between AUS$3,000-5,000 on disposable nappies for one child from birth through toilet training. Then there are accessories like wipes, bibs (WHAT ARE BIBS?), change mats and swimmers, which are an added cost. Fitted-Cloth nappies for the same period for one baby will generally cost approximately AU$400-800; these nappies can sometimes be used on second and third children too! Square nappies that you fold in terry towelling, muslin or flannelette cost under $200 to set up in the beginning. You have on-going costs of nappy liners, fasteners and covers but these are minimal. Environmentally friendly washing powders and nappy soak costs approximately $120/ year. Environmentally-safe washing products are surprisingly cost-effective compared to their conventional counterparts and sometimes cheaper, too. Additional costs of water and electricity need to be considered at approximately $2 a week.

 

3 – Environmentally safe: It needs to take care of our earth

There have long been arguments around about cloth and disposable nappies being equally environmentally safe. In 2005, a UK Environment Agency report concluded that ‘overall there are no environmental benefits to using either disposable or washable nappies’. After a four-year study involving more than 2,000 parents, the agency found that ‘there is little or nothing to choose between them’. The findings were attacked as ‘seriously flawed’ by the Women’s Environmental Network, who questioned how the disposal of about three billion nappies each year in Britain’s landfill sites could be comparable with using washables. Belinda de Montfort, the waste reduction officer at Kent County Council, which campaigns to persuade women to use washable nappies, even offering a £30 gift token for all ‘converts’, said she was ‘astounded’. Disposable nappies create about 400,000 tonnes of waste each year in the UK. The disappointment from cloth nappy advocates regarding the scope of the research could be heard with a roar when this report was produced. The list of flaws was longer than the terms of reference. Environmentalists agree that there still has not been a worthy report looking at this issue with complete accountability or independence to give us an accurate picture. A packet of disposable nappies may use similar or less resources than a set of cloth nappies to make. But if you need to buy three years of packets, vs. one set of cloth, the differences to cloth advocates seem too obvious to mention. Until an independent study is undertaken that looks at all factors, you need to use your own intuition and what facts you have on waste, cost, health and landfill. If you choose a conventional or eco-disposable nappy, make sure you follow the instructions on the packet and don’t throw the poo away with the nappy. Raw sewerage in our landfill is a health hazard and is illegal. While disposable nappy companies take care in telling you this in their instructions, the design of the nappy means it is more likely people will throw the whole nappy with undisposed poo away in the bin. Untreated sewerage is a health hazard. Please read our article Responsible Use of Disposable Nappies to learn more.

 

4 – Healthy: It needs to be good for your baby

The main issue with nappies that people fear is nappy rash. Nappy rash is primarily caused by an acidic diet or skin trapped by warmth and wet. Speak to your naturopath for advice on your diet and give your baby lots of nappy free time (see sidebar). See below. When using cloth nappies, use a cloth or disposable nappy liner that absorbs the wetness away from baby’s skin or a compostable disposable nappy liner that will protect their skin and also ease the mess at change time. If your baby regularly gets a rash in a disposable nappy, it could be chemical burn or other reaction to the bleach and gels in disposable nappies. Many parents put up with this thinking it is nappy rash but our babies sensitive skin can react to these ingredients. Try an eco-disposable. They use a lot less gels and cloth nappies have no gels at all. Many parents who switch to cloth report an instant improvement in their babies skin condition.

 

5 – Washing: It needs to be simple and organised The big appeal of disposable nappies is no washing. The action of taking a fresh, clean nappy out of a packet, using it, throwing it away and grabbing another one equally neat and clean when you are ready is very seductive. When it comes to throwing them away however, the horror of a full and smelly nappy bin tells another story. Many councils are now reducing their pickups to fortnightly as well which is creating a longer lasting stench in wheelie bins. This experience has led many parents to wonder, how bad is it washing nappies? The fear and hassle about this chore has been so blown out of proportion over the years that simple help instructions are now required to assist parents. So here is the good news – it is simple to wash cloth nappies. Cloth nappies need to be washed every second day using a dry or wet system. You can have a day off washing if you have a well-organised system and enough nappies on hand. Bleach products have traditionally been used to whiten nappies when soaking, if you are concerned about environmental impact, it is not suggested you use whitening products. Bleach is a dioxin that is a major cause of animal and soil chemical contamination. Modern cloth nappies are less likely to require bleach and there are many environmentally-safe and cost-effective soakers available online and in health food stores.

An introduction to Elimination Communication

A GREAT ARTICLE IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING NAPPY FREE!

 

Mothering, Mindfulness and a Baby’s Bottom
The full text of this article is Published in The Mother magazine, UK issue number 3, autumn 2002 (www.themothermagazine.co.uk)

Elimination Communication (EC)- also known as Infant Potty Training (IPT), Elimination Timing (ET), Going Diaperless and Natural Infant Hygeine- is how most babies are brought up around the world. This ‘method’, which is so integral and so obvious in most cultures that it needs no name, involves the mother and baby becoming attuned and communicative so that the mother knows when the baby needs to eliminate- wee or poo.

I first heard the phrase Elimination Communication when my fourth baby Maia Rose was 3 months old, and a friend pointed me towards the EC website- see below. I was very excited about it, and the timing was perfect, as I had read in a letter to Mothering magazine a few years earlier, that African women cue their babies to wee and poo with a ‘psss’ sound, and I had begun to do this with Maia from birth. This practice made sense to me because it felt closer to our genetic imprint, and I was drawn to the idea of a deeper physical and psychic connection with my baby. The first time I tried it, I held Maia (aged 3 months) over the laundry tub, and made the pss noise. To my delight, she weed straight away, and we have been doing it ever since.

It has been more fun and more rewarding for our family than I could have imagined. It has given us more skin-to-skin contact, less washing, no nappy rash, and, best of all for me, a deeper respect for Maia’s abilities and knowledge of her body, and a finer attunement to her rhythms. As well as these advantages, there is obviously less waste and a better time for Mother Earth. And it’s fun! Having had three babies in nappies, I have been constantly delighted at Maia’s ability to communicate her needs–and to keep telling me until I get it.

Elimination Communication (EC) as I call it, also makes a beautiful contribution to my experience of mindfulness in my mothering. Like breastfeeding, it keeps me close to my baby, physically and psychologically, and provides very immediate feedback when I am not tuned in.

As a GP (family MD) the physiology is interesting to me, and is totally counter to what I was taught at medical school, where it is asserted that babies do not have sphincter control until close to the second birthday. Obviously the paediatricians didn’t consult the global majority of mothers and babies, for whom knowing their baby’s elimination needs is as simple as knowing their own.

From the start, I’ve had a lot of support from Emma (11), Zoe (8) and Jacob (6), who tell me how much they disliked sitting in wet or soiled nappies as babies. Some believe that we set up our society for sexual problems by encouraging our babies to dissociate, or switch off from their genital areas because of the unpleasant sensation of wearing what some have called a “walking toilet.” My partner Nicholas wondered about the extra effort that I went to in the first year, but has been very happy to reap the benefits of a nappy-free toddler.

Reflecting on my experiences with babies in and out of nappies, I’ve come to the conclusion that probably ALL babies signal their elimination needs from an early age, but because we’re not listening out for it, we misinterpret it as tiredness, needing to feed, or just crankiness, especially if our baby is in a nappy and we don’t observe the connection with eliminating. In the first few months, I learnt Maia’s signals by carrying her around without nappies or pants and observing her closely. (This was fairly easy, as she was very much ‘in arms’ for her first six months.) I discovered that she would squirm and become unsettled, sometimes with a bit of crying, especially if it took me a while to “get it.”

At other times, it was more psychic, and I found myself heading for the laundry tub, where we usually eliminated, without really thinking. When I was distracted, or delayed acting on my hunch, I usually got peed on. (However, she very seldom peed on me when I carried her in a sling) Her signal for poo was usually few farts, or sometimes she’d even pull off the breast as a means of signalling that she needed to go. She didn’t want to sit in her own poo!

Learning Maia’s daily pattern was also useful. She usually pooed first thing in the morning, and, as a baby, tended to pee frequently (about every 10 minutes) in the first few hours after arising. (My husband found this really tricky when he was ‘on duty’ in the morning.) I noticed that she would also pee about 10 minutes after breastfeeding or drinking. She still almost always pees on awaking; I think it is the need to eliminate that actually wakens her.

In her first year, we used the laundry tub by preference. I’d hold her upright by her thighs, with her back resting on my belly. A small sandpit-type bucket with a conveniently concave lip was useful from the early days; I’d hold it between my thighs, sitting, and hold Maia above it. The blue bucket- now a family icon- has been very well travelled, and also came into its own at night later on- see below. As she got older and heavier, I found that sitting her on the toilet in front of me worked well- sometimes we’d have a ‘double wee’, which was always successful if nothing else worked! Along with the position, I cued her with my “psss” noise, and sometimes at the tub, when I thought she had a need but was slow to start, I’d turn on the tap as well.

After 3 months or so of doing this, I became more sure of my interpretation and I would sometimes gently persist, even where she was initially reluctant, and usually she’d go in half a minute or so. However, for me, it’s a fine line, and I think it’s vital to have cooperation, and not a battle of wills, which can sometimes develop around “toileting.” It’s more a dance of togetherness that develops, as with breastfeeding, from love and respect for each other.

On a practical level, I used nappies (I love those Weenies pilchers!) when we were out and about, and weed her as much as I could, but I didn’t expect to be perfect in these, or any, circumstances. We used toilets or took the bucket (or another plastic container with a tight lid) in the car. When we missed a pee, my reaction was just, “Oh well, missed that one.” On hot days, I just lay a nappy on the car seat. If it wasn’t convenient to stop, I’d say to her, “Oh, Maia, you’ll have to pee in the nappy, and I’ll change it as soon as we stop.” Maia didn’t like to be disturbed at night in the early months, so I’d lie her on a bunny rug and just let her wee. I changed this whenever I woke up. Or I’d wrap a cloth nappy loosely around her bum and change it when wet. I found that, as with naps, she usually weed on awaking and then nursed.

Around 6 to 7 months, Maia went ‘on strike’, coinciding with teething and beginning to crawl. She stopped signalling clearly and at times actively resisted being “weed.” I took it gently, offering opportunities to eliminate when it felt right and not getting upset when, after refusing to go in the laundry tub, she went on the floor. Even on “bad days,” though, we still had most poos in a bowl, bucket or the toilet.

At nearly 10 months, we were back on track. I noticed that as she became more independent and engrossed in her activity, she was not keen to be removed to eliminate, so I started to bring a receptacle to her. She preferred a bowl or bucket on my lap, and later we began to use a potty: I initially held her while she used it. At night time, I started sitting her on the blue bucket (and on the breast at the same time, tricky to lie down afterwards and not spill the bucket!). When I was less alert, she weed on a nappy between her legs and/or the bunny rug underneath her.

There was a marked shift in things soon after she began walking at 12 months, and by 14 months, to my amazement, Maia was out of nappies completely. She now was able to communicate her needs very clearly, both verbally and non-verbally, and her ability to “hold on” was also enhanced. When she needed to eliminate, she said “wee” and/or headed for the potty–we had several around the house. Nicholas, her dad, was so delighted when she first did this that he clapped her, and so she would stand up and applaud herself afterwards. She began to be very interested in the fate of her body products, and joined me as we tipped it onto the garden or into the toilet. (Now she wants to empty the potty herself) She even began to get a cloth and wipe up after herself!

Nightimes continue to be busy for us, with lots of feeding and weeing, but, unless she is unwell, or I am very tired, we have very few “misses”, and sitting up at night to wee her seems to me a small effort in return for the benefits we currently reap. It seems, from other stories, that many EC babies stop weeing at night even in the first year, or have a predictable pattern (eg not weeing after midnight), and no doubt Maia will do this in the next year or so.

As a mindful mother, it interests me is that EC babies learn to release before they learn to hold on. This makes it EC very convenient because, when cooperative, a baby can empty even a small amount of wee from the bladder. (This means, for example, that when I wee Maia in the garden before starting a car trip, I know that there will then be minimal chance of Maia needing to wee for at least half an hour or so.) In contrast, conventional toilet training is built around the child’s ability to ‘hold on’ to their wee and poo, until they can release it in a socially acceptable place. I wonder, then, about the mind-body implications of this subtle but important difference. Aren’t we a society where we tend to “hold on” to our “stuff,” often needing the help of others (eg therapists) to encourage us to “let it out.”

One of my friends, a bodyworker, commented on Maia’s relaxed mouth, and this made me wonder if the process might relax the whole digestive tract. I can also feel in my mothering the beauty of supporting her healthy eliminative functions, which many of us feel shameful about and would prefer to deny–hence nappies, which hide the eliminating act itself.

Furthermore, the ‘toilet training stage’ is, in Erikson’s psychological stages, centred on the issue of ‘autonomy vs shame and doubt’, and it seems to me that Maia has mastered these issues already- she is incredibly autonomous- not to say bossy at times!!- and I wonder if this might be in part due to being an early mistress of her elimination.(She’s also a Leo, Aries rising!)

For me, the beauty of elimination communication has been in the process, not in the outcome, however remarkable or convenient. Yes, it’s great to do less than a full load of washing each day for a family of six, but much more significant is the learning that mothers and babies are connected very deeply–at a “gut level”–and that babies (and mothers) are much more capable and smart than our society credits. I feel very blessed to have had this experience.

I have experienced EC with only one baby, starting at a young age. Many women in many places have done it differently- started from birth or with an older baby, made less or more use of nappies, taken a long time or a short time to catch on, done EC part-time or full time and some women have even begun work outside the home and trained their baby’s carers in EC.

If you feel drawn to EC, I encourage you to have a go. Look on the internet- it’s all I needed to get started, as well as invaluable on-going support. There are also two great books- see below-and you can ask other Mums (including myself) and mothers from cultures such as India and China where this practice is still widespread. Although it can be more complex for older babies, some of whom may have already learned to ignore their body’s signals, others may welcome the chance to communicate their elimination needs.

I wish you ease, pleasure and mindfulness in your mothering.

RESOURCES

Websites

Rosie’s Elimination Communication Page
http://www.freeyellow.com/members4/seafish/index.html

Ingrid Bauer’s Natural Infant Hygiene site
http://www.natural-wisdom.com

Jana Kutarna’s “Did You Say Without Diapers?” page
http://trick.fig.org/jana/child/diaperless.html

Scott Noelle’s article (Continuum Concept- EC with a toddler)
http://www.teleport.com/~noelles/misc/goingdiaperless.html

Johnson Family Infant Potty Training Page
http://www.users.uswest.net/~ptlfhb/training.html

Trickle Treat—Laurie Boucke (includes info about her new book)
http://www.White-Boucke.com/ifpt.html

Natec’s ET article, excerpt from her booklet
http://www3.parentsplace.com/readroom/articles/elimination1.html
( the 3 is not a misprint)

Books

Infant Potty Training- A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living. Laurie Boucke, 2000 White-Boucke Publishing
Box 400, Lafayette, CO 80026, USA.
email: laurieb@white-boucke.com

Elimination Timing by Natec. HCR2 Box 6838, Keaau, HI 96749, USA. $6 US each.emailnatec@interpac.net

Diaper Free!: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene, by Ingrid Bauer 2001
available from Natural Wisdom Press: 115 Forest Ridge Road, Saltspring Island, BC, V8K 1W4 CANADA
email: instinct@saltspring.com

 

Sarah Buckley,
Brisbane Australia
sarahjbuckley@uqconnect.net
March 2002