Nappy or not nappy? That is the question!

So I was watching Loose Women this afternoon and they were talking about a concept which I had heard about a few months ago (and was supposed to blog about but I forgot) known as “Nappy-free parenting”. This is a method whereby you basically potty-train your child – FROM BIRTH!!! 

Also known as “Baby-led potty training” (BLPT) or “Elimination Communication” (EC) it, in a nutshell, is not putting your baby in a nappy for some or all of the time and looking for signs that they may want to go to the toilet and allowing them to do it outside of the nappy instead.

I first read about this “method” in an article online about an Australian woman who was training her two week old in the art of EC. My initial thought was “this woman must be mad” but I wanted to find out a bit more about it so off to good old Google and up popped a website called “Nappy Free Baby”.

Also now a book, the website is run by a British woman called Amber Hatch who has uses the technique with her three children.
The following is an extract from the website;

Baby-led potty training (BLPT), or Elimination communication (EC), is a respectful, natural way to care for a baby. It can be done with or without nappies. Millions of mothers around the world deal with their babies’ toileting needs in this way. It is a skill that has been forgotten in the West since the advent of disposable nappies.

How does it work? Parents look for signals that baby is uncomfortable, and then offer her a chance to urinate or defecate outside her nappy. They can also simply hold babies out at regular times, such as at nappy change time. Parents normally hold her in a ‘squat’ position, hands underneath the baby’s thighs, with baby’s back and head leaning against the parent’s chest. Or in the crook of the arm. An older baby can sit on a potty or a toilet insert.  The baby then urinates or defecates in the potty or lavatory, instead of in their nappy.

All babies seem to be born with a reflex that helps them avoid soiling themselves. Parents of newborns often find that their baby wees and poos as soon as they remove the nappy. The change in temperature and /or the squat position triggers this reflex. A parent can capitalise on this reflex by regularly holding the baby in a position that relaxes the pelvic floor with the nappy off. The baby will soon learn to associate the hold and the place (the potty or lavatory) with his bodily functions. And so, what starts as a reflex and some lucky timing, moves into a more conscious act on the part of the baby. Parents often make a ‘psss’ sound, or a grunting noise to help baby make this connection.

Now some of this makes sense to me – if millions of people in other countries find it works then there must be something in it. Also, it can’t be nice sitting in a wet or dirty nappy for any period of time (plus increases the chance of nappy rash occurring) so possibly nicer for baby and although I do use them, I really don’t like the “nappies don’t decompose/landfill” situation.*

BUT, how you are supposed to watch your child all the time for signs that they might need the loo? If you are supposed to watch them all day and all night – when do you sleep or eat or wash? And then what if you miss a sign and suddenly it’s a literal shit storm?! 

Amber suggests that BLPT helps to promote a strong bond between parent and child and improves a child’s confidence but I feel there are other less messy ways that do just the same. She also says how as the focus is on ‘catching’ wee and poo, there is often less to clean up…I don’t know about anyone else but I’m rubbish at catch! 

So, I decided to do a little experiment. I put a towel on the floor and laid a naked Jack on top and watched him to see if he gave me a clue as to when he was going to do a wee. He didn’t. As I suspected, it surprised us both – he got wet and I had more washing to add to the pile.

There is a little video on the website showing a “day in the life of a EC baby” and I definitely recommend watching it. Whilst I admire Amber for doing it (she must have the patience of a saint and a lot of washing to do) and I’m glad that the technique works for her, if I hadn’t already decided that we weren’t going to implement EC into our lives the minute I heard about it, the video definitely puts me off. It’s the peeing in the sink (great habit to encourage -not) and the night time chamber pot bits that got me… imagine the smell!  *sick*

Definitely have a look at her website when you have a minute though as it makes for a very interesting read – http://www.nappyfreebaby.co.uk

Anyway, I am happy to wait until Jack understands things a little bit more before we start looking into toilet training… we will stick with the nappies in the meantimenthanks!

* I did consider the whole cloth nappy thing but after some research I decided that I didn’t need the added stress of all the extra washing required. The last thing I need after a night of very little sleep is to be scraping shit off of a pile of nappies! I also looked at eco friendly, semi-decompostable nappies as an alternative but they are so expensive! Why is it that the stuff that’s good for you and the environment is way more expensive than the crappy stuff?


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