More and more parents are talking about ‘diaper free time’ these days. If this your first time encountering this rather bizarre phrase, let me assure you that it’s not as strange as you might think.
Parents in different cultures have always practiced diaper-free time for two major reasons. For many, letting their baby go diaper-less is an effective way to prevent diaper rashes. While others adopt the gentle approach called Elimination Communication (EC), wherein babies are left diaper free, and parents respond to their baby’s elimination cues by taking them to the potty.
Whether you want get onboard with practicing EC full time or just want to help your baby’s steer clear of diaper rashes,
Why do Diaper Free time?
Here are some reasons why parents find Diaper Free time appealing:
Less Rashes and Skin Irritations:
Tried and trusted method to prevent diaper rashes is going nappy free. The skin around the diaper area can become very acidic as it is exposed continuously to pee and poop. The moisture locked in the skin surface can also serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. Exposing the skin to air will keep it dry and helps clear rashes.
Less Diapers in the Landfill :
Fewer diapers on the bum mean fewer diapers trashed in the landfill. Even if you use cloth diapers, you end up saving a lot of water and energy by using fewer diapers.
Early Potty Training :
Those who practice diaper free time along with EC vouch that babies potty train earlier than those babies who are in a diaper all the time. Letting your kid go naked is often suggested while potty training children. It enables children to become more aware of their bodily functions and respond to it.
More Intuitive to your Baby’s needs :
EC is not letting your baby pee wherever they want. EC is primarily about being in tune with your baby that you start to understand their ‘elimination signals’. Experts believe that babies communicate their every need. Just like how babies express when they are hungry or sleepy, similarly, they will let you know when they want to pee or poop. The more we understand our babies needs, the better we react to it.
How to go Diaper Free for Diaper Rashes?
Many parents feel overwhelmed about going diaper-less full time and practice EC, and that’s OK! At the same time, they do realize the importance of giving their child a diaper break but not sure where to start. The biggest concern while carrying out naked time is dealing with poopy businesses.
Here are some tips to keep messes at bay yet let your baby enjoy some nappy free time.
1.Choose the Right Time:
Watch your baby’s bathroom patterns, and choose a poop free time. My son had a set time when he will go #2. I will wait until he finishes his job, bath him, massage him and let him kick around naked before I dress him up. You can come up with your own routine that fits your schedule.
Always apply a diaper cream just before dressing up your baby. You don’t want diaper cream ending up in their mouth.
Wipe your baby’s bum before letting them free. Don’t be concerned about your baby touching their private parts, wash their hands afterward. One of the reasons why I practiced diaper free time after a bath because I didn’t want them touching their pee’d skin and tasting it (yuck!)
2.Have a Backup Plan:
Babies tend to surprise you at the most unexpected moment. Therefore, always be prepared for an accident. With babies who aren’t moving, you could place them over a towel, or a blanket to catch the mess. If you have a boy, you can use these Pee Pee Tee Pee over his wee-wee. Personally, I think a wash cloth or a prefold would work great.
For older children, you can use underwear or pants if you don’t feel brave enough to go commando.
3.Choose a Right Place:
Before the crawling stage, I let my babies naked in the crib or on a bed covered with towels, and a waterproof cover. Once they started moving around, I let them go diaper free in the living room where there is no carpet. In the colder months, I would make them wear just pants. Some parents get a kiddie pool too. If you are worried about your kids making a mess on the furniture, use a play yard to contain them in a place.
4.Make it Fun :
Keep your baby busy and entertained. You can read books, turn on the mobile (if they are in the crib), give them a massage or do tummy time.
When done regularly, a diaper-free method can curb diaper rashes. In most cases, naked time will also help subside mild rashes.
You can do this half an hour daily, once or twice a day.
What is Elimination Communication and How to Do EC?
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 instinctually resist soiling themselves, their sleep space, and their caregivers, and they clearly communicate about it from birth. With EC, we learn baby’s signals and natural rhythms and assist them with this process until they naturally gain independence (usually by 9-18 months of age). – Go Diaper Free
If you are intrigued by EC but don’t know where to start or not sure if you can go on board with it, there are some excellent online resources and books available to evaluate the pros and cons and decide if it will suit your lifestyle.
Read through the steps listed below to get an idea of what you can expect when going forward with EC.
Here are the Steps involved in Elimination Communication:
1.Decide which EC Method will suit you:
Full-time, part-time, right from birth or on the verge of potty training, EC comes in various packages that can be adapted to fit your family needs.
Adapt as per the Modern Needs:
Diaper free time is not synonymous with being naked all the time. Although, in many parts of the world, they do let their kids roam naked. But there is no hard and fast rule. EC can be easily adopted to fit our modern needs. Instead of letting them run naked, you can use underwear, training pants or regular pants . The key is to make children aware of their natural elimination process and don’t get them accustomed to wetness.
Learn your Baby’s Cues:
Is there a particular time of the day that your kids go poo poo? Do they tend to sneak out, seek privacy when its time to poop? Do you notice a pattern ? a grunt? a deep breath? Once you identify these patterns it will become easier for you to take them to the potty.
Some parents prefer sign language and teach their babies to sign to make it more clear to understand.
EC Positions & Safety:
Big children who have better motor skill can very well use the potty without any trouble. Care should be taken when handling newborns and infant , who do not have proper head control. There are different comfortable positions that parents practise, such as :
- The Cradling Hold
- Reclining Hold
- Seated and Leaning Forward
- Squatting Baby
- Standing Baby and many more. This post will help you understand the different positions in depth.
Tools you Need for EC :
Portable Potty : EC doesn’t mean that you let your kids pee whenever and wherever you can. EC is a gentle approach to understanding your little one’s elimination cues and help them learn in their potty training development. A portable potty with a removable potty tray can be very useful to parents who are practicing EC with newborn.
Waterproof Cover : You can use a waterproof crib protector or a mattress protector if you let your kids diaper-free on the bed. My favorite waterproof mats are PeaPod mats. They come in various sizes, so you don’t have to get multiple protectors. One PeaPod mat can be used over the crib, bed, over a play mat or on the floor.
EC friendly clothes : Make sure there is easy access to do the business. You are not going to have enough time to sit and unbutton jammies when its show time. Gowns, baby leggings and long socks are great EC friendly clothes.
The very concept of ‘diaper free time’ with our babies can be scary. But, think about how babies were potty trained before the modern diaper market took over. There is nothing strange about limiting the diaper time, in fact, that is a very natural approach.
Even if you are not into full time Elimination Communication, giving your babies diaper free time will help with diaper rashes and encourage early potty training.