I finished reading Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene by Ingrid Bauer.
This is the first book I've read about the subject, though I have read several different blogs. I found it to be very useful and extremely encouraging.
The first section is basically describing what Natural Infant Hygiene is, what it isn't, the history of Elimination Communication around the world, and the disadvantages of using diapers as Western civilizations do. This section is about six chapters of why to use the Natural Infant Hygiene Method.
I found this section handy for giving me the confidence I need to try this method even though American culture makes it difficult. It also helps give you reasons and research so you can explain the whole process to your friends and family better.
The next section goes in to the "how" of Natural Infant Hygiene. It has information about what receptacles to use, when to start, how to start, what cue sounds to use, who can help, how to follow your intuition, how to adjust to different aged babies and so on. This section is practical and basically all you need to know about how to get started.
This part gives advice in a non-judgmental way. It offers tips for people who are going completely diaper free from birth, folk who want to use diapers part time, caretakers who will only use the method at home, and any other level of using elimination communication.It has something for everyone!
Later in that section, or in what seemed like a third section to me, the book goes in to different challenges associated with the Natural Infant Hygiene Method and how to overcome them. It covers disabilities of child or parent, travel, set backs, age, illness and anything else that could cause Elimination Communication to become more difficult than normal.
This part of the book is a helpful reference as those situations come up, and a nice read to know what can be expected in the future.
Addressing Issues of Other Reviews
I read one review that complained that the book offered no solution to potty training her four kids while she worked one full time job and one part time job. That is a difficult situation and no book will be able to create extra time magically, but this book does address the fact that you can practice Natural Infant Hygiene part time and it won't hurt anything. It also explains that this is not potty training, and agrees that it does take time to perfect it. Overall, practicing Elimination Communication from birth instead of waiting until later to potty train will save time. That just isn't something Western women always have anymore.
Other reviewers said they felt "judged" because they didn't use the same parenting techniques as described in the book. (Attachment parenting, bonding time, co-sleeping etc.) I am not going to use many of the methods described and I did not feel judged or inferior at all. In fact, I felt supported and as if I could still use Natural Infant Hygiene in my own way with my own techniques. I can pick and choose which parts of it I want to use and it will still be beneficial to my baby and me.
Most of the negative reviews refer to the method as "Infant Potty Training" which gives me doubts about how much of the book they actually read and how open minded they were to it. Paraphrasing from the book - the goal of natural infant hygiene isn't early potty training any more than the goal of breastfeeding is weening.
Some complain that there isn't enough information about how to actually do it. I can understand that as I came away still not having a firm grasp of how to "aim" my little boy once he is born. I do believe, however, that there was plenty of information to get started and that the rest has to be learned through experience. There are several common or popular cues that babies express, but there is no way to know which ones your baby will use. It is a great companion guide to real life experiences.
A few of the reviewers said that they preferred other books of the same topic over this one. As I mentioned above, I haven't read any others so maybe there are better ones. I will review those as I read them and let you know which ones I found to be most helpful. In the meantime, this one is a great place to start.
Do you have any questions about this product that I didn't answer? Do you have any experience with this book or others like it? I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments below!