Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Starting to Consider Natural Infant Hygiene

Here is my first journal post about Elimination Communication. My baby isn't even born yet. (We're due next week.) A few weeks ago I was looking over our baby registry and saw that we hadn't gotten the book about Natural Infant Hygiene that I wanted. So I finally just bought the Kindle version of Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene.

I'm not finished with it yet but I will write a more complete review when I am. So far the ideas are compelling. I'm going to give it a try for several reasons:

  • Babies in other non-industrialized countries don't wear diapers and don't make messes all over the place, so it must be possible.
  • Diapers are expensive.
  • Diapers cause problems that shouldn't exist (or should be extremely rare) like rashes and infections. 
  • I fail to see how changing diapers for three to four years and then potty training is more convenient than helping a baby go to the bathroom when they need to.
  • If I had poop or urine in my underpants and could do nothing about it myself I don't think there is anything else in the world that I would accept as being more urgent to my caretakers. 
  • The idea of communicating on this level with an infant is exciting and intriguing to me. 
There are many other reasons people choose to try this way of life, but I am currently most interested in that last one. 

To be honest, I haven't been excited about having a baby for this entire pregnancy. Call me a bad mom if you like, but I've never been in to babies. I don't remember the last time I held one and I wasn't one of those little girls who played house and just wanted to be a wife and mother her whole life. God bless those women! (One of them did a wonderful job raising me.) 

I've just never been that sentimental I guess. Maybe there is something wrong with me, or maybe there is something wrong with the perception of infants that our culture gives us. The impression I've always had is that, "All babies do is eat, sleep, cry, and poop." I'm sure that is how they spend most of their time, but being described as such makes them seem more like an inanimate obligation than an intelligent human capable of thought and learning.

Babies know when they are hungry and when they are full. They know when they are tired. They can communicate when they are uncomfortable or something is wrong. Why do we assume that they can't communicate when they need to eliminate their waste? Why would God neglect that urge until they are three or four years old? That just doesn't make sense to me.

It makes much more sense to me that babies are capable of doing this, that it takes some practice and that they can learn fairly quickly if their parents pay attention and want to learn. 

Now that I look at a baby as a tiny human who wants to learn and is capable of it right from the start, I am finally excited for him to be born. I don't know how to bring it up to other people (besides my husband) that the thing I'm most looking forward to after birth is learning to communicate with my baby about when he has to go to the bathroom, but there it is. 
I don't know if it will work. Maybe I will be terrible at it, but I am so excited to try to anticipate my baby's needs, to treat him like a human with dignity right from the start, and to learn to communicate with him before he can even talk.

Thanks for reading my first thoughts about Natural Infant Hygiene! Please share your ideas or questions in the comments below!

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