Poop. In all its crappy whiffy stinking glory. Nappies. I look forward to you, not.
Not quite John Keats, but an admirable effort for this time in the morning. You're probably thinking I've lost the plot writing poetry about bodily functions when I should be tucked up in bed with Matt the Husband, and alas you may be right. Nevertheless I am awake, bright as a button and browsing the internet for something to occupy me until its time to make sandwiches and pack him off to work in a few hours.
I was at the park yesterday with some friends, who much to their joy, are already afflicted with the art of nappy changing. If I'm honest, nappies weren't high on my list of 'first-time mum' fears, but all this changed with one swift motion from a darling toddler which saw her mummy rooting around in the back of the car with baby wipes and nappy sacks. What a stink! I am now approaching motherhood with a resounding reluctance to delve into dirty nappies, although I realise one cannot be blessed with a wonderful baby without taking on some crap too. (You can include sleeepless nights in with nappies there).
This got me to thinking, and I remembered an earth-mum type mentioning Elimination Communication some weeks back. Something I had never heard of, and until yesterday had no interest in knowing more about. It's also known as Nappy Free or Natural Infant Hygiene. Unthinkable in this day and age one might be forgiven for thinking. Not so, according to the wealth of articles and books out there dedicated to the practice, and one I have spent the last hour of a sleepless night reading up on.
Is it genius or potty? (pardon the pun).
Still practiced routinely throughout many developing countries, some western mums are doing this too. It's based on the theory that no mammal wants to soil its nest, and so relies on the mother picking up cues from the infant in order to take the infant to the toilet/potty/whatever, rather than soiling a nappy. It sounds bonkers, but there's an interesting article in The Green Parent, which points out it isn't a radical practice, rather something natural and logical. And when you read into it a bit more it makes some sense.
We spend 2 years or so promoting a baby who wears nappies to go to the toilet in them. And then in some cases another 2 years trying to wean them off the nappy and onto the potty - something which the majority of toddlers by then are reluctant to give up. In other words, we train them to use nappies, and then have to retrain them not to. A waste of time perhaps?
For those using nappy free toileting, the baby from birth is taken to a 'place' to toilet, and the mother uses cues like 'wee wee' to encourage urination and so on. Eventually, the baby learns to wee on cue, without the need for nappies. Same for poop. Now this feels really bizarre, but I think its actually rather like toilet training a puppy. With D-W she had her bed in a crate in the kitchen, and we took her outside regularly to be given the opportunity to toilet. It's generally accepted that dogs wont want to soil their bedding, and so why would we expect a baby to soil a nappy?
Of course, I am planning on using nappies. I doubt I have the time or the patience to dedicate to raising a child nappy free. But I am intrigued and somewhat awed by those I have read about who have the time and dedication to work at the nappy free toileting with their babies from birth. Hats off to them. As the article in The Green Parent says: "save a nappy, save the planet".
If you're even remotely interested, you can read the article here: www.thegreenparent.co.uk/articles/read/nappy-free-living