Book 6 – Diaper Free, The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene, by Ingrid Bauer
This books not only changed my life but my children’s lives too because it helped to change the kind of parent I want to be.
For my first daughter, I did everything I was told, disposable diapers, breastfed till six months, potty trained around 2-3 years old, etc. It wasn’t bad but she had a lot of diaper rashes despite my best efforts to keep her changed and clean and there were the inevitable defiance surrounding ‘potty training’. She turned out ok though.
When I was pregnant with my second daughter eleven years later I knew a lot more about raising a baby and about environmental impacts and health impacts on children. I kept thinking that there must be another solution to this diapering problem. I was all ready to use cloth diapers but still felt that there was something I was missing.
Then I picked up a Natural Parenting magazine and in it was an article about ‘Diaper Free’ and it sent me to the book titled the same (actually there are two books with the same title and both are worth reading). I had the ever elusive ‘eureka’ moment complete with light bulb over my head and angels singing!
Actually what I read just made sense, it talks about how children are born able to tell us when they are hungry, tired, and scared, and guess what, they can even tell us when they have to ‘go’! The truth is that conventional use of diapers wasn’t introduced until the late 1800’s and only as a means to help catch ‘oopsies’ when children were in public. We as the lovely enabled western society we’ve become took to it like flies to honey and started using them exclusively. With the use of diapers blossomed a trillion dollar industry full of diapers, creams, bins, books, aids, etc. Everything we needed to teach our children to eliminate in their pants only to teach them three years later that this was wrong.
Now if you went for a walk in Africa, China, Russia, Northern Canada, etc., you would find that very few children wear diapers. It’s not because their parents just let them ‘go’ anywhere, it’s because their mothers learn to read the child’s signal and teaches them at a young age how to control and release their developing muscles (a skill they learn in the womb). Most children in every other country except Canada and USA are completely ‘potty trained’ by a year old.
Believe me it’s not only possible but it’s easy too, a lot easier than cleaning and changing diapers over and over. My daughter started using a ‘yogurt container potty’ when she was two weeks old. For six months I never had to change a ‘number 2’ diaper and by a year old she could tell me with words when she had to go. Now at two years old she is almost completely toilet independent.
I wasn’t perfect in my use of the ‘Diaper Free’ model written in the book, there were times when I got lazy and put her back in diapers, times when she was ill or travelling when we had minor relapses, but all in all I am very proud of her and myself.
The book goes in to much more detail about the whole process and I highly recommend it for anyone who is expecting or who has children who are ready to get out of diapers. It’s a wonderful book and like I said, it opened up a world of gentle and respectful parenting that has improved all of our lives.
(Sorry went a bit over the 500 words but this is a topic I am passionate about – educating women on their empowering mothering skills and knowledge.)