Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Elimination Communication, and/or, why your infant doesn't actually need diapers

Elimination communication is the process of teaching your infant to eliminate their waste in an appropriate spot, such as a toilet. The term was coined by Ingrid Bauer, whose experiences traveling outside of industrialized nations led to her method and her book 'Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene'. It's all about learning your infant's cues and responding to them.

There are so many benefits to going diaper free. It's better for the environment, it's better for your budget, and you can avoid problems that may arise from diaper use like persistent diaper rash or a difficult struggle potty training a toddler. None of the benefits are as great as the unique bond that you're creating by becoming in tune with your child's body and needs.

To get started, the first thing you'll want to do is remove your baby's diaper! You may have an accident or two (or three, or four) while getting started, but to me it wasn't any worse than cleaning up after a diaper leak. If you're really struggling with the idea of letting your baby have some air time, a basic pre fold cloth diaper without a cover is a great second option.

Our routine involves giving Bee the opportunity to use the toilet upon waking up, and shortly after each nursing session. To do this, we hold her above the toilet in a supported, comfortable deep-squatting position that looks like this:

She is completely supported and very comfortable, which is key! Once you're in position, make a sound. The sound we use here at Brightly Living Headquarters is sort of a mimicking of a stream of water, almost a "pssssst" sound. If your baby fusses or pulls away, don't push it. You can always try again and you want this to be a positive experience! Ultimately, your baby will learn to eliminate on command by hearing the sound and soon you'll become an expert at recognizing and responding to your baby's signals!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Treasure basket

Today we took an activity from Elinor Goldschmied whose key person system and emphasis on thoughtful, child-focused play fits in perfectly here at Brightly Living Headquarters. Elinor believed that children should have access to everyday, real world objects and materials in play instead of toys.

Putting together treasure baskets for your child could not be easier, or more enjoyable - and infancy is a fantastic time to start. Just drop in some objects with interesting textures, shapes, and colors. What happens with the objects is up to your child, which provides the perfect opportunity for open-ended learning!

Today's fabulous treasure basket included a whisk, a baster, a ribbon, and a seashell that we collected from our most recent beach day. Bee explored these items by touching, holding, dropping, seeing, sucking, and smelling. I let Bee take the lead in the investigation of our objects, so the experience was stimulating without being over-stimulating as it allowed her to control the amount of time spent inspecting each item, and also to return to her favorite ones!

How did I know those sweet little hands would especially love the cold feeling of the metal whisk? I was so pleased that she grabbed this item first, and then raised it up as if to show me how fascinating it was!