When we were first getting ready for Claire I kept wondering, what do people without diapers do for their kids. Even today, there must be places where diapers are unusual or even unknown.
I’m thinking about places where aboriginal tribes live. How do they deal with babies’ poop and pee? It was always on my mind, and I never really investigated this until now.
Claire is pretty much potty trained now, and even though she still has the occasional accident, I think she’s doing pretty good for a 2.5 year old. But we have Oliver on the way and we are going back to diapers.
Pretty much like starting over as far as I’m concerned.
Turns out that these places I was wondering about that get by without diapers fine have been doing it for hundreds of years. Their culture and customs are very different but one thing they don’t need is diapers. They use something known as elimination communication.
The parents get in touch with the baby so closely that they learn the signals indicating that the baby needs to go. I can understand how this happens because as Claire was growing up we anticipated when she needed to go and rushed to the toilet.
Even at 7 months old we would help her sit on the toilet and let her do her thing; I know there’s some truth to this. But I can’t imagine doing this in our modern western-style lifestyle.
Apparently there are some cultures that have created their own type of diapers using animal skin and plants. That makes me wonder if diapers are just a normal step in modernizing the human race.
In fact ancient cultures used milkweed leaf wraps and animal skin wraps, so the need for a diaper has been around for a loooong time.
The proponents of not using diapers claim that a baby will have full control of their bowels at or around 1 year old! But can we put up with 12 months of poop and pee everywhere? I don’t know, but I don’t think so.
Even if I watched Claire like a hawk, and now Oliver coming, I’m sure I’d miss a cue or a sign and then I would be cleaning bedsheets all day. I don’t think that elimination communication is for us, but we’ll certainly pay more attention.
So my curiosity has been satisfied. I had been looking for a better way to do the diaper thing and I thought that if we looked into how people did it before diapers, maybe we would find a nice solution.
Elimination communication sounds very natural, but it also seems to conflict with western culture in so many levels. I guess it’s back to diapers for Oliver. Oh yeah and we tried the cloth diaper route for Claire… that lasted about 3 days, they are more inconvenient than practical.