Over the past couple of weeks, there has been some discussion of the so-called "Diaper-Free" movement. Otherwise known as Elimination Communication. Diaper-Free Baby is one website dedicated to the cause. There was a Newsweek article, I believe, then a NYTimes article, then a NYTimes op-ed.
Today, a Slate article sums up the issue. By the way, I love the graphic on the Slate piece. It’s adorable.
The piece shifts, immediately into Parent War mode, since EC requires, as you could imagine, rather constant and close attention, something that, say a parent working outside the home can’t do. And off we go!
In fact, elimination communication sounds a lot like another name for ever-present mothering: attachment parenting, the theory of child rearing that holds that kids are best off emotionally and cognitively if they’re always with a single caregiver in their early years. Here’s how babies become toilet trained by the age of 6 months among the Digo people of East Africa, according to the American Family Physician: "The child spends the first few months of life exclusively in the company of the mother." Here’s the modern-day Manhattan version as reported by the Times: "Some parents sleep next to their children and keep a potty at arm’s reach." So much for an evening away. And forget about a day at the office.
It’s fascinating to watch the twists and turns in American parenting practices. Early training used to be suggested, earlier in the 20th century, along with very early eating of solid foods – via the bottle, no less. Be assured that the percentage of parents interested in EC would be very small, even among proponents of attachment parenting, I would think. It’s just not….necessary.