Location: Some island in the middle of nowhere, Alaska
Elimination Communication...natural parenting?
It seems like the opposite of natural parenting, as in waiting till your toddler is ready, but maybe some one can enlighten me?? I mean, they seem like polar opposites. Is it really "natural parenting" to do elimination communication?
The science behind elimmination communication is that babies are born knowing they need to pee/poop and don't want to do that in a diaper. They send you cues so you can catch what they elimminate (since obviously they can't walk to the toilet). It is said that by using diapers you're actually "training" a baby to elimminate in a diaper rather than send cues that they need to go.
To me, natural parenting isn't about letting your baby make all the decisions, more about giving them the opportunity to practice skills at age appropriate times with ample support and encouragement but with the assumption that they are capable little beings.
That's probably true! I try to aim for what makes the most sense biologically (evolutionarily speaking, for example), draw on the practices of cultures who are less westernized, and go with my own gut. This ends up looking mostly like a rejection of the most recent (100 years or so) western parenting practices like early weaning, scheduled feeds, sleeping in cribs, late potty training (due to diaper use, I feel), etc etc. But now that LO is older I find myself focusing on her needs beyond the basics (food, sleep, poop), like how she'll handle conflicts and frustrations, and I find that allowing her to take control of certain aspects of her being, such as using the bathroom, is something that is a positive and empowering thing.
I don't do EC but EC is (to me, at least) one of the basics of natural parenting, which is just the method that would have been used by women for so many thousands of years (just like breastfeeding, bedsharing, babywearing). Diapers are recent. If you watch the film Babies on Netflix, you'll see the African & Mongolian mothers still doing it.
Part of me wishes I did EC because my almost 3 year old just has zero potty signs and it's impossible to even fit diapers on him anymore!
Others have said it well. EC is certainly more "natural" than complete diaper dependence as it is the method that has been used in the most cultures over the millennia. Of course, the practice is adapted to fit modern, Western homes and lifestyles since we don't live in huts or small tribes but houses with carpets and toilets, so most ECing parents (ourselves included) do use diapers at least part of the time. It is also consistent with attachment parenting because it requires you to be in tune with your baby in order to respond to their cues and timing regarding elimination, helping them to hygienically relieve themselves until they are able to do it on their own. In that regard, it is not that different from breastfeeding on cue, learning to sensitively respond to your babies needs as they express them. It is quite time intensive in the first year or two so understandably not for everyone.
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