Each Thursday, we'll be sharing blog posts written by birth professionals, by moms, and by parenting experts. I've known Lindsay for almost ten years now...we met when we were in college, and I guarantee that diapers were definitely not on our radar then! How we change! When Lindsay recently offered to share her experience of going "Diaper Free" I couldn't wait to read her story. I think you'll enjoy her perspective just as much as I do!
Diaper Free. This is the 5th time I’ve written out my diaper free story, I guess I want it to be perfect, and it keeps coming out not perfect. So, I am reminded again that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good, meaningful and worthwhile. That is basically what Diaper Free living has been for me in a nutshell: learning to accept less than perfect.
I was curious about not using diapers because I had two friends that had done it with their babies. One did it completely from birth, the other was doing it for poops starting around 6 months. We were coming up on eating solids and I knew that I didn’t really want to deal with the changing poop and cloth diapers. So, I ordered “Diaper Free: Gentle Wisdom for Natural Infant Hygiene” by Ingrid Bauer.
The book came when my daughter, Molly, was 5 ¾ months old. I had just started using and laundering my own cloth diapers a few days before (I had been using a cloth diaper service up until this point). And, I was already over it! It felt like a lot of work and a lot of leakage. I flipped through the book quickly, saw a few pictures of different ways to hold your baby and thought, “I’ll try it.”
I took her outside, held her under her thighs, took a deep breath and let it all my air out and she peed! I was ecstatic. We continued like this for the rest of the day, my husband, myself and my 19 year old nephew who was living with us at the time. We were all on cloud nine.
I continued to flip through the book when I had time, gaining so much wisdom and insight each time I read even just a page. I now understood the anatomy of expelling waste, the amazing instinct of babies to not wet their sleeping place, the greatness of this practice in our world, the different ways to read my baby and start learning her cues and how changing my mind was basically all that needed to happen in order to be successful in giving up diapers.
Molly is now 13 1/2 months old and we are still going strong. It’s had its major ups and downs for sure, but overall I feel like it fits really well in our lives. We recently flew from California to New Jersey and didn’t use any diapers. It was really fun to “pee” her in the airplane bathroom, she thought it was cool too, I think. People say to me often “oh,she’s already potty trained” and I try to explain in a breath that no, she isn’t potty trained, she will still pee if I miss her cue, she’s not going to “hold” it. But, at the same time, I guess she is fairly close to being potty trained. The misses really vary. I’ve gone weeks without missing any, day or night. And then I’ll miss like 4 in a day. She is constantly changing and I have to adjust that. Sometimes it takes me awhile to accept her new stage and understand what she wants. But, as Bauer recommends I deal with the misses calmly and efficiently saying something like “whoops, Mommy missed” and then change her pants. Okay, I don’t always feel calm, but I still fake it and say the mantra in an even more sing songy voice if that is the case.
I have learned and am still learning SO much through this process. Sometimes I get totally obsessive compulsive about trying to make her pee when she has clearly told me that she doesn’t have to go and then I feel guilty for not listening to her. Basically doing the exact opposite of what I think is so cool about this, which is the communication aspect. But then I come back around, not always in the same moment or even the same day, and remember what I read on a blog somewhere that I can be totally stoked on each pee/poop I catch and not even worry about the others. It’s hard for me to not focus on my “misses”, which completely transfers to the rest of my life. I tend to be really hard on myself and unforgiving of my “humanness”. I realized fairly quickly that I could use this diaper free journey as a chance to better myself, more specifically as a chance to be gentle and loving with myself about 10 times a day.
I also am learning about trust. Trusting that Molly is trying her hardest. Trusting that the fact that I can’t control her is the way it’s supposed to be. Trusting that other people, especially my husband, can help me. Trusting that there is grace. Oh grace. I sing “Amazing Grace” to her when she falls asleep and tear up often. It’s so sweet to know that I don’t have to be perfect, that my heart and good intentions are enough, and that I can just be thankful for the grace of God.
I recommend the book highly, even if you aren’t going to go totally diaper free. Bauer is an amazingly insightful human being and offers tons of wisdom in general. I think if you are even at the stage of traditional potty training it would be a good book to read.
I also recommend going diaper free. It is easier than I thought it would be. If you are with your baby most of the time, or have a spouse/ caregiver that is open to this idea then I say go for it. I am constantly surprised by Molly’s intelligence, as I’m sure we all are with our babies. They are just little,tiny people with huge brains. It’s been a wild and fun ride on which we are both (all) learning and growing. Here’s to cute baby buns and the changing of minds and pants.