Mayim Bialik, better known as Blossom from the 1990s TV series of the same name, is promoting Elimination Communication instead of using diapers.
Bialik, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, is a certified lactation educator, is a mother of two young boys and is writing two books on parenting, wrote about Elimination Communication on the Today Show blog.
“Elimination Communication (EC, also known as Natural Infant Hygiene) is the term for learning a baby’s innate inborn cues for pottying, responding to those cues, reinforcing them, and ultimately, helping a child not pee or poop in a diaper. Some people practice EC only at home, some practice it all the time; some start when their babies are newborns, others wait several months. Some people think that people who practice EC are crazy, and some people think that crazy is too harsh a word; preferring instead “totally out of their heads loco bonkers insane in the membrane…”
She writes that she wanted to give it a try but her husband was not into it.
“Sensing this was going to escalate into a fight, I decided to start quietly observing our first son’s behaviors when he ‘went potty.’ I read ‘Diaper Free Baby’ by Ingrid Bauer, I talked to my friend every day to report on our progress, and remarkably, a pattern emerged! By the age of 10 months – before our son could crawl, walk, or talk – he signed reliably when he had to use the potty. By 12 months of age, he stopped peeing in his cloth diaper. By 17 months he was wearing tiny underwear and, now almost 6, he has no conscious memory of ever pooping in a diaper or of wearing diapers at all…”
“My husband and I agree that we preferred to put the time in early for the results it produced, and since I was the 24/7 at-home caregiver for the formative years, it worked for us. EC is not impossible if you are not an at-home parent; however, the ‘best’ results generally speaking come from being in close consistent physical contact and communication with your child. The communication we have achieved with our sons – both of whom were very late talkers – has shown us that non-verbal cues are profound, true, and worth taking the time to learn.
She says it is a huge commitment in the early months but says it’s not elitist and is practiced all over the world. She says it has been the only way to care for baby’s hygiene for thousands of years before super-absorbent diapers were invented.
OK let me just say that I love Bialik not because of her show “Blossom” but because I saw her on an episode of TLC’s “What Not To Wear” after the birth of her first child. And she was clearly in her mommyhood phase. She was dressing practical, comfortable and pretty dowdy, and they called her out on it. She was such a good sport about it and didn’t take their money to buy new clothes saying she could afford it but would accept their advice on how to reform her ways. She was just so down to earth and just like many of the moms I was hanging out with.
I love that she’s very educated and into nursing and attachment parenting. So I am trying to be open to the Elimination Communication
I think it would be a lot of work and frustrating work. It was frustrating to guess when they needed to pee or poop for a few months in potty training much less trying to do it when they are less communicative.
With that said, I have a friend that has adopted two babies from China. And both little girls were trained at a ridiculously young age to use the bathroom when the caregiver made a whistle-type sound. It was truly amazing.
Now we never saw how much hard work went into that training or how many accidents were had while perfecting that behavior. However, it was accomplished a very young age – much younger than Bialik’s talking about.
Bialik concludes by saying that besides not polluting the earth and not letting your baby sit in poop, it built a strong foundation of trust, love and connection between parent and child.
So what do you think of Elimination Communication? Would you give it a try? Do you think it sounds too time intensive? What do you do if you using daycare? (Sounds like you can’t do it. I don’t think any daycare would help with that – would they?) Do you think the benefits outweigh the effort?