Tuesday, July 5, 2011

PiA Guest Blog: Everybody’s Free to E.C. in the U.S.A. from TouchstoneZ

Today's Parenting in America guest blog comes from Zoie of TouchstoneZ.  She writes about the freedom we all have in America to diaper (or not diaper in this case) our babies as we see fit.  I love how she also ties in the fact that America, usually ahead of others in so many areas, is behind the majority of the world when it comes to EC.  Mostly I just enjoy this post because I am fascinated with the idea of EC (but admittedly far too lazy to do it with my 3 girls).

Everybody’s Free to E.C. in the U.S.A.

“He’s not wearing a diaper?” said another mother in the store bathroom as I helped my 7 month old son go potty. “No. We practice E.C.” I replied. “What is E.C.?” she asked…

Babies are born knowing when they need to eliminate. It is a strange concept to most parents in the United States nowadays. But over 85% of the rest of the world practices Elimination Communication. It has been practiced since ancient times and only really left our collective consciousness in the U.S. within the last few generations.

It wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that disposable diapers were invented and mass marketed successfully to US parents. It took one generation for disposable diapers to become affordable and another for advertising and industry-funded studies to convince parents that full-time diapering for through preschool years was more convenient.

It has only been in this generation of children that there has been a renewed interest in EC in the US. Aided by the vast amount of information available on the internet, the rise in popularity of both attachment parenting and environmental concerns, more parents are looking at cloth diapering and ECing as a viable option for their families.

Most of us in the US have the freedom to parent as we determine is best for our families. We can learn about the environmental impact that EC, cloth and disposable diapering has on our environment and choose the method that speaks to us for our families.

So, what exactly is EC aka elimination communication aka diaper-free baby aka natural infant hygiene?

Put simply, EC is a way for parents and babies to connect. EC is a way for parents to observe and help their babies’ with his/her needs. Over time, parents begin to understand the ways that their child communicates their need to eliminate and can even begin to anticipate when they’ll need to go before they communicate it.

There are many ways to EC and each family decides what works best for them. Some families don’t use diapers at all. Some use diapers only when they’re out of the house. Others do E.C. part time, using a combination of cloth or disposable diapers and pottying. I have several resources I referred to for this post that include lots more information one getting started with and practicing E.C. at every age.

What are some of the benefits of EC?

·         EC is another tool for families to connect. Both the parent and child benefit by close bond and understand one another’s rhythms and communications.
·         It helps a child maintain their awareness and connection to their bodies. It helps them understand that their body is their own to protect and care for. It allows them to trust that those who care for them will honor their needs.
·         EC helps protect the environment because it minimizes the use of diapers, laundry, and cleaners associated with diaper care and disposal.
·         It can help reduce diaper rash, urinary tract infections, and constipation.
·         It is less expensive than diapering.
·         It empowers children to take of their needs themselves. Even before babies can get themselves to the potty, they can communicate their need to eliminate. After they can get to the potty themselves, it is one more way they can hold onto their own power.
·         It supports attachment parenting and breastfeeding because it encourages parent and baby closeness and learning of one another’s rhythms
·         It keeps harmful chemicals present in disposable diapers away baby.
·         It comes from the perspective of “allowing to let go” instead of “holding it in.”
·         You never have to worry about running out of disposable or clean cloth diapers.
So, back that conversation in the store bathroom with the other mom…
I explained a bit of what EC is and some of its benefits. The other mom said that she noticed her baby always fussed before she eliminated in her diaper. She also said that inevitably, her daughter would pee or poo the moment the diaper was removed or immediately after a fresh diaper was put on her. I suggested perhaps her daughter was eliminating a little bit then finishing after the soiled diaper was removed. I wrote down some websites, along with my email, and gave her a few suggestions to give it a try. I suggested she try catching a pee or poo after a feeding or after waking. Those are probable times for babies to need to relieve themselves.

I received an email from her three weeks later, part of which said (paraphrased) I didn’t know believe you about EC, but my daughter started fussing after a diaper change. So, I took her diaper off and held her over it. She peed right away. What they won’t think of next in America.

Resources I used for this post:

Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living by Laurie Boucke


If you enjoyed this post make sure to check out TouchstoneZ's blog and to give her a like on Facebook.

If you are interested in participating in this Carnival check out my intro blog First Ever Blog Carnival: Parenting In America 7/3-7/10  for details on how to participate.  The carnival runs through Sunday, July 10th so it is definitely not too late.  Make sure you go back and check out the other 2 posts from the carnival so far:
Guest Post: American Woman by Little Hearts Books
Guest Blog: Parenting in America from Hybrid Rasta Mama

If you post on your own blog today make sure to come and leave a link to it as a comment on this blog (as I have yet to figure out how to add linky's) and I will make sure to share the link in tomorrows post as well as to share it on FB.


  1. I love this! We practice EC as well, but I am really shy about it in my personal life, and few people know about it unless they read my blog. I think I'm afraid everyone will think that I've gone off the deep end. The exchange Zoie describes makes me think I ought to be a bit more open about how we do things - there is certainly nothing to be embarrassed about, after all.

  2. What a wonderful post! The whole US parenting carnival is amazing to me as someone who lives outside of the US. FWIW, sposies are almost universal in our poor, Eastern European country too. If only more people EC-ed or cloth diapered, it would save them so much money.

  3. It is funny how those who do things more traditional or instinctual ways are now thought of as progressive. Cloth diapers, breastfeeding, EC... All things that have been around for centuries and are considered almost trendy as they regain popularity. It's bizarre really.


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