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Featured Diaper Free Baby Group

Washington D.C. Metro Area

The D.C. metro area has a thriving DiaperFreeBaby community, thanks to energetic DiaperFreeBaby Mentor, Ilana Ratner. Monthly meetings are held in Maryland (North Bethesda) and Virginia (Falls Church). There is talk of bringing another Mentor on board in the D.C. area itself as interest grows. As with so much else in this modern age, much contact between members is initially made online, and group momentum is maintained through pre-existing online elimination communication Yahoo!Groups.

How did Ilana become interested in becoming a Mentor? "Our group originally started when another woman from Virginia, who is on an email list I'm on, asked if anyone out there EC's and wants to form a group." Ilana soon became a DiaperFreeBaby Mentor and has been holding monthly meetings in the two locations ever since - which means she organizes and attends a meeting every two weeks! Meetings usually have 3-7 parents attending, although many people benefit from the online support group as well.

Amanda Alvine, another DiaperFreeBaby Mentor who recently moved to the D.C. area, is now helping out local DiaperFreeBaby groups, including Falls Church and North Bethesda. Ilana says, "I'm excited that she moved here from Boston and attends the meetings. It's so nice to have help and experience here." Ilana is particularly happy when there are other experienced moms at meetings, "so there are more people who can share their thoughts and experiences and give suggestions to those starting out. We usually have enough people for good conversations about EC. If there is no one new to EC at the meeting, we discuss whatever particular challenges or successes we've been having, problem solve/provide suggestions, and sometimes segue into whatever other related parenting topics arise."

How does Ilana help spread the word about EC and her local meetings? "The woman from Virginia - the one who initially contacted me to start a group - sends emails to all her local Yahoo groups to help spread the word about the Falls Church meetings. For Maryland, people find out through the DiaperFreeBaby website, emails I post at my Yahoo! Groups, and word of mouth. I try to send a reminder email to anyone who came to a meeting and gave me an email address. Now Amanda makes up little postcard size reminders to hand out at the meeting so people can post them about the next meeting. I've also posted flyers in a few places (the maternity center, local organic market, the learning center where I hold Maryland meetings, and a vegetarian/vegan restaurant." Ilana will occasionally bring different potties, training pants, prefolds and prefold belts, split-crotch pants, or EC books to meetings so parents can have a look at what's out there.

Falls Church meetings are held in a library conference room for free. A volunteer who is part of a local babywearing group reserves space for the DiaperFreeBaby meetings each month. Those meetings are held at different times each month, which is helpful for members who can't always make it to a morning or an afternoon meeting. Finding a space for the North Bethesda group was more of a challenge. Ilana finally found a space at a local Jewish Learning Center, and picked a regular day and time for meetings to make it easy to remember. She says, "Since there is a small school there they have a little playground outside that the kids can play in after the meetings if they want."

To find your local group, please visit the Local Groups page. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor, you can find more information on the Become a Mentor page.


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