Book Review: The Diaper-Free Baby
by Amanda Alvine
In The Diaper-Free Baby, Christine Gross-Loh gives us a resource for parents who are interested in Elimination Communication (EC) but are not quite sure it will work with their own lives. The wide spectrum she describes for EC leaves a lot of possible comfort zones open—both the parent eager to take the diaper off immediately and the parent who prefers to get in sync by cuing the baby while he eliminates in a diaper will find useful tips and suggestions here.
Gross-Loh describes three tracks that parents can use to approach EC—"full time," "part time," and "occasional." This can be very helpful for parents who can only offer the potty once a day or even once a week, and feel that therefore they are not really ECing. The three tracks are described as fluid, and a family's EC journey can move from one to the other as their lives change. The focus is placed on EC as a journey. The description of a parent coming to a "loose awareness of a baby's pattern" helps to dispel the image of hovering. By laying out the possibility of occasional EC, and by continually highlighting little ways to get started and encouraging newcomers to "try it once and you'll be hooked!" Gross-Loh presents EC as something that any parent can do.
After a preface by Rachel Milgroom and Melinda Rothstein, co-founders of DiaperFreeBaby, The Diaper-Free Baby begins with a chapter defining what EC is and why people do it and then follows with chapters on finding support and helpful gear. In the chapter, "Gathering Support and Making the Leap," Gross-Loh includes a helpful discussion of how to talk about EC with a loved one who disagrees. The chapter on gear includes a section on babywearing and an overview of cloth diapers. Both can be very useful for those whom would like to use cloth diaper backup or baby carriers to support their practice of EC but are not familiar with what is available.
Next come chapters dedicated to the various ages and stages of EC. Any of these chapters can be read alone, for when an issue comes up in more than one phase, Gross-Loh revisits it in each appropriate chapter. This not only serves to make the chapters stand alone, but also offers a helpful refresher for someone reading the whole book. The age-related chapters contain sections on positions, signals, night-time, and EC on the go, as well as handy Q & A reference lists. Numerous anecdotes from ECing parents (and other caregivers!) are incorporated into the main text. Some of the quotes are very practical, while others offer a bit of encouragement or a glimpse of the big picture. Throughout, the book includes plenty of review and refresher sections, which I found helped to keep me focused while I read it in fits and spurts and nursings-to-sleep.
A chapter entitled "If your situation is a little different" covers issues specific to working parents, parents of multiples, tandem pottiers, children with disabilities, and children older than traditional EC ages. Again, the chapter is filled with anecdotes from other parents who have been there.
The Diaper-Free Baby is written in a conversational, parent-friendly tone. With its practical suggestions, groups of anecdotes and handy tips on how EC can work for different families, it can read a bit like a DiaperFreeBaby meeting right in your bag. It retails at $15.95, and can be found in many bookstores including the DiaperFreeBaby shop!