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DiaperFreeBaby and EC In The News

By Elizabeth Parise, Communications Manager

The release of Christine Gross-Loh's book, The Diaper-Free Baby in January 2007 ushered in a year of tremendous media interest. We continue to be involved with significant stories in print, television, radio and web media. In August 2007, the Associated Press ran a story with far-reaching impact. And the media has continued to include EC and DiaperFreeBaby in reporting focused on the environment and "green" living.

The mainstream book by Christine Gross-Loh, our Publications Manager, brought EC closer to the general public with her "occasional, part-time, full-time" approach. Early in the year, she was featured on Eco Talk on Air America. We also saw stories from iVillage Live, The NY Post and Up to the Minute on CBS. These media pieces brought in even more interest, which generated stories from KUTV CBS in Salt Lake, Fox 29 in San Antonio and ABC News Nightline.

In contrast to earlier years where EC was portrayed mostly for shock value, the media outlook now is clearly changing. Mainstream parenting website giant Babycenter put together an article and resources which will likely open up EC to a whole new group of parents. We saw positive television stories from local ABC stations ABC News 7 in San Francisco, ABC 9 in Syracuse, and ABC News 6 in Philadelphia. For a refreshing change in focus, Heather Quinlin used a Question and Answer format to spotlight DiaperFreeBaby, the organization, on the Discovery Health Channel website.

The Associated Press released an article on August 27th which created media interest like we haven't seen since October 2005. Interest from the public and the media was so strong that the DiaperFreeBaby website crashed until we were able to increase the bandwidth, and our daily website hits increased to 10,000 a day. The story has run in its original form in more places than we will ever be able to count. In a notable moment of synchronicity, Melinda Rothstein, DiaperFreeBaby Co-founder and Executive Director, gave birth to her third child on the same day that article came out.

Many other papers picked up this Associated Press piece and "localized" it by including information and quotes from EC'ing parents in that newspaper's home area, including the Orange County Register and the Australian Associated Press. In addition, local television stations ran stories, including WLWT in Ohio with Cincinnati Mentor Megan, San Antonio Living in Texas, and Fox 25 in Boston (and, yes, that is me being interviewed).

The Associated Press piece also sparked interest from media outlets, such as MSNBC, that produced several segments. We were delighted to work with MSNBC's Contessa Brewer again for one of the segments and hope to work with her again in the future.

The Today Show, which interviewed DiaperFreeBaby Co-founder Melinda Rothstein in 2005, aired a new segment on Elimination Communication and DiaperFreeBaby which included an interview with Mentor Erinn Klatt, and Boston group member Nancy Prior, as well as Melinda and her newborn Leo. The blog discussion that followed was even more interesting and informative than the actual segment.

The environmental benefits of EC were touted in many stories throughout the year. E/The Environmental Magazine's article, "Natural Baby, Toxic World" typified this trend in the media. This article was re-printed, blogged about, and discussed on many other websites including: Tree Hugger, EWG, and Evolving Excellence (see People, Diapers, and Kegs). The Environmental Report ran a syndicated radio interview with Michigan Mentor Erin Burck Lafreniere, and the ABC News website ran an article in their technology section.

Toward the end of the year, many reporters had grasped the concept and presented stories which were accurate and instructive. DiaperFreeBaby's PR department's contact with reporters enables us to provide information and input, though we have no final say in the articles. As the idea of EC becomes more familiar, media outlets embrace more and more of the information we provide. An excellent article ran in the The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne Indiana using many medical research studies. In Oregon, an article ran in Portland's Metro Parent Magazine in Salem's Salem Monthly Magazine. KGW News In Portland aired a story on the morning news. In addition, supportive and informative stories aired on local TV stations during the November Sweeps, or TV ratings, period. These included Fox News in Hartford Connecticut and CBS News in Springfield, Massachusetts. ABC 5 in Des Moines aired a segment as part of a "Superkids" series along with stories on baby sign language and baby chiropractic care. And Fox in Cleveland aired a segment two nights in a row followed by a live chat with DiaperFreeBaby Mentor Lisa Wilkins.

One of my favorite aspects of all this media interest is all the discussion and debate it has created. While the public is becoming more accustomed to the idea of EC, there are still many individuals who struggle with the way EC conflicts with deeply entrenched cultural beliefs and practices. DiaperFreeBaby seeks to support families whether they are interested in practicing EC or just to trying make sense of it. We welcome the dialogue. These discussions can be uncomfortable and heated, but I believe they are also necessary, empowering, and cathartic as we find our collective way back to natural responsive parenting.


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