Black parenting ain’t no easy task. When it comes to shaping beautiful brown babies into fully functioning adults, our work is definitely carved out for us.
Thankfully, modern technology eases some of the
doodies, I mean duties.
- The breast pump allows us to nourish babies in our absence and to relieve milk-heavy bosoms.
- The bottle warmer is a safe and quick fix to heating baby formula without resorting to the old-school fuss of boiling water at the stove or nuking milk in the microwave.
- Nanny cams and baby monitors give us eyes in places where we once could not see.
- Baby rockers replace our tired arms and allow us to multi-task.
- Disposable diapers are a godsend for the obvious reasons.
Gone are the days of washing, rinsing and reusing cloth diapers. Like who was really a fan of all that ickness? Today, their use is simply a matter of choice. I choose nah.
Of course, I’d never throw my baby away and I’m not suggesting you do so either. But seriously, cloth diapers were the absolute worst. Find the lie.
Nowadays, some parents shirk diapers all together by choosing Elimination Communication (EC), which is a more esoteric way of managing babies’ diaper action.
According to the online resource Natural Birth and Baby Care:
“EC is also called infant potty training, natural infant hygiene, and diaper free.”
It is a natural approach to baby toileting, which may begin as early as a few weeks post-birth. Elimination Communication involves tuning into babies’ instinctive cues to
shit and piss “go.”
For example–grunting, grimacing and straining are baby elimination cues.
Once aware of these signs, parents should hoist their babies’ over a bucket, sink, toilet or outdoors area to empty their bowel and bladder.
In praxis, parents are advised to replicate grunting noises while babies perform number two, and use “ssssss” sounds for number one, as a way to communicate future functions.
Other signs to watch for:
- Sudden fussiness
- Getting very still all of a sudden
- A shiver going up and down baby
- Squirming, shaking head from side-to-side
- Grunting and/or bearing down
- Passing gas
Elimination Communication is not new. It is a cultural practice in many eastern societies such as Africa, India and China. East Africa’s Digo tribe is known to achieve day and night dryness in infants by age six months and an 100% potty training success in toddlers by the age of 1. The Digo society implements EC practice in infants within weeks of birth.
Mother Culture One, an expert and coach in Elimination Communication shares resourceful information to guide parents in their journey. She writes and produces tutorials on the topic.
I won’t front. Elimination Communication has it’s benefits:
- Deep connections with babies through naturally instinctive language
- Harm to babies skin (diaper rash and yeast infections) is reduced due to diaper-free baby bottoms.
- Smooth transition to the potty as babies cognition is enhanced through early learning and identification.
But it has cons, too: it takes focus and commitment to work. Adapting it as a lifestyle seems key; it ain’t always convenient–clothing, travel, access, and presence are all things to be considered.
I don’t know about y’all, but I ain’t fond of handling baby dung or pee in my sinks. They’re for cleaning my face—my dishes. It ain’t suppose to be no shit where you eat. I’m damn sure not feeling the idea of dangling my baby’s naked butt over a pail or the toilet even. And taking my infant into the wilderness is much akin to walking a dog. That shit is way too primitive, yo.
Sure, bonding with babies on a much deeper level is golden. But alternatives exist to achieve that goal: there is breast feeding and bedtime stories and singing and dancing and listening and sharing and playing and educating and hugging and all-round loving.
As for Elimination Communication—y’all can keep that shit. For real.
Ida Harris is a journalist and cultural critic covering a range of topics that intersect with Blackness, including art, activism, pop culture, parenting and womanhood. Ida is especially known for her critical writing on sexual assault against Black women and girls. Her work is featured in ELLE , DAME , Blavity, Teen Vogue , and USA Today.