For those of you who aren’t reading all the mom, dad, and expert parenting advice blogs, you might not be aware of the recent surge in coverage–uh, so to speak–of the diaper free baby movement. The premise of this movement is that
This has led us to need diapers, and has caused all of the ecological horror that is entailed in their use. If we would just pay close attention to our children, we could avoid the use of diapers and relieve the world of tons of trash.
Mama, when she first heard of this, was enthralled with the idea right up until I asked if she was willing to set the kid loose, bare-assed, at her Grandma’s house. Not so much. (To be fair, it turns out that even the most devout DFB proponents use diapers in certain circumstances.)
As we looked more closely at DFB, we found that there are, as Emily Bazelon points out, other ramifications of this seemingly simple technique:
Diapers are crucial labor-savers. They save time—chiefly women’s time. A child who wears disposable diapers is a child whose diapers need not be washed, rinsed, or soaked. More radically, she is a child who can be easily handed off to someone else. Changing diapers is no one’s favorite thing, but it’s fast, unfussy, and part of the job description of most nannies and many day-care teachers.
Taking off a baby’s diapers, on the other hand, means taking a giant step in the opposite direction.
However, that’s not to say that there aren’t excellent reasons for raising diaper-free babies in various places. DFB proponents note that in many countries, babies run around either bare from the waist down or with split pants that open when they squat down. This allows them to quickly do their business over any nearby hole in the ground. Such holes are, apparently, a feature common to many of the villages that these babies live in.
Not so much here in Northern Virginia, especially not up here on the seventh floor of our building, where we live. I’m pretty sure the folks on the sixth floor are glad about that.
Another issue about DFB that didn’t occur to us until after 3B arrived was the fluid nature of his diaper contents. While the photos on the DFB websites all show glowing women cradling grinning babies over sparkling white bowls, I’m pretty sure those are all Before photos. Having had the misfortune of witnessing firsthand one of 3B’s bowel movements while he was uncovered during a diaper change, I’d be surprised if anybody is smiling or clean in the Aftermath photos, because when the shit hit the pan, it would go everywhere.
OK, if you’ve made it this far, I think it’s time to get to the subject at hand . . . Did someone mention loose stools? the hickory-licorice squirts? the skitters? Oh, I did. How convenient, because that’s what Barky’s filling our weekend with after attempting death by chocolate yesterday.
Mama had spent a nice afternoon in DC, having lunch with her ex-boss, when she returned home and found an empty 8 x 8 glass baking pan in the middle of the living room and this in the kitchen:
She ran through the house to find Barky waking up on our bed–fortunately, since that empty pan she found had been on the butcher block counter, full of brownies when she left. And that footstool? It had been over in our dining room when she left.
Yes, Barky pushed it into the kitchen, over the threshold between the two rooms, up against the counter, so he could pull that pan down. So now, even though 3B is sleeping through most of the night, we have been taking our clever beagle outside every two hours for the last 24 hours to do that which a pan of brownies causes him to do. Here I am, out walking after midnight . . .
All of this has led me to stop laughing so hard at this product:
You think that Grandma will let us set one up in her living room?