Sisterhood Blog

Go Diaperless? Are You Crazy?!

By Elissa Strauss

  • Print
  • Share Share
Thinkstock

According to the New York Times, the latest parenting trend among those who seem to shun every innovation ever made to ease childbirth and child care is raising babies without diapers. Yes, “elimination communication,” as it is called, is trending in Brooklyn. Doulas now see it as a job qualification to be able to train their clients in the art of predicting poop.

Elimination communication devotees say they are doing it to help the environment and be more in touch with their babies’ “intimate functions.” The big idea is that you can start predicting when your baby is going to pee or poo and then take them to the toilet so they can go there, instead of in a diaper. One mother interviewed in the story says she was able to get her baby to poop on command by associating a “sss” sound when he started cueing that he had to poo, and now poops on command when she makes the sound. Pediatricians interviewed for the story expressed deep skepticism over a baby’s ability to control his or her toilet behavior before the age of one.

I want to not judge, I really do. Parents should be able to raise their kids however they want (as long as they are not causing harm) without me or anyone else telling them what to do. But I am going to judge, and this is why. The decision to go diaper-free isn’t a one-off freak decision by a fringe group, but rather a product of larger cultural forces that have emerged over the past 10 years that are turning motherhood into a bigger job than ever before. I’m talking about the breastfeeding until age three, sleeping with their kids, no epidural or even hospital, all homemade baby food lifestyle that has put the martyr back in mother.

The issue here is that while we all might roll our eyes at something like elimination communication — even the Times wrote about it in a semi-mocking tone — these messages of what is best for our kids slowly get absorbed into general society and become a constant source of guilt for mothers who can’t or don’t want to devote quite this much effort to their kids.

I understand these parents think that modern technologies and conveniences get in the way of the parent-baby bond, but diapers have been around since ancient times and the word diaper goes back to 1590. When Incas lining rabbit skin with grass have it easier than mothers in 2013 Brooklyn, I think it is safe to say we are moving backwards.

Also, while it is absolutely fantastic that these parents are doing their part to help reduce waste, there are just so many things I think we should get rid of before we let go of diapers. We could try paper cups, the plastic wrap dry cleaners use, or just styrofoam altogether. There are also biodegradable diapers which are convenient and eco-friendly. Isn’t innovation great?

Follow Elissa Strauss on Twitter at @elissaavery.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.