Many parents view disposable diapers as necessary because the alternatives clash with the busyness of life. But the reality is that disposable diapers take at least 500 years to decompose, and many contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates and trace amounts of carcinogenic compounds.
For parents wanting to avoid or decrease using disposables, there are alternatives such as cloth diapers and a technique called “elimination communication.” It involves using infant cues to know when a baby needs to pee or poop, and holding them over an appropriate vessel rather than using any type of diaper.
One large study with over 10,000 children found that stopping the use of disposable diapers during the first 12 months of life was associated with decreased risk of bladder and bowel dysfunction in early childhood. Additionally, cross-cultural observations of elimination communication show a decreased incidence of infant crying and an earlier onset of being fully potty-trained.
If you’re curious, check out our “Pottying for the Planet” free webinar on elimination communication. Follow us on Instagram @nurturely or facebook.com/nurturely/ to learn more.
Visit our new Perinatal Lounge at 56 East 15th Avenue in Eugene.
Emily Little (she/her), PhD, is a perinatal health researcher, educator, and advocate. She is the founder and executive director of Nurturely, a nonprofit promoting equity in perinatal wellness and strengthening cultures of support for infants and caregivers.
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