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Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  557 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Most new parents think of diapers as a smelly, expensive, and unavoidable necessity. The good news is that its possibleeven practicalto raise your kids without diapers. In Diaper Free!, Ingrid Bauer shows how you can: * Save thousands of dollars * Reduce landfill waste (single-use disposable diapers are responsible for one third of the non- biodegradable waste in ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by Plume (first published December 31st 2001)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Jul 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents interested in Natural Infant Hygeine
I was fascinated by this book, but entirely put off by the author. She makes an excellent argument for the feasibility of Natural Infant Hygiene, and gives useful information about "how to". Unfortunately, she is an all-or-nothing attachment parent advocate and comes across as incredibly smug and judgemental. She is very pleased with her life: she lives on a farm (an ORGANIC farm, she's careful to tell us), made a special sling for her babies that allows her to wear them under her clothes, had a ...more
Mar 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
So this book is goofy. The writing is terrible, the author conflates unrelated cultural trends and blogosphere hear-say with actual information. So I did a bit of tooth-grinding on the way through the book.

That said, there was some interesting information contained therein. To spare you the task of reading it yourself, here ya go:
1. babies are born aware of their body functions but we train them to ignore their body signals by relying on disposable diapers
2. parents can become aware of baby's
Phoebe Fox
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
My kids did not go diaper free all the time, but my three boys were totally out of diapers by their 2nd birthdays. This book helped me teach them that they didn't have to "go" in their diapers. I do believe that we diaper-train our children in this society, and it's possible to avoid it if one has an open mind.
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I looked into this method when my first baby was about 6 months, but I never really got beyond cloth diapering. I would let her be loosely diapered at home to keep her aware of her movements, but other than that I never really pursued EC (elimination communication).

I went the traditional route of potty training at 2 years and it was stressful for everyone. Especially getting her to do #2. We are now out of the woods, thankfully, but the stress of that season of training (which, for us, was
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book changed my life. While I'm not ready to make the leap to "diaper free" I haven't had to wash a poopy diaper in 2 weeks now. The first time I squatted 5-week-old Harlan over the bathroom sink, he peed like he'd been waiting for me to do this all along. No reason not to use this method if, like me, you're going to be home all day with your baby anyways. The book itself is a bit repetitive. If you're in a hurry I recommend reading only the intro and the how-to chapter.
Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how I stumbled onto the idea of "Natural Infant Hygiene" aka "Elimination Communication", but I am glad I did and it is very easy to work into my life. I prefer that my baby use a potty rather than sit in her waste for any length of time. She also prefers it. It's working out great! I love the book! And, it makes Americans seem so stupid compared to all the other cultures that already practice this.
Sep 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: new /expecting parents
Amazon says this was published in 2006, but I read this author's book with a similar title in 2003. It was beautifully written and really conveyed the resectful listening and bonding that occurs when allowing a child to be free of diapers and able to eliminate somewhere away from his body, and that it was actually possible to be in tune with an infant's elimination needs. Inspiring.
Nicole Hanson
Dec 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after starting to practice EC (Elimination Communication) and it was increadibly helpful in refining our "technique" with our son. We started practicing these techniques when our son was about 2 mos old and at 17 mos was completely out of diapers. He's now nearly 19 mos and happily wearing his nearly-always dry undies.
Heidi Thorsen
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This makes all kinds of sense to me-- think about it, how did people deal with babies' elimination before diapers were invented? The babies were not just going all over the house (or hut, or cave, or tent, etc.). In the U.S., most people first train their babies to go in diapers, then they have to teach them later that what they've been doing their whole young lives is wrong, and now the kids have to learn to use the toilet. It seems to me like it's much easier to just train them not to pee and ...more
Jan 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008-reads
i agree with a previous reviewer that this author is a bit overpleased with herself. one of the things that disappointed me about the book was that there was a little too much ingrid b. (or ingrid b. waxing philosophical) a little too little practical tips. that being said, i find the subject fascinating and i personally think this is an inspiring introduction. i just also agree that the tone could put other people off.
Oct 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Fascinating. If this practice is as commonplace in less-developed places in the world as she says, I'm ashamed once again at how extravagantly wasteful we can be in the West, and how deeply ingrained the waste is in normal life. Of course, we'll see what I do with a kid of my own. Ha!

BTW, I do think she over-romanticizes elimination communication a bit. At the end of the day she's just writing about holding tiny babies over receptacles while they pee or poop.
Shira and Ari Evergreen
Apr 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: future parents, people who care about children, pediatricians, psychologists
This is a very helpful book. It gives a great overview of the history of how we've handle babies' toilet needs, revealing the cultural and social aspects of how we treat babies, and what we think about their intelligence and physical capabilities from country to country. American and Europeans appear to be far behind women in China and Mali and India and many other countries these days, and this book is meant to get us up to speed. Bauer is a sensitive and compassionate person and you can tell ...more
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first found out about EC/Natural Infant Hygiene when I was searching online for arguments to support cloth diapering. I was about to have my first baby and had concerns about conventional diapering (mainly environmental), and my husband had already had two children in a previous marriage and was staunchly against cloth diapering because of the sheer volume of work he envisioned it requiring.
Anyway, almost right away I came across EC and immediately requested this and one other book from my
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I found this book while I was looking for a perfect diaper. I was tired of diaper change after the 1st month. 2nd month switch to cloth diaper, still lot of changes. What could be more perfect than not using it?! While the disposible diaper package clear instruct to empty the human waste before throw it away, how practical is that? And how many of us following it while out at a park or public? This book save my years of diaper change, from the 3rd month we were on EC, by 2 yrs 2 months(if i must ...more
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book, I knew a little about Elimination Communication-- or Natural Infant Hygiene, as Bauer now calls it-- and I was interested in trying it with my new baby, due in February. But I didn't feel very committed or very convinced that it would work for me; I thought, "I'll just see how it goes."
After reading the book, I feel very hopeful and informed, and really committed to making EC work. I feel really excited about this experience and pretty well informed about how to make it
Jan 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
I might have read this before I had a baby, but now I know how hard it is and I understand that you can parent much better in how to books than real life. As soon as I learned she was into unassisted birth I was done. I live in a city and believe in healthcare. This book is not for me.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is an excellent resource for any mother that is considering "EC" or desiring to be more in tune with baby's elimination needs. Even if you aren't able/don't want to commit to it full time, Ingrid offers wonderful encouragement, tips, and perspective on why it is worth the effort to tune in to your baby's elimination needs as early in life as possible.
I had read a few reviews from women that seemed offended that the author was so blunt about why diapers and the western method
Kari Matadobra
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am forever grateful that my Public Library had this book on hand. It was well loved before me, and hopefully will be well loved by many in the future. I have been practicing Natural Infant Hygiene (or EC) with my daughter for 3 months now. While I do recommend reaching out to other sources, such as GoDiaperFree for troubleshooting issues with the actual practice of EC, this book will open the reader's mind to how much Western parenting practices have strayed from natural instincts, and will ...more
Linda Ruggeri
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book because it challenged so many pre-set concepts I was exposed to and given as a new mother. It made me think of changing my approach to diapering and I took away some great ideas which I was able to successfully implement at home.
Like most parenting books, I find you have to take what works of your and disregard the rest (and not feel bad about it), so I do recommend it as long as you keep an open mind and realize that if you are reading this book it's because we are just
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This second part of this book, the 'how to' was awesome and I wholeheartedly recommend it. The first part of the book was a LOT of rhetoric about convincing you that Natural Infant Hygiene is awesome. I already knew it was awesome and didn't need to read 100+ pages about that. Depends on where you are in your journey. :)
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I think this is a great addition to the conversation and something every parent should consider. In a world where disposable diapers contribute a huge percentage of our landfills and cloth diapers take a lot of energy and water to wash, going diaper free to at least some degree needs to be a much more common alternative.
Misti Rusk
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful and realistic

Great insight and information into the world of elimination communication. I have said many times that I want to raise my baby as close to natural and pure as possible. This book has made this goal even more attainable!
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Changed my life and affected handling my number two.
Why is EC not as easy as it seems? My girl is def not on a poop sched!
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book to every parent-to-be, new parent, or parent with a kid in diapers.... You know, I recommend it to anyone with diapered (or non diapered) children in their lives!
EJ Natale
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid book. Pretty good instructions (yet to be implemented). We'll see how that goes.
Mikhai Vasile
Oct 18, 2016 rated it liked it
There definitely were a lot of good things Bauer says but there's also a lot of things that just don't hold water. Read with a grain of salt, and try to apply only the advice that you find useful. Otherwise, this book is a recipe for the overwhelmeds which no mom needs. :)
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I so enjoyed reading the words of this gentle, wise mother. I appreciate her thoughts, not only on the subject of natural infant hygiene, but on mothering, raising kids, and life in general.
Feb 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Here's my conclusion after reading several potty-training books. I think that no matter what you do, there is a very good chance that potty-training is going to be a long time commitment and huge hassle. You can do the work in the beginning (EC, from birth to possibly only up to a year), the middle (early potty-training, from 6mo to 2 years), or the end (after 2 years). With my twins, I waited until the end, because people told me to "wait until they're ready" and basically they would train ...more
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
What a sensitively written, supportive, and informative book! Ingrid Bauer is considered to be, I understand, one of the pioneers of Natural Infant Hygiene (aka Elimination Communication (EC), Infant Potty Training). Though initially skeptical of the entire idea of early potty training, I explored the idea of listening to my son's bowel and bladder cues through chatting with another mom about her journey with EC. Still not convinced, the gentle push to try EC came from a recent article in ...more
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