Do you already know diaper free? This is explained quite simply - Diapering babies without diapers. How to live diaper-free and healthy with your baby and what my experience with diapering without diapers, I show you in this article.
"Without diapers? Your baby doesn't wear diapers? Are you crazy?"
"It's gross, the only way for me is with diapers, because I like it clean."
"Well, I don't think much of forced potty training. It has to come from the child."
These are just some of the few horrified comments that fly around my ears when I mention that we live diaper-free with our baby. By the way, these are still the horrified comments of the nice kind. Why diaper-free is still a great plastic-free alternative, I'll show you now.
Why go diaper-free at all?
I would like to tell you about my diaper-free experience. Long before my polar bear baby was on the way, it was clear to us that we would not use conventional disposable diapers. In order not to produce even more garbage. Especially now that the trend in China is towards disposable diapers. So I went in search of cloth diapers, in the spirit of the Zero Waste Lifestyle. Quite complicated, so many different systems. Then on some blog I stumbled across the term diaper-free, which stands for baby changing without diapers. No garbage and no mountains of laundry - the perfect solution.
How diaper free works
Even with the smallest baby, you can live without diapers, because every newborn, no matter how tiny, comes into the world and communicates. Just as it signals that it is hungry or tired, it makes it clear when it has to go. Every baby sends its signals. They are very different. It suddenly becomes restless, squirms in your arms, grumbles... Maybe it refuses to be put in the carrier or the car seat. Maybe he cries because he feels uncomfortable. You're there for your baby when he's hungry, so you're there for him when he needs to be. Our baby got terribly restless most of the time. There was no mistaking that he was uncomfortable. Then we would take it "to the bathroom." In quotation marks because a newborn baby can't go to the toilet, of course. For that, there are special so-called Asian potties over which you can hold your baby. Others simply use old tupperware bowls.
You can also hold your baby over the sink, shower, bathtub or anywhere else. When he gets bigger, you can also hold him over the toilet. If he can sit, you can use the potty. There are even biodegradable potties, my secret tip! Every time you hold your baby, make a key sound to signal that he may now. This can be a sound, but it can also be a word like "pee pee".
So much for the theory on the subject of diaper-free.
Diaper Free Experience: How it went with us
As soon as we got back from the hospital, we started holding the baby.
First in the so-called standard situations: After waking up, after drinking, before Go to sleep. So the big business already landed reliably in the potty in the morning from the second day.
So basically we lived without diapers from the beginning and were super happy with it.
Of course, our baby had to pee significantly more. A newborn even pees really often. It could happen that it was stopped every 15 minutes. Then again there was nothing for an hour.
In retrospect, everything seems really easy and relaxed. Luckily, I kept a diary during that time and wrote down how diaper-free went - for a bit of objectivity in my memory 🙂 .
In fact, from the very beginning, we always had days when my polar bear stayed completely dry. Because it signaled us, we recognized it in time and could react. Andre days went badly: we simply did not recognize what the little treasure wanted from us or the little treasure gave us no opportunity to react.
But it was still clean for us.
Diaper-free is a question of the right equipment
Where the baby slept, played or chilled, we put such washable incontinence pads underneath. So nothing went wrong, even if actually something went wrong. We washed and dried the underlays alternately.
In addition, we used these cotton burp cloths. We still use them. They serve as a soaker in a simple woolen cloth diaper. So the pants stay dry.
Also, in the warm months we use underpants and training underpants. Or sometimes nothing at all, because it's warm. In the cold months, our baby actually always wears the clothi with the burp cloth because it's just too cold for me to do nothing. Or to get wet.
What diaper free is not
Diaper-free actually has nothing to do with classic potty training or getting clean.
Instead, you just assume that your baby knows he has to. That it doesn't want to wet itself (or worse) because: Do you want to lie in your own excretions? Then why would a baby want it?
Diaper-free does not mean that your baby soaks himself all day long, on the contrary. You pay attention to his needs and help him to follow them.
Until our baby started crawling, we honestly didn't have a single poop that missed. Then came the classic crawling strike. But even that was over after 2 weeks.
You can believe me: Man, were those 2 weeks frustrating! We stuck to the guides and smiled, wiped, washed. Then that phase was over as quickly as it had started. Diaper-free works!
At 8 months completely without diaper
Summer favored this great development, because warm temperatures are really helpful. You have to dress the baby less, it is easier to hold, everything is more comfortable.
So I could go to baby swimming and back home without a diaper. The looks from the other moms when I just put pants on my baby were worth their weight in gold 😉 .
On vacation in the south of France, we went for weeks without even a single wet burp cloth. During walks or excursions, we were able to keep our polar bear super outdoors thanks to the warm temperatures. Supermarket parking also worked great, in the restaurant we used the washroom. At night, things went wonderfully as well. Our baby went to bed at 9, checked in at 11 because he had to pee and then slept blissfully until the next morning.
The good phase lasted until we returned to Germany and it got cold.
From summer to autumn and snow
At first we were spoiled by a golden autumn. Without diapers, we spent our afternoons in the village playgrounds. I learned to ignore skeptical looks and smile away silly comments. Depending on the mood, I offered a discussion about the benefits of disposable diapers.
A friend who also practices diaper-free is still quite embarrassed to keep her baby out of the house. Type thing! I can understand her, but: I don't think much of using disposable diapers and I don't constantly tell people that. So I couldn't care less what they think of us.
When it got really cold, of course, we stopped holding outside. We do not want our baby to still get sick because of it! There it surprised us again and now just stops when we are out and about.
The advantages of diaper free
Of course, you produce almost no waste at all. Apart from toilet paper. That's a pretty important point, in my opinion. But there are plenty of other advantages as well.
Our baby never had even the slightest red bottom. We saved every amount of various creams and wet wipes. In other respects, our baby never had any problems without diapers: He never had gas. You know, those horrible three-month colics, for example. Because it could always relieve itself without lying in its mess, it could do so without inhibitions and the little tummy was always fine.
It is also said that babies who live without diapers are generally happier and whine less. After all, they don't have to whine if you cater to ALL their needs. In our case this was true, we have the happiest baby ever by going diaper free 🙂 .
Why you can easily live with your baby without diapers
When you practice diaper-free, you are ready to meet all your baby's needs. You are willing to listen to his way of communicating and assume that your baby is perfectly capable of controlling his excretions. In addition to the right attitude, you will need some equipment, I especially recommend spit-up cloths! Incontinence pads are also great, especially before the baby becomes mobile. Living diaper-free doesn't mean more work. Instead of changing, diapering, cleaning, you just keep your baby off. Both take time. You don't have to watch your baby 24/7 to make sure you don't miss a pee. You can't. It's not good for you or the baby. My baby always made a point of having alone play time and we still functioned beautifully. Even very small babies are able to let you know. You just have to go with it.
If you're not convinced about diaper-free yet, look at it the other way around:
- Why should you spend a lot of money on diapers that you throw away? Then you can just throw the money into the trash can.
- Why would you teach your baby to relieve himself in a diaper, only to break the habit later? (Because I really don't think anyone comes into the world wanting to do it in a diaper. It's gross...!)
Diaper-free - A plastic-free alternative?
I hope that my diaper-free experience has given you a little inspiration. Diaper-free is a great alternative to raise your baby without diapers and therefore waste-free. On the beaches of this world, we find endless amounts of diapers that float in the ocean for about 450 years until they break down into smaller components like microplastics. As you can see, diaper-free parenting has a lot of benefits, you just need to be open to a new way and then you will come to appreciate the benefits. If you want to learn more from me, feel free to visit me on my blog We are not superheroeson which I provide assistance for self-employed people & people returning to Germany after a long absence.
How do you see the topic of diaper-free? Can you imagine living diaper-free? Or do you already do it? Do you have any questions, suggestions or personal experiences about diaper-free that you would like to share? Then feel free to write me a comment below this post.
PS.: In the article Plasticfree lifestyle you get a lot more tips on how to avoid waste!
I find the diaper-free approach super good and very interesting. However, I already have a child and can hardly imagine always having the time and attention to pay attention to the signals. Then I would leave my first child quite often just stand I think.
That's why I'm considering at least using cloth diapers on the second one.
Hi Anna! Cloth diapers are a great plastic-free approach too! 🙂
Wish you all the best and best regards,
Cloth diapers are also great!
Also, the less time you have to observe your baby, the better! The stronger your intuition becomes! Constant "lurking" is not fun for either of you and stressing about whether the little one has to go now is the wrong thing to do. You can also use cloth diapers as a back-up. If you have the time and the opportunity, you can keep the little one out. That's the good thing: You just do what works for you!
Am also curious how it will be with the second 😉
what a great article. Why have we lost this intuition?
In the past, mothers hardly had time for their children considering the work they had to do to feed the whole family with the tools of the time without electricity and ready-made products? Of course, in the past there were large families with divided tasks. There was always a sister, aunt, grandma, mother, big daughter or mother-in-law who took care of the many little children who came every year and the mother had to rest. In my family tree there were families up to 23 children from one wife. These are conditions that do not occur today. My great uncle once told me that as soon as he could walk, he was dressed in a little dress - with nothing underneath. The children were always outside in the warm season - on the unpaved roads, where it didn't matter if they had to pee. Especially since every house had its manure pile and there were often horse droppings on the streets. Fortunately, those days are over.
But I also had a drastic experience when my daughter was about a year old. At that time, we visited relatives in the GDR who, for lack of Pampers, wrapped their children in cloth and a plastic sheet. The joy of our visit was so great that my cousin was joined by all his sisters and their children. There were six children from one year group. All at once they all disappeared into one room (not bathroom, that was outside the apartment). I found the five GDR children sitting side by side in rows on their potties while the mothers talked. When our little mouse saw this, she wanted to sit down. So she got a potty, too, and she didn't understand at the time what was happening. But she noticed that all the potties were filled and she looked at it with great interest. The second time she also succeeded and was very proud of it.
Back home, I had (also due to my physical disability) soon forgotten this scene. But our mouse obviously not. Because she suddenly sat on her potty and proudly brought me the result. I knew then how important it was to support that. At 1 ½ years old - in November, she didn't want to wear a diaper anymore. So I just dressed her in little dresses with pantyhose and put a potty in the car behind the driver's seat. Every time she would come out, I would quickly find a place to park, quickly pull her pants down and put her on the potty in the car or in front of it. It was very exhausting for me, but it was worth it. I can proudly say that my daughter was dry at 18 mon. My sister did not go to this trouble and diapered her 4 children, all 18 months apart, in Pampers. She was too comfortable for this action, especially since she was told by her pediatrician that children can't control their bladders until they are years old. That doesn't motivate our moms very much. Our pediatrician didn't believe me that our daughter was out of diapers.
Despite my severe disability and a lot of pain (my femoral head died during pregnancy), I changed both of our children with cloth diapers and woolen panties. Only when we went away, I had Pampers with me. So I was already protecting the environment in the 80s, which is more important today than ever before.
Evi, 61 y.
Hi Eveline! Thank you for your detailed report and your great feedback 🙂 .
I wish you personally all the best and send best regards from Berlin!
Super interesting what you tell! And great that you just listened to your child and let him potty - is not self-evident, I know many whose child signaled desire to potty, but for whom it was too exhausting.
Today, by the way, it is said that children are only able to control their excretions from the age of four. For whatever reason, because: complete nonsense.
thank you for your kind wishes.
Reading through it again, I noticed that something essential is missing. According to the pediatrician, children should not be able to control their bladder and bowels until they are 3 years old. If children used to take this long, mothers would have had several diapered children at once. Mothers rarely had that much time to wash diapers and dirty clothes because there were no washing machines in the past. My mother washed once a month in the laundry room with a wood stove and by hand, my grandmother used to wash in the river, later in summer in her own garden in tin tubs. Hurray for the washing machine. Even today I have an exceptionally good relationship with my children.
Greetings from the beautiful Oberkirch