Dare to Bare - New York Times
Most babies and toddlers around the world, and throughout human history, have never worn diapers. For instance, in places like China, India and Kenya, children wear split pants or run around naked from the waist down. When it's clear that they have to go, they can squat or be held over the right hole in a matter of seconds. Parents and caretakers in these cultures see diapers as not the best, but the worst alternative. Why bind bulky cloth around a small child? Why use a disposable diaper that keeps buckets of urine next to tender skin? The trick is that infants in these cultures are always physically entwined with a parent or someone else, and "elimination communication" is the norm. With bare bottoms, they ride on the hip or back and it's easy to feel when they need to go... I was against the Western ideology of making my child independent and self-reliant. I rejected the crib, stroller and jump seat, all devices intended to teach babies to be on their own. Instead I embraced the ideology of non-Western cultures and opted for the closest kind of attachment I could get.
Why use diapers? Because we don't want to carry babies on our hips or be "physically entwined" with toddlers for most of the day. It's a matter of adult convenience not a cultural psychological bathroom fixations or the value we place on making our children independent. It's a matter of the value we place on our own independence, our own legitimately selfish desire not to be bothered by little kids.
Throughout human history and in places like China, India and Kenya women haven't been valued--our time wasn't worth anything. Our only job was to drudge for our husbands, children and extended families--carrying babies on our hips all day, making sure to put them on the pot before they pooped, carrying jugs of water on our heads, grinding meal, cooking whole grains from scratch and all the other labor-intensive fruits-and-nuts-approved activities that impose drudge work on women and eat up our time.
I didn't embrace the stroller and jump seat because I wanted to teach my babies to be independent: I used these labor-saving devices because I wanted to make things easier for myself. I slept in the same bed with my babies because it was easier for me, not because it was better for them. I never made any attempt to toilet train them because I didn't want to bother. When they got sick of wearing dirty diapers they started using the toilet of their own accord.
Let's get real here: running around with a bare bottom is probably more pleasant for little kids than wearing dirty diapers. But it's less convenient for adults. There is a conflict of interests and there is no reason why the child's interests should trump the adult's.
Articles like the one linked here set my teeth on edge. When my kids were babies the preaching was about using cloth diapers rather than paper and grinding your own baby food. And no one ever dared to say, "I don't make my own baby food because it's a hassle to grind vegetables and wash up the grinder--if there's some marginal advantage to the baby to get freshly ground food that's outweighed by the major hassle to me." No one dared say either "I use paper diapers because it's easier and I care more about my convenience than I do about the environment or my baby's comfort.
No one--that is no women--dared to say such things because no woman dared say "I count: my time and convenience matter as much as my kids' well-being so I will not sacrifice for them. Everyone, including me, counts as one, no one counts as more or less than one, and in case of a tie I come first."