Sunday, April 26, 2009

More night time musings

I think I finally realized that my sleep-deprivation isn't because of EC. We do have our challenges, in that sometimes when she wakes up she does have to pee but doesn't want to be put on a potty or have a diaper changed. This is part of the difficulty. But lately she doesn't always pee at night, but still wakes up many many times. I think she just wakes up a lot!

It has been neat to have her dry at night again. Sometimes I can't believe she used to be dry all night all the time, either from not going, going in the potty, or me changing her right away. I've never liked leaving her wet, even though it seemed to be the most peaceful solution. Dry is so much better!!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I just realized I don't have a photo of Hannah on this blog! This one was taken many many months ago. I think she was about seven months old or so. Taking a picture hasn't really been on the radar lately! I'll see if I can get a more current photo one of these days.
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Travelling without a diaper bag

So our cool new thing is that I don't take the diaper bag with me everywhere I go! I take a spare pair of training pants and maybe the wetbag to put them in. If that. She just doesn't go that much when we're out and about. I have a few spare prefolds and receiving blankets in the car. Sometimes if she does wet, I take her pants off and she just rides home nakey on a blanket or prefold. That's not to say I've ditched the diaper bag entirely, because I haven't, but it is very nice to be travelling lighter these days!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Now this is very cool!

Once again, Hannah told me she had to poop! It was around noon, and we were sitting down on the bed and she looked at me and made a very definite "sth" sound. (It was a cross between "s" and "th" this time.) I was wary to take her to the potty, actually, because it was at a time of day she normally wouldn't want to be offered the potty. I told her that I thought she was telling me she needed to go, and I was going to take her, and if she didn't want to go, that was OK. So she sat down and started making that sound, and started pooping! It was pretty cool. Later this afternoon, after her afternoon nap, I took her again, and while she was sitting, she started making the sound while peeing. I love that she has that connection and actually makes the sound! (Speaking of after nap peeing, I've learned that if I give her a few minutes, she's quite content to sit on the potty and go. She just doesn't want to go immediately after waking anymore. OK.)

The cool thing about her telling me, and it being noon, is that is one of the first poops we've caught that wasn't relying on timing. Typically she goes first thing in the morning, or right before bed, and if she doesn't, I often miss it. So it was doubly cool because it was the middle of the day, not tied to any kind of routine, and she told me! Yippee!!

As I type this, it is 5:20 and she is in the same pair of training pants I put on her this morning around 10:30. (She wet her pants around 9:00 ish and then I put a diaper on her. That stayed dry and I put training pants on after her morning nap.)

She's 12 1/2 months old, and hasn't said any "real" words yet, just the occasional telling me when she needs to go potty!

I know every day probably won't be like this for awhile yet, but I'll take them as they come!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Holding it longer when other people are around

I notice a big difference when other people are around. Hannah holds it for a lot longer! I first noticed this when we were at my neighbor's across the street. She was being baptized, actually. I noticed that she was a little squirmy, but there just wasn't the opportunity to take her potty. I figured when we got back home she'd be wet and I'd change her. She was dry, and went as soon as I put her on the potty. Some time had passed, as well. It's so amazing that a little baby can hold it! She was about 6 months at the time. I also notice when we go over to my mom's that she goes a lot longer without peeing, and she is more consistent about using the potty there. I don't know why! We go through fewer diapers when we're there. It's not because I'm paying more attention, either, because I'm not. A couple of weeks ago my friend Charlie was visiting. He stayed two nights, and both nights she was dry the entire night! She usually pees multiple times a night (as I have written about!) It makes me think about wanting to get a roommate!! I guess when she's socializing she holds her pee.

Friday, April 10, 2009

New words!

Another fun aspect of EC is the vocabulary that comes with it! We talk about potty-tunities, which refers to giving the baby to use the potty. They can accept or decline the potty-tunities, but since up to a certain point in their development, they can't take themselves to the potty, we can offer then the opportunity. From that term, we also do nappy-tunities (opportunity for a nap) and nursie-tunities. I guess it's the perspective of offering to the baby what they might need or want, and leaving the rest up to her.

The initials EC sometimes get replaced for other words, as in "our one-year EC-versary" And I think today is our one year EC-versary!!!!

Potty Pause? And learning to "roll with it"

A discussion of elimination communication would not be complete without discussion of a potty pause. Sometimes the term potty pause is used, sometimes potty strike is used. I'm not sure if there is a difference, or what the formal definition (if there is one) is of each term. It's a time of the baby not using the potty to eliminate, when previously they had been. For example, up until maybe two weeks ago, Hannah has always peed in her potty right after waking up from a nap. She wakes up, I take her potty, no big deal. Lately, she has been declining the opportunity to use the potty. It's very strange, since she's been going for the after-nap pee for close to the entirety of our year-long EC journey. Something must be going on! She's reaching the age where she wants to have more independence with regards to pottying, I believe, so I have to roll with it. I never knew I could "just roll with it" so much until I started EC! This is probably good practice for the rest of my parenting journey!

She's been on a pause or semi-strike for some time. I am getting a lot of practice just learning to roll with it. Sometimes I wonder if I caused this, if I could do something different and she'd use the potty again. I wonder if I work too much, or spend too much time doing things other than spending time with her trying to connect with her. I do tend to save computer time and chore time for when she is napping, and in any case, I am doing the best I can. I think this is just normal for her. I hope so!

Even though sometimes I can take a step back, and look at it philosopically, potty pauses can be kind of hard. A refusal to use the potty isn't just sitting there and doing nothing. It's back-arching, hair grabbing (my hair,) and sometimes crying. When she responds that way, I move her away immediately, but sometimes my wrists get a little sore from her resisting. I don't ever know if she's going to refuse or not. I definitely back way off at times, even if it means I just change her pants. I guess the communication is at all different levels, and sometimes what she is communicating is no!

Knowing what I know (through experience) about potty pauses, do I wish we'd never done EC? No way! For the most part, Hannah has not had a wet or dirty diaper touching her skin. I'd estimate that 90% of poops have gone directly into the potty without touching her, and 60% of pees have as well. I can't imagine that doing EC is any more difficult than changing diapers all the time, especially poopy diapers! That's the diaper aspect. There's also the aspect of responding to a baby's communication of her need to eliminate, rather than ignoring it. In my opinion, it's a very respectful way to care for a baby.

One of the reasons I went ahead and started this blog on our elimination communication journey even though we've been doing it for a year, is that I realized that we're not near the end yet! I wonder what the next year has for us!!!


So I've begun to realize that diapers are really for my convenience. Most of the time, Hannah doesn't like it when I put a diaper on her. When we have warm weather, a diaper just seems way too bulky. I have been letting her spend a lot more time without a diaper, because sometimes we just don't need them. The use of "diaper back-up" has come in very handy throughout our EC journey, and in the winter it didn't seem like a big deal to have that extra bulk. I also change her after one pee, so again, the bulk really isn't necessary. It really is for my convenience! I have been happy to avail myself of that convenience, but we are really moving away from diapers at this point. Waterproof training pants, yes, diapers, not necessarily!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Still trying to figure out night time!

If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them! She doesn't like to be taken potty, and doesn't like sleeping in a wet diaper, and doesn't like being changed. What does that leave? And when I disturb her with any of these thing, she wakes up fully and so do I, and there goes any chance for good sleep!

Monday, April 6, 2009

More about night time

It seems like whatever I try that starts to work at night only works for a night or two! Maybe I'll just rotate, nakey for a couple of nights, diapers with no cover for a couple of nights, etc. etc.! I don't know. It will be nice when she isn't peeing so much at night! I want to take care of her at night AND get some sleep! :) The dream of all parents of infants, I suppose!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I enjoyed this post

I just read this post in a different blog, and enjoyed it. Part of the journey for me has definitely been reading others' stories about EC! She has an EC formula in here that is hilarious!

It's a couple of years old, but I don't think that matters!

Green Parenting: Potty On! Elimination Communication at 8 Months


When Hannah was just under 9 months old, I noticed that she made a "th" sound while she was peeing. She did it twice in one evening, which is how I noticed! She's done it a handful of times since then. I make the "ss-ss" sound when I'm holding her over the potty, and when she is going. I think it's neat that she makes a sound, too! I suppose that is her first word! This morning she woke up, started squirming, and looked at me and said a very strong "th" and I took her and she had a big pee. I just think that is so cool!!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Night Time EC

Night time EC has been a bit of a sore spot for much of our journey. I think I might have had fewer nights of sleep-deprivation if we'd done things differently. But I don't know that for a fact! We started doing EC at night right from the beginning, for a couple of reasons. One, she pooped a lot, so it made sense to offer her the potty, and two, I didn't think about not doing it! I know some people who do full time or part time EC during the day don't EC at night. I am not sure if I would do it again. But it has made sense with Hannah, since she pooped multiple times each night up until at least seven months of age. So it was that or change poopy diapers. I remember in the beginning it took two, sometimes three trips to the potty for her to finish her poop! That wasn't exactly fun in the middle of the night!

One neat thing, though, is that from about 2 1/2 months to about 5 1/2 months (or maybe longer) she was clean and dry all night, with very few missed pees. (She had one little blip at three months that lasted three or four nights where she pooped in her pajamas- no diapers then- but it passed.)

I have tried to have a little potty by the side of the bed, but she never really has been much for using that potty. So I take her to the bathroom. By the time she's gone potty and I've gone potty and we're back in bed, both of us are usually wide awake. That doesn't help much for the sleep situation. Especially since she pees 4-6 times a night! (She was dry for long stretches when she was younger, which is normal!)

For the past couple of months, she's cried just about every time I've taken her potty at night. So I stopped doing that! I have tried to figure out the best set-up, because she won't sleep in a wet diaper. Typically she'd wake up, nurse, then pee just as she was falling back to sleep. This meant that I couldn't fall back asleep until she'd peed, and then I'd have to change her diaper if she was in one, or change the diaper she was laying on if she wasn't in a diaper. Or soak up the pee if it went on the blanket. It wasn't a good system! If she only peed once or twice, that would be one thing, but she doesn't! And I'm not in the best mood in the middle of the night. I have to admit, the lid to where I keep my wet diapers is broken from me banging it closed in the middle of the night, in a state of frustration. I do believe that this situation of her not wanting to potty OR sleep in a wet diaper has affected my sleep! So a couple of nights ago I put a disposable diaper on her at 2:30 in the morning. She slept all the way until 7:30 and so did I! The next night I started her out with a disposable diaper (the same one, actually, since she didn't pee in it) and got good sleep! Tonight she's asleep in a regular cloth diaper, I may switch her to a disposable again when she wakes up. It's not my first choice by far, but I do choose that over sleep deprivation! I wonder, too, how using one disposable diaper compares to having 4 fitted diapers, 2 prefolds, a blanket or two, and the occasional pair of (my) pajamas to wash in terms of environmental impact.

The other night (before the disposable diaper!) she peed and it soaked the sheet that was on her and soaked my pajamas, but somehow the diaper under her was completely dry!

It's been constantly changing, and I hope it gets better! That's where we are now with night time EC.

Just doing my best

One great thing about EC is that it is not "all or nothing." Some people who practice EC put their baby on the potty first thing in the morning, or after a bath or something, and use diapers the rest of the day. There are no hard and fast rules. Some people set out to provide their baby a place to eliminate other than their diaper for every time they need to go. I think that is wonderful, but that is not how I do it. Sometimes I'm teaching a class online, sometimes I'm working, sometimes (not often, but sometimes!) I'm doing dishes or something, and I just don't realize she has to go. That is OK, it's how we do it. EC really is a journey! Somedays are great and easy and successful, some days we're just off. It's OK.

More of what I love about EC

As I wrote before, I love the communication, and knowing what my daughter needs. When she was tiny, people asked me over and over again, "don't you wish you knew what she was trying to say when she's fussy?" And I never felt that way, I really did know what she was trying to say! Now, at around 11 months, I did start to wish she could talk, her fussiness and crying has been more subtle! But in the beginning, it was easy to tell what she wanted.

I've also practiced a little of the "timing" aspect with my 16-year-old poodle. Since babies commonly have to pee when they first wake up, and I'm in the habit of taking Hannah to the potty when she first wakes up, I decided that I would also put my dog outside when he first wakes up. It has saved my carpet considerably! He does try to make it outside, but since he's old and moves slow in the morning, he doesn't always make it. I would not have thought to take him out first thing if I hadn't learned that with EC! I also am more sensitive to my dog's trying to communicate with me, like yesterday when he followed me around, I finally realized he was out of food.

I also like that I'm not dependent on diapers. If we're out and about and I run out of diapers, it's not a big deal. I just put her in the carseat on a blanket (I usually have several in the car) and it's dry when we get home anyway. It's nice! Since Hannah is not a big fan of being clothed or diapered, this lets me only put diapers on her when we really need to (for my convenience) and not worry about it otherwise. She's much happier this way!

Friday, April 3, 2009

What I love about EC

I post a lot in the EC forum on MDC, and sometimes I get pretty philosophical. I probably insert more of my own philosophies into my responses than is actually asked for! But EC has really challenged me in terms of how I relate to my baby. Very early on, she clearly knew what the potty was for, and knew how to use it, with my help, of course. But what about the times when she didn't wait? Sometimes I got frustrated and took it personally, and then I had to take a step back and think about my reaction. I really need to just let her be who she is and care for her as best as I can, but not get frustrated with her when she doesn't do exactly what I want her to. That's part of the "journey" for sure. I speak of this in the past tense, because I think I've come a long way in this area! Now that she's basically on a potty strike, I have lots of practice accepting her for who she is! I really can't "get" her to do anything different.

I also love EC because I've learned a lot about babies, or at least about my baby. People are always saying, "don't do such and such or your baby will always expect this or that." I've learned that babies are a lot more flexible and adaptable than that. I can have a period of time when I'm not able to take Hannah potty, if I'm teaching a class or seeing a client or patient, for example, and she uses her diaper during those times. When I am able to take her, she goes. Those times when I can't take her don't ruin anything, she just gets right back on track.

I've also learned from this process that babies grow and change in a non-linear way. (Makes sense, that's how I grow and change!) It's been kind of a magnifier for that process to me.

I also love that I have been able to respond to what my baby needs when she's been fussy or squirmy. I have been around other people who have tried to guess what's wrong- she's hungry, she needs to be bounced or rocked, etc. and she just needed to be taken to the potty. I love that! And I'm glad I don't bounce her when she has to go potty, that can't be comfortable!

Misses and messes

If you're reading this and haven't tried EC and aren't quite sure what to think, give it some time. It can take a little while to get use to the idea. Sometimes I write about the frustrating aspect, but I truly can't imagine another way to take care of my baby when it comes to her need to pee and poop.

So I had to learn to be OK with a few messes from time to time. Of course there are messes even with babies who are in diapers full time. And for the most part, I have had Hannah in a diaper as a "back up" in case I didn't get her to the potty in time, or at the right time. I have been peed on a time or two, however! And it's really no big deal. Pee is sterile, and tiny babies don't pee that much volume anyway. I think her going in the potty the majority of the time is less messy than dealing with messy diapers.

Speaking of messy diapers, for most of this past year, Hannah's poops have gone in the potty. In the beginning, she pooped 8 or so times a day, and more than half went in the potty. Even from her second week of life! How cool is that? By about three months, she was averaging a poopy diaper about every ten days or so. And this is a baby who poops a lot! I think our longest streak without a poopy diaper is two months. Currently, we're back to about one every ten days or so. Not too bad!

In the time period from 3-7 months, she typically was clean and dry all day, with one wet diaper. I actually had her in little training pants at that time, because she didn't need diapers. We often went 24 hours without any misses.


When Hannah was very small she was quite a vigorous signaller of a need to go potty. I loved that I was able to (eventually) understand her signals and provide her a place to go potty other than in her diaper. It took me a little while to figure out some of her signals. Once I figured them out, they were so obvious! If she was in the sling and needed to go, she would start squirming. If she was nursing and starting popping on and off, I knew she had to go. The most obvious times were in the sling and while nursing. Other times she squirmed or fussed and I knew. Gradually she stopped signalling. I wasn't quite ready for her to stop, though! But she also stopped signalling when she was hungry. Many times I just "knew" she had to go.

At the age of one, she really doesn't signal. Sometimes she'll be a little fussy in the morning, and I'll take her and she goes. She will fuss a lot when she has just wet her pants, which definitely is communication. I change her, or nowadays just take off her diaper and let her go nakey for awhile.

First time in the Moby wrap without diapers

So when Hannah was about 2 1/2 months (I think) I took her on a walk in the Moby wrap without a diaper. I can't remember if I had little cloth training pants on her, I think I did, or just nothing. As I walked around the neighborhood with her up close to me with no diaper on, I felt like I was getting away with something. I wondered what people would think if they knew she wasn't wearing a diaper! (As if it mattered, but that's what I was thinking.) I definitely was hoping that we'd make it home with no peeing, because I wasn't used to getting peed on yet. I remember, too, that my neighbor stopped me to say hi to Hannah, and I was still wondering if we'd get home with no pee. And we did! She did not pee while I had her in any kind of sling for a long time!

I had read that babies tend not to pee or poop when they are in a sling. It was true for Hannah, until she reached about 8 or 9 months. I remember one time she peed on me four times in one day! I started waterproofing after that. Lately, though, as in the past couple of weeks, I haven't worried about it, and she hasn't peed on me.

In the very beginning, before I could read her signals, she did go a couple of times in the sling. After the fact I realized she was trying to tell me!

Our One-Year EC-versary!!!

I've been thinking about blogging about our EC journey, but so far have not. Why not start now?

There is a lot of info about EC out there, if you want more info, you can google "elimination communication." I'll post some links some day when I have a moment! :)

So Hannah is turning one in a couple of days, and we have been doing EC for almost a year! I think it’s been the most interesting part of our journey so far! We'll start with a little retrospective.

When I was pregnant, I read about EC, and at first, didn’t think that I was interested in doing that. Whatever I read at first just didn’t spark my interest. Then I read about it again, and it suddenly hit me that my choices were to learn about EC or let my baby sit in his/her waste for periods at a time! Being pregnant with my fist, it was all so abstract, and I had no idea what having a baby in the house was going to be like (really, NO IDEA WHATSOEVER!!!) and this was when reality kind of sunk in. Why would I let my child sit in pee and poop? So I decided to do EC and bought the book by Ingrid Bauer and went to a few websites. I think I stumbled across MDC, but didn’t really know what online forums were about until later.

I got a ton of disposable diapers as baby shower gifts. I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, because I wasn’t planning on using diapers. I thought, “I guess I’ll just use them at first.” I was given a diaper genie, which I would never have used, even if I’d used disposables the whole time. I returned it! I wanted to have some cloth diapers, but no one gave me any and I didn’t buy any. I was planning on doing EC from the beginning.

I didn’t have my baby at home, as planned. I did get to labor at home, though! But we went to the hospital 32 hours after my water had broken, and I chose c-section when I got there. (Short pause for a moment of grief.) In a way, I did start the process of EC in the hospital, because I was fanatic about having her diapers checked and changed frequently. I couldn’t do it myself at first, and that made me so sad! I didn’t even think about holding her over a potty, since of course getting myself to the potty was quite painful and difficult. I think in a way I thought I wasn’t going to actually get to do EC. It was a pretty jumbled time. (Having just given birth and all!)

EC really played a big role in my emotional healing after the c-section. When Hannah was four or five days old (I can’t remember, and it’s not in my journal) I was changing her diaper, and she had an explosive poop that went all over the wall by the changing table. I was so excited! I knew she was telling me she didn’t want to poop in her diaper! Oh, it was incredible, really! I realized that even though our first few days together were nothing like what I planned, and not at all what I had wanted, there was no reason we couldn’t do what I had planned from that moment forward. That really helped me out of my funk! It must have been the fifth day, because I was definitely in a funk the morning of her fifth day. Anyway, it was great! Soon after that, I held her over my sink, made a sss-sss sound and she peed. Awesome!

I had read that newborns pee tons, and wasn’t up for trying to catch all the pees. I offered her potty-tunities throughout the day, but for the most part, she peed in her diaper. I had her in disposables most of the time. I did buy two cloth diapers when she was a week old, a prefold with a cover, and a fuzzi-bunz. I used those when they were clean, to save resources rather than to help me with EC. She did love to poop in a fresh clean cloth diaper!  Although more than half the time she pooped in the potty.

Before I had those two cloth diapers I used a receiving blankets sometimes instead of a diaper. My friend came over and held her, and took the swaddling blanket off of her to look at her, and was shocked to see no diaper. She asked why, and I said that I had wanted to use cloth diapers but I didn’t have any yet. She was telling me the blanket was wet, and I told her that’s why I put a blanket on her. I thought it was kind of funny!

I bought some of the cheap prefolds at Target, and they are great for one pee! I fashioned some kind of belt from the waistband of a pair of pants, and used that set up some of the time. I found the prefold with the cover to be quite cumbersome when offering potty-tunities. Up until about 3 months, I used the disposables quite a bit, too. Probably 75% of the time. Then one day, I just couldn’t put them on her anymore. I had one package that I hadn’t opened yet, that I ended up donating. During the transition away from disposables, I used to keep one in the diaper bag. It was nice to know that if I ever got frustrated or whatever, I could just put that disposable diaper on her. I think I did a few times. Our first summer was kind of hard in the “getting out and about” category. It was hot, and I was sleep-deprived and exhausted. I only wanted to schlep around a couple of dirty or wet diapers, so that’s what we did. At some point, I stopped carrying an extra dispoable diaper around!

I need to stop for the moment, there’s so much more I want to write!