(This is part of my series on attachment parenting, which started here).
In my last post I explained why and how we started elimination communication (EC). Today I want to go over why we’ve kept at it, even though we haven’t had as much success as we would have liked and have used a ton of cloth diapers most days in the process. (As I mentioned in my last post, I thought we’d be able to go diaper-free almost from birth. I even considered not buying any diapers after we went through the pack of disposables my mom gave us. Ahahaha. Silly me.)
So, first off, I’ll just say that I’m still confident that Ben, Lydia and I will all continue to get better at EC. We’ve only been doing this for two months, and one of us was only a newborn when we started; we’re bound to improve if we keep it up. So even if we’ve used a buttload of diapers up to now, I’m confident that things will only improve from here. (In fact, we’ve already gotten better since I published that post last week. We’ve gone three nights in a row without soiling a single diaper. Go us!)
So, my additional reasons for continuing:
- I still think EC will make things easier in the long run, even if it’s been a bit more work thus far. We’re not training her to go in her diaper as a baby just to turn around and tell her it’s bad to go in her diaper when she’s a toddler. From the start, she’ll be used to peeing in a potty at least a couple of times a day. That, to me, sounds easier than conventional potty-training at two or three years old.
- Eventually, it will use fewer diapers, and in the long run, I’m sure it will add up to much less than if we’d conventionally-diapered the whole time. As of yesterday, in fact, we’re able to stretch diaper laundry to every other day instead of every day. Yay!
- I’m glad we’ve taken the time to observe her bodily functions so closely. I know exactly when, where, and how many times she’s peed since birth. I know that she pees way more in the morning and evening than during the afternoon, and that she’s gone down from six times a night to two or three times. I know that when she starts squirming in her sleep at night, it’s because she has to go. I believe that being so in tune with her body has and will continue to have benefits.
See, I believe that caring for a child is made easier the better you know that child — knowing what makes her feel good, what makes her feel bad, etc. Knowing our baby’s elimination patterns is just another piece of data to help us understand her and therefore care for her better. That makes our lives as parents easier.
- One of the purposes of EC is to keep babies from having to sit in their own waste – an unpleasant experience that can lead to painful rashes. So even if we’ve spent more time changing diapers than we’d like (instead of achieving our intended goal of catching most of her pees in a potty) we’ve still succeeded in keeping her out of her own urine.
- I kind of appreciate the challenge. Let’s be honest: disposable diapers are the least creative way of dealing with waste: strap some absorbent trash onto your baby’s bum for a few hours so it can then sit in a landfill for a few centuries. Disposables are the go-to method for North Americans, and I think we can do better. I like how EC has been able to challenge my ways of thinking about waste, and has forced me to be creative (like attempting to breastfeed while holding her over a potty . . . in bed. Which works, by the way! And it feels dang good when it works!)
So even though things haven’t always gone as smoothly as I anticipated with EC, and can sometimes be a hassle, I don’t regret it one bit. I would totally recommend trying it!
I just have a few tips if you’re considering it:
Expect to use more than the normal amount of diapers in the beginning. This seems counter-intuitive because the point is to become free of diapers in the long run, but you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to save diapers when your baby is peeing every half hour and you’re trying to keep a close eye on it.
I know all the books on EC have ‘diaper free’ in their titles, but that doesn’t mean you won’t ever use any diapers. I tried to do without them like in the books but that just meant I was always getting pee all over my clothes and furniture. When I caved and started using diapers, I got extremely frustrated some days because we were going through so many.
Once I decided to be more relaxed about it, and see freedom from diapers as a future goal rather than an immediate expectation, things got a lot easier.
Instead of trying to reduce diapers right away, think of the first weeks as being purely about observation and learning. This will probably mean more diapers, but that’s OK.
Also? I don’t know if I would start from birth with future babies. Maybe at two months, when peeing slows down a bit. But it was an interesting learning experience.
And lastly: leg warmers. They’re essential for EC. You absolutely do not want to put your baby in a footed sleeper if you’re trying this. I learned how to make my own “Baby Legs” out of women’s knee-high socks from That Married Couple.
If you’re one of the eight people in North America who have tried this, what were your experiences? Do you have any tips? Or if you’ve never tried it, do you have any questions?