It’s been a moment since I have shared our journey with elimination communication. If you have no idea what I am talking about or want to read more about EC, check out my post on it HERE.
Here is a refresher on our journey.
It began when my daughter was 2 days old. Pretty much right after we made it thru meconium. My husband was actually the first person to catch in our home. After that, it was on full time. I won’t say its all been easy, some days are up and some are down, but I am so glad looking back we chose this way of life. Our family was fortunate to choose to live with less so that I could stay at home with our daughter giving us the opportunity to EC full time.
Now, lets catch up with life now, a year later still using EC. Last week, a week of set backs to realize really how far we have come in our EC journey. With little h. officially at the 14 month mark, we have actually made it down to 1 or no misses a day, with the misses being pees. Honestly, until last week I didn’t even realize how well we were doing.
Cue last week.
We had a bad (by definition of misses) EC week. Miss after miss and even a bed soaker one night. What was going on?!? Well, we have been on the search for a home to buy. Pretty much the most stressful thing you can do on a small budget. This was a true testament to how our children can pick up on our emotions and feelings.
I began to notice a breakdown in communication. It wasn’t her fault we were having some misses, we were just not seeing eye to eye at the moment. I quickly realized that every time I allow stress to take over or get distracted with something else, she would get fussy, motion to nurse and if I didn’t adhere to her demand at that instant she would stand there and pee in her prefold. I’m not talking about asking to nurse every say 2 hours, I’m talking every 3 minutes when I would try to do anything but focus full attention on her.
It took some time for me to realize she was already at the age to begin working on boundaries. It’s true that I do need to accomplish things in life and we both need to learn how to make that happen together since she is with me most all of he time.
So within my support system (an online group of ECers from all over the world) I begged for a solution to this. You will find most times someone who EC’s has been thru the exact same phase as you. Most said not to make a big deal of it change her immediately after as usual and just in a normal tone talk about it. So I tried. My little h. Is very head strong. It did not go quite as planned. Finally someone said, Don’t even make note of her outburst. Put her on the potty as you notice or after, remind her of where it goes in the potty not her pants, clean her up and find her a busy project to keep her happy until you can answer her need and then accomplish it.
I did just that. It worked. It worked? It worked!!!
So, just as in life, going to the potty is just another need a child has. It’s our duty to realize not all of their needs can be met by them alone. Just like eating, going to sleep, or just needing some love. We can help meet their needs. Believe it or not, babies are born with the controlled muscles they use to eliminate. We have just been taught in this consumer driven world by those who profit from it that they should go in a diaper. And even more so, a disposable diaper. I will say in the beginning out of pure convenience, I used disposable cloth wipes. Even splitting those in half I was creating so much waste and spending money on something I was literally throwing in the trash. We started using cloth reusable and it cost us zero dollars. I know disposable diapers are super convenient, but they are so wasteful and expensive. What if I told you I can count the times I have had to clean a poopy diaper on less than two hands in over a year? It’s true, and in most EC cases, babies prefer to not eliminate on themselves if helped early to understand it. It does take patience, and time, but isn’t that babies anyway? I have noticed now that I’m in the motion of our day to day life, I we were to have a miss it takes me more time to change her all up than it would have just to pop her on the potty.
Patterns and setbacks
Over the past year her patterns have changed many times (again, isn’t that the way with babies?) Early on in the newborn phase, it was timing and nearly every 10-15 mins my girl would have to go! Overtime it slowed down a bit and her quite literal screaming and arching of her back when she was wet turned into a blank stare. And she began to go every 20-40 mins. Now that she is eating solids (we started around 12mo) it’s been a learning journey. For her mostly still a blank stare if she is in the middle of play, but sometimes now its quite literal. A fuss and pulling at my leg or sometimes running into the big potty. We did have some random setbacks over the way.
Teething always rocks our EC world. In our experience when she is working on a tooth, she usually has some misses, I believe from discomfort or if she is really exhausted from the pain and falls into a deep sleep and I miss her usual signs of pawing and kicking because she is sleeping like a log instead.
When she is learning something new like sitting up, crawling, walking or using new muscles. When she was learning to sit up and lay on her tummy, learning to use those muscles made for a few surprise misses. Sometimes she was busy learning or playing and was just to into it to stop and signal. Nowadays, she tends to grab her pants at the very moment she is going. If I am lucky, I will be looking that way when she just barely squats and gets that slight blank look on her face.
This is a new one for us. She has begun to learn she can express her feelings too, I see a few misses simply because she is not going to “go”. Not because she doesn’t need to, but rather because she wants some control, and to assert what she wants and needs. As much as this can feel like a setback when they can’t yet talk, its a great learning experience in communication.
What we wear now.
Being newbies we started off angel folding a newobrn prefold with the use of a snappi and cover. In time we realized it was too much to take off at a moments notice. We then (because it was an inexpensive option) purchased used cloth pocket diapers ($5 each in a moms swap) and just tri folded her old newborn prefolds for absorbsion. (we still use these when we are traveling and out of the house.
Now when we are home, we are mostly in prefolds with a snappi or a non waterproof trainer so I can monitor when we do have misses. We tried the “EC” belt and she just loved trying to pull it off. We are also using non waterproof trainers but have yet to find a pair that fit her slender 14 month old frame. So we roll the tops so they fit more snug and because they are so loose (she forgets she has them on) we tend to have misses.
Each EC journey just like mothers and children can be different. The purpose remains the same. To meet our childrens needs and learn to communicate with them also, knowing that eventually they will go on the potty full time and not in their diaper or undies.
Everything changes. All the time. This isn’t reason to get discouraged, it just goes to show your child is learning and growing.
It is not about the destination, as much as it is about the journey. We all from time to time in the back of our minds think about how great it will be the day our child doesn’t go in their pants anymore. However, the ways you learn to communicate with them while getting to that place are just as important.
There will be setbacks. It is how we learn valuable lessons in life. Just remember it always gets better after it gets worse.
Enjoy this time with your child. Somedays may seem like they are never going to end, but just remember, it really will seem like tomorrow and your child will be old enough to do all these little things we help them with all by themselves.