EC'ing Galen from birth has been a nice adventure for us. We've planned to EC (use elimination communication) since my pregnancy – and I EC'd with Cassidy from 6 months and with Brennan from 1 week. So it wasn't completely new to me. I still intended to take it easy and not worry about it until I felt ready.
I felt ready when Galen was 2 days old 😉 I held him over a small bowl, made a “psss” sound and was happily surprised when he peed! Things have gone very well since then.
We kept Galen in diapers completely at first. His first week I kept him in disposables (Tushies brand) while he was clearing the meconium from his digestive tract. If I felt like he needed to go I just unstrapped the diaper and held him over his “potty bowl.” If he wet in the diaper I made the “pss” sound and held him over the bowl, and put a dry diaper on right away.
A Clear Preference
After the first week we switched to cloth diapers. Not long after Galen cleared all the meconium and started having normal breastfed baby bowel movements he developed a total preference for pooping over his potty bowl.
I continue to be amazed by this. He's only had a few dirty diapers ever… The first couple of weeks he'd poop in the night, and I didn't catch those. He quickly stopped, however – I was expecting this because I remembered my others got to where they didn't poop at night. After he stopped going at night we pretty much stopped having dirty diapers.
He would wet diapers, but would wait for the potty bowl to poop. He still does now, at 7 weeks. Now he's having 1-2 bowel movements a day, skipping a day occasionally. He goes in the potty bowls or over the sink. Scott finds it much easier to hold him over the bathroom sink; I prefer a little potty bowl. We keep a bottle of spray cleaner by the sink now :p
Galen would have a lot small smears on his diapers in the early weeks. We called them “wet farts” which is a pretty accurate description. Once I was up and about and our out-of-town visitors were gone I started keeping Galen dressed in long sleeves and leg warmers or split pants at home. I'd just keep a prefold diaper under his bottom since he had the little smears whenever he passed gas. Scott preferred (and still does) for me to put pocket diaper on him. If he's fussing and Scott thinks he needs to go he just takes the diaper off and holds Galen over the sink.
Six Week Changes
At six weeks exactly there was a big change for Galen – he stopped having the wet farts. He still passes gas, of course, but his muscles have matured to where there's no longer anything coming out with the gas. I still keep him over a prefold but I'm pleased they stay nice and clean.
Galen also started to stay dry through the night most nights. I try to cue him to pee when we go to bed (between 10 and 11pm) – if he goes then he's usually dry in the morning when we wake around 6:30am. In fact some mornings I've had a hard time getting him to go even then!! He isn't dry all nights, but he is most nights now. That's pretty exciting!
During the day we do still have wet diapers and prefolds but I feel pretty confident about “catching” his pees. A lot of it is based on timing – if it's been awhile since he's gone, if he's just woken or finished a long nursing. But if he gets fussy we can often offer him the potty and he'll go.
I feel comfortable about napping with him diaperless now. I put him on a diaper with a towel and waterproof mat underneath. I also just drape a prefold over his private area so he doesn't spray me should he go! But he stays dry during our nap time. When he naps in the baby hammock next to me I still diaper him, and I do overnight as well. I still diaper him when we go out, though I've been able to get him to pee over the potty at our children's library!
To keep warm around the house Galen wears a hat and socks all the time. He wears a lightweight baby t-shirt under a long-sleeved shirt and then either baby leg warmers or split pants I made for him, as I mentioned above. He almost always either sitting/nursing right up against me or he's in mine or Scott's baby carrier so our body heat keeps him cozy too. I'll put a blanket around him as well, if I think he needs it. We live in northern Michigan, so keeping an EC'd baby warm while allowing easy potty access has been one of my focuses.
All in all EC'ing is going very well and I continue to be amazed just how aware he is. Some days we get through most of the day with just one diaper. Other days there will be a bunch of wet ones. Rarely are there dirty diapers though. It's clear to me that Galen wants to stay clean and dry, and has the capacity to let us know when he needs to go – and to let us know when we missed a cue and he needs a dry diaper… right away 😉
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