We're 2 months into life with Sadie and it has been a huge learning experience to have a new baby all over again! Among other things that felt a little more challenging this time around, elimination communication hasn't been easy. EC'ing took a back seat for awhile and is now coming back to the forefront. Here's what's going on with Sadie and some tips for you from our experience.
Sadie Needs a Lot of Sleep!
Sadie is a sleepy baby. I would have said “fussy baby” in the past, but not anymore. I've done extensive research on baby and toddler sleep for classes I'm putting together, and I've come to realize that young babies need a lot of sleep. Actually, older babies and toddlers need a lot more sleep than they're often given, but that's the topic of another post!
Sadie really can't stay up for very long without getting cranky. Around 45 minutes was her max, and just in the last couple of weeks she can stretch to around an hour here and there. In the evening, after her long nap, she can stay up a bit longer but will get overtired and cranky if I push her too much.
When I realized that she really can't stay awake long, and I realized how important it is for me to protect her sleep, I started working hard to help her establish peaceful sleep times. Since she's still under 4 months, we plan sleep by how long she's been awake, not by what time it is. That means I spend a lot of time either nursing Sadie or helping her get to sleep (especially since I desired that she be able to take morning naps on her own, without having to be in my arms – I had to gently teach her this skill). And that meant that elimination communication got left out of the shuffle!
A #2 Tip
I can honestly say that Sadie has only ever had 1-2 messy diapers because I do really notice when she needs to poop. I'm able to get her to the potty because of many cues, but the biggest one is gas and knowing that it has been a bit since her last poop. If she's got lots of gas, I tend to make sure I offer her the potty frequently.
Something I've really noticed with Sadie is that she wants to “work” when it's time for a bowel movement. She stretches her legs forward and pulls them back quite a bit. Generally I have taken that to mean baby is tired of being on the potty, but with Sadie I've noticed that if she's not upset, it's more likely that she's working on a poop. So instead of holding her carefully in the “potty position,” I relax my hold so she can move back and forth. I will usually let her pump her legs some (my hands still supporting her thighs), then re-set her in the “potty position” for her to actively push a poop out. Sometimes it takes a couple of rounds of this for everything to come out. As I mentioned in last week's “Is EC Worth the Hassle” podcast, she's going every 2-3 days right now, so she generally has some built up in there!
She also doesn't usually pee when she's doing this, but if her diaper is dry, I'll wipe her bottom (with a square of regular toilet paper!) then hold her over the bathroom sink. By that point she's usually ready to pee.
We have been missing most pees, though. I have really felt a lot like I'm in “survival” mode for these first several weeks. I get Sadie settled and somebody else needs me. Then Sadie is up again and she needs me… and around and around and around 🙂 And EC is the easiest thing to drop.
Since we use backup diapers, that means Sadie has had a lot of wet diapers.
That's not really what I want, however. I do use backup diapers with little babies because it keeps EC stress-free for me… but I don't want to be EC free! 😉
Ideally I want to see Sadie in a dry diaper almost all of the time from here on out, and frankly, I want to ditch the diapers as early as possible. I love our cute cloth diapers, but diapers are a hassle to wash. Corwin and Honor were both quick and easy EC graduates and we want to have that again.
If there's one thing I've realized as I have parented several children, it's that toddlers are capable of much more than we give them credit for 😉
If Sadie associates going potty with the correct potty place (her little potty bowl, and soon hopefully just the bathroom), things will be much easier. It's not completely “easy” all the time – Corwin is 2 now and he still needs help going potty. He can't climb onto the toilet easily so still needs help with that, and he needs help wiping. But it beats cleaning a diaper (or even a little potty) any day. And it gives him dignity. So we'll work towards that with Sadie, too.
Getting Back on Track
I want to give myself a little grace here, actually, because falling off the bandwagon at 2 months isn't really all that bad :p But I still don't want Sadie to be wet, so we will work towards a drier 3-month update!
For starters, I'll follow my own two top tips: offer at every diaper change, and offer anytime baby wakes up. I need to try and get to Sadie sooner when she wakes up because most days she has just peed when I get to her. But I know that if I get to her when she's just starting to stir in the morning, I can usually catch that pee.
Secondly, I'm already re-reading Andrea's Go Diaper Free book. It's incredibly practical and straight to-the-point. Even as a mama of 7, I find that clear and straightforward instructions are helpful (why reinvent the wheel!???). I'm paying special attention to the natural timing section because that has always been where I've had the most success right away, but I'm going over everything again because I really want Sadie to be dry!
Be sure to let me know how EC'ing is going for you – and I'll update you on how things go with Sadie in the next few weeks!
(NOTE: Want proven, practical strategies to make elimination communication work for you? Use these 5 proven techniques to connect when your baby and have EC success! Get them here.)