Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Elimination communication

Diaper free, natural infant hygene - whatever you want to call it. EC, elimination communication, is a fancy phrase that means "paying attention to when your baby needs to go so you can park them on a toilet rather than letting them sit in a wet/poopy diaper." There's whole books and support groups for this - which is really kind of odd when you think about it. Sort of like having an advisor to tell you how to breastfeed (see previous rant on breastfeeding). I mean, half the world manages to do without nappies most of the time and they're not swimming in baby poo. So, we decided to try this - it's supposed to help the child potty train sooner and of course it cuts down on the number of diapers you use, both of which seems like a good thing for the baby (and for the parents).

Boy let me tell you, it's trickier than it sounds (just like breastfeeding ;) )!

So what you do is observe your child and see what they do just before they pee/poo. Then when you see them do that again, you whisk them over an appropriate recepticle (toilet, bowl, sink, etc.) and give them a cue word to let them associate with the act of elimination (like "pee" or "poo"). Eventually, they associate the word with it being ok to let loose, and you are home free, diaperwise. Sounds cool in theory, right? Well, there's a reason they have support groups for this kind of thing. I've been "observing" JJ for signals and as far as I can tell, he'll occasionally stare off into space if he's peeing...but sometimes he does that when he's tired or gassy or sees something interesting over my shoulder. I've talked to him about being more consistent in his cues, but he just gives me that great big gummy smile and laughs as if to say "yeah, right lady! you think I'm going to make this *easy* on ya?"

In spite of all this, we had our first successful "pee" yesterday and first poo today - I was changing his diaper and thought, hey that looks like that mile long stare he gets just before he pees all over me...So, I held him over the toilet and voila! he peed into the toilet. Cool! And this morning I was giving him an "op-poo-tunity" at the toilet and sure enough he pooed. It'll probably never happen again, but it was very encouraging to have it work this once! Hooray!

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