Friday, June 12, 2009

EC - an explanation

So, why bother doing EC?

Well, the diaper rash issue alone would've been a good enough reason for me to start. Seeing what was a bloody bottom turn into smooth pink skin made me a believer, even if it did leave me with several dozens different tubes of various diaper rash ointments sitting around. I wonder if Desitin, Balmex, and Aquaphor can be used in oil painting projects?

If that wasn't enough, what about the positives for the environment? We're doing a mixture of cloth diapering during the day and disposables at night (because i'm just more comfortable knowing i won't be waking up in a puddle of pee and poo courtesy of the baby [yes, we co-sleep; more on that at a later date]) but EC makes it possible to use less of both diapers.

With EC, the BabyBeast goes through fewer cloth diapers during the day (which means i don't wash diapers as often, which means i'm not using as much water and electricity) and I am using fewer disposable diapers at night (which means there are fewer going into landfills and sitting there for a few hundred years). That's a bragging right, I've heard. "My carbon footprint is less than yours!" Personally, I'm not really sure how cloth diapers and disposable diapers add to my carbon footprint, but I'm not going to pass up anything that gives me bragging rights.

If those reasons aren't good enough, what about simplifying potty learning in a couple years? I've heard so many parents lamenting how hard it is to get their toddlers and children to stop peeing in PullUps and start peeing in a potty. With EC, the BabyBeast never gets used to sitting in pee and poo in a diaper, and instead gets an early experience with using a toilet for its intended purpose (instead of thinking it's an excellent place to take a bath; i won't even get into that story, because it left an ex-boyfriend of mine scarred for months afterward when his nephew did it)

But really, it all boils down to the way I'm raising my son: naturally! Everything we do, we do based on the idea that ancient humans wouldn't have had access to... well, whatever! Cribs, diapers, bouncers... and EC follows that pattern.

Ancient people (and even modern people living in cultures where diapering is considered weird) paid attention to their babies and learned the schedules of their infants eliminations, and learned the signals their infants gave before peeing or pooing. And they learned to hold the baby away from their body to prevent being covered in infant eliminations.

I'm doing a more modern version of this; after all, ancient people didn't have BBLPs. And if I just held the BabyBeast out from my body, I'd ruin the carpets. But it is my opinion that EC is much more natural than slapping a diaper on the baby and expecting them to sit in their own waste until you either think to change them, or they fuss enough that you check their diaper.

Speaking of, I think it's time to take the BabyBeast to the potty...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Potty baby

When I first heard about Elimination Communication (or Natural Infant Hygiene) I actually laughed. It sounded completely ridiculous - watching your baby to see when they needed to potty? Putting an infant on a toilet? Babies poop in diapers; it's just an accepted fact in the US. ('wait, what?' you say. 'ec? what on earth are you talking about?' here you go, honey: an explanation of ec)

That was when I was about three or four months pregnant. As time went by, the idea kept coming back into my head, and I found myself reading Web sites and forum posts about EC with babies. It was oddly fascinating, even though a part of me kept laughing quietly and saying, "That's just weird."

Jacob was about four weeks old when I started thinking much more seriously about trying EC with him. His diaper rash was getting alarming, even though I was using a combination of disposables and cloth diapers. We were changing him sometimes twice an hour, powdering him with corn starch, and putting Desitin on the worst spots with nearly every diaper change, and yet he was still getting rash bad enough that it bled in spots.

So, I did what I do best: research. Exhaustively. Until I can sit down and give a lecture and sound like I really do know what I'm talking about.

So, I read The Diaper-Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh, and then I read Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene by Ingrid Bauer. And I looked through the Web site (linked in the first paragraph up there). And then I started holding my baby over the Cookie Bowl, as the Husbeast called it (because previously, it had always been used to make his chocolate chip cookies; seeing his son perched over it peeing may have curbed his cravings for awhile).

To my amazement, it worked. More than worked, it worked incredibly well. I could go an entire day and only use two diapers because everything else went into the Cookie Bowl (or the toilet, if the Husbeast was the one pottying the baby, because the Cookie Bowl was sacred).

Because EC was going so well, and because the Cookie Bowl was suffering unpardonable abuse, the Husbeast went ahead and purchased a top-hat potty bowl to make EC easier.

That certainly has made things considerably easier (and freed the Cookie Bowl for its intended purpose, leading me to wonder if things were better before I was able to indulge in cookies frequently) but with the baby growing increasingly large, it was getting harder and harder to tuck all the important bits into the top-hat potty bowl. I've heard that this isn't the case for most people until their babies are crawling around, which makes me wonder if the increased cookie intake is somehow translating directly through the breastmilk.

So, our newest EC-related purchase has been a BabyBjorn Little Potty. And pottying has gotten pretty darn cute.

Somehow, a fat baby perched on a toilet is incredibly cute to me. Is it shallow that I'm thinking less about how much good this is doing and more about how cute the baby looks on his BBLP?

On the positives, his diaper rash has almost completely cleared up. And he is letting us know pretty much every time he needs to poo, and about 75% of the time when he needs to pee. But the most important thing is that he is really, really cute on his BBLP.