I first heard about EC (Elimination Communication) from a friend of mine, Kate. She started practising it with her daughter, Margo, when Margo was just 11 days old. Kate sent me a link about EC when I was pregnant. She said it was interesting reading. It was. And it really inspired me.
It was perfect timing as I’d been wondering what to do about my ‘pursuit of nappiness.’ A few factors concerned me:
1. I didn’t want my child to be sitting in his own wee and poo.
2. I wanted to avoid being part of the nappy landfill problem.
3. I wanted to avoid having to wash a huge pile of 20 to 30 cloth nappies a day. And lastly …
4. I thought it would be much more fun spending $5000 (AUS) on a family trip overseas rather than a year’s supply of disposables.
So a few days after Joshi was born we decided to give EC a go. We held him above an oval-shaped potty lid, his back pressing in against our tummy, our hands under his thighs. Drawing his knees gently into his tummy we made the sound of a wee. It worked straight away! He weed on cue! We were so excited. We managed to catch lots of wees right from the start. It was incredibly satisfying. (But we also missed a lot of them as he was doing one approximately every 20 minutes!)
I was even more excited when I first caught a poo. He was less than 2 weeks old. I saw him squirming and so I quickly took of his nappy, held him above the potty and made the sound. It worked! I was as amazed and I was delighted. And each poo I caught meant one less cloth nappy to scrape poo off and wash! But still the pile of nappies was big. We were having to put a load of laundry on every day (not very green).
And then I had an idea.
To reduce the size of the pile of nappies, I decided to make my own. Much smaller ones. So I ordered a few metres of hemp material online, doubled it over and sewed it into rectangles. They fitted perfectly into the velcro nappy covers I’d bought. Bingo! I made about 40 of them. Enough to last for 2 days.
At first our approach to EC was to randomly hold Joshi over the potty from time to time. We still do that. But now we’re also starting to observe what sounds and gestures he makes before he needs a wee or a poo. There’s something incredibly satisfying about taking his dry nappy off, holding him over the potty and then putting a dry nappy back on after he’s gone. Not bad for a 16 week old baby.
What I’d like to do next is spend an entire day with Joshi on nappy free time, getting a better understanding of how often he goes and of the signals he’s constantly giving me. As a friend, Korin, said to me, it’s not that I’m nappy training him. He’s training me! He’s training me to understand what he needs when he makes certain sounds and movements. And the great part about it is that I’m actually beginning to understand them. I think babies are far more intelligent than we fully realise. And no baby wants to be sitting in their own wees and poos.
Of course it’s different with each child, but from what I understand, this approach can have your child be totally out of nappies, (both day and night), by about 1-year-old. What a pleasure.
PS. I believe in getting lots of sleep in order to be the best mamma I can, so for now I’m using disposables at night, cloth nappies during the day. So far the best disposables I’ve found are the Takas (biodegradable), but when I can’t find them in the shops I’ve resorted to buying Huggies (really not biodegradable at all) Oh no! Mums, if you’ve got any better suggestions, do let me know!