When Joshi was 8 months old it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t need to put a nappy on him at night. (The fact that it took a few months for me to realise this probably has something to do with the sleep deprivation that comes with mammahood). I realised that for the past few months I’d been waking up, removing his dry cloth nappy, taking him to the potty, putting his dry nappy back on and going back to sleep. So why am I wasting my time putting this nappy on him? From then on it was the end of night-time nappies.
Since then, from the time he falls asleep for the night until he wakes up in the morning to play, he’s either naked (coz it’s cooking hot) or in these cute little cloth training pants. The training pants are for toddlers, so they’re a bit big for him, but they’re much lighter and more comfortable than the cloth nappies he’s been wearing. They look like undies but they have a tiny bit of absorbancy (I did say a tiny bit) and cost about $2 a pair.
Although we’ve been practicing EC (elimination communication) with him since he was 10 days old, it was mostly daytime time EC’ing we did, hardly any at night, at least for the first 6 months. My back was really knackered after the pregnancy and birth and took about 5 months to feel strong again. Not only had my abdominal muscles split apart (as they often do in mammas-to-be), my internal organs had done a huge shuffle. Both of these really affected my back, so I prioritized resting it completely at night by not getting up to lift Joshi onto the potty. In those days, whenever he woke, I’d just roll over in a daze, feed him lying down and then fall asleep again. Joshi’s always slept between us, so this was all very easy. Looking back, he was probably often waking to go to the potty. In fact, knowing what I know now, I’d say he definitely was, but I’d just feed him and then we’d pass out.
Another reason why I didn’t practise elimination communication with him at night for those first few months was because I honestly thought it would be massively hard. I was so wrong. “That’s for the die-hard EC’ers,” I thought. Ironically it turned out to be heaps easier than day-time elimination communication for us. (Although I have heard of parents who find night-time EC’ing harder than day-time).
Anyway, as soon as I started taking him to the potty through the night (from 6 months onwards), he’s had a dry nappy right way through (except once when he was unwell). Since then the night-time routine has been really effortless. When he wakes he’s always dry. I then sit him on the potty straight away and feed him – yes, simultaneously. This all happens really calmly. There’s no sound, except for the sound of me going “pssshhhh” and the sound of him feeding, and his eyes are closed throughout. There’s no fuss and no struggle. And when he’s finished I slide his training pants back up, lie him back down on the bed between us and it’s back to sleep for us both. This whole night-time potty/feeding thing takes 5 to 10 minutes and happens anywhere between 2 and 6 times a night.
I used to think that babies wake in the night because they’re uncomfortable from weeing in their nappy and need changing, but now I realise I was wrong. Joshi wakes because he either needs to feed, or wee, or both. And I don’t think he’s clever or extraordinary or because of it. Babies really aren’t so different from adults in this respect. Like us, they often wake because their bladder’s full and it needs emptying. Have you ever tried sleeping when your bladder’s full? Not possible! Of course, if a baby’s not responded to when they need to go then they’re eventually going to have to do it in their nappy if their bladder’s very full.
With Joshi, we’ve noticed that when he wakes up, whether during the night or day, he holds it until one of us sits him on the potty. And then, ahhhhhh … it’s sweet relief.