Nappiless Happiness at 8 months: How To Get Your Baby Out Of Nappies Faster

Posted on Jan 25 2013 - 6:55pm by megganmamma
Joshi asleep in his comfy training pants

Joshi asleep in his comfy training pants

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.

11 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. katesurfs January 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    So coooool! I love reading this stuff, Meggan! I love that you guys are now ‘die-hard ECers’. It’s so funny to me, because whenever people make a checklist for ‘baby crying’, they mention everything like, baby could be hungry, tired, or wet, but they never mention that perhaps the baby is fussing or waking because they have to eliminate!

    • megganmamma January 27, 2013 at 9:50 am - Reply

      I’m not sure that we fit into the category of die-hard ECers just yet. I miss heaps of those wees during the day, giving him nappy free time while I’m cooking, cleaning, etc, etc. In fact, even if I’m not distracted doing something else I often miss those day-time wees. The ones I catch are the ones he does as soon as he wakes after a day-time nap and sometimes after a feed. It’s often too late for me to catch them when I realise he’s about to do a wee – he goes quiet, still, looks down … and then, sometimes I catch half of it if the potty’s nearby.

  2. katesurfs January 25, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    p.s. Goldie fits in those exact same undies, size 1, and they are NOT big on her! Did I forget to mention that I have a huge baby?

    • megganmamma January 27, 2013 at 9:56 am - Reply

      I love it! Healthy breastfed vegetarian babies!

  3. breathe16 January 27, 2013 at 7:09 am - Reply

    This was such an interesting post for me to read. We don’t do EC, but I’ve always been curious about it. I never thought about babies night-waking because of a full bladder. I mean, you’re right, it’s never, ever mentioned in any baby books or online sources. But it makes a lot of sense! Is there a specific book or online source that you used to help you decide to do EC or that has helped you make it work?

    • katesurfs January 27, 2013 at 7:24 am - Reply

      I decided to EC and only read some articles online and watched some youtube videos. It’s very much easier than one would think as long as you get the few basics and have a little persistence. My daughters (both) usually only woke first at night because they had to do pee. Then a little boobies for back to sleep. Hardly ever did they actually wake to ‘feed’.

      • megganmamma January 27, 2013 at 9:53 am - Reply

        I also watched some youtube videos. I found that being able to see someone doing it helped my confidence around it initially.

      • megganmamma January 27, 2013 at 10:03 am - Reply

        I’ve noticed with Joshi that he usually doesn’t have big feeds through the night, just a small drink, so he’s either waking for a wee and a small drink or he’s waking for a wee only but accepting a small drink seeing as it’s being offered. Does that make sense?

    • megganmamma January 27, 2013 at 10:01 am - Reply

      Kate, a friend of ours, told me about ECing, and that’s how I got into it. Initially, when I had questions I’d ask her, but I learnt most of what I do now just through trial and error. From what I understand, different approaches work with different kids – of course, as with anything. There’s no rule book, but the basic idea is that you look out for their signals that they need to go. Some of the signals include: being fussy on the boob when feeding, making a certain sound or movement or becoming still, etc. And then, the easy ones to catch happen after the baby wakes and often after feeding. Again, babies aren’t so different from adults … after we have a big drink we need to empty our bladder soon after, so do they.

  4. corina February 18, 2013 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Hi Megan,

    I feel like a see the world in a different way now. I can’t believe I went through 7 months without realising that Jessie wakes up because she needs to wee!

    Before this revelation when she woke up with a dry nappy and she wasn’t hungry I took the midwives advice and believed that she needed to learn to self sooth in order to fall back to sleep on her own. I was imagining a future with no sleep and I delayed responding to her hoping that she would learn to go back to sleep. I was at the library at get books on controlled crying and sleep routines.

    But after meeting you and reading your blog I tried EC and we caught 3 wees in the night (admittedly we caught them in an open nappy on the change table). Now that I understand what she needs I accept it. Everyone needs to pee!

    Now I just need to work out how to feed her while she pees and my life will be changed forever.

    Thanks for sharing your experience,

    C x

    • megganmamma February 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm - Reply

      Hi Corina,

      That’s wonderful .. that you caught 3 wees the first time you gave it a go!

      To breastfeed her while she pees you just need to buy a small potty and put her on it while feeding. You’ll need to work out what’s comfortable for you both. What works for us is that I sit on the side of our bed, facing outwards, placing Joshi on the potty which is on the toddler bed that’s pushed right up against our bed. Is that clear? The potty faces sideways, so that he and the potty are adjacent to me. Does that make sense? x

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