Too crunchy?

If you use the term “crunchy” to describe someone, you’re probably referring to a preference for a natural lifestyle, someone who, of course, must eat [homemade] granola, because that is what crunchy people eat.

However, shortly after we started cloth diapering, I developed my own theory for the origin of the term.  “Crunchy” is an apt description for our line-dried diapers.

We don’t have a dryer, so we’ve exclusively line-dried our laundry for the past few years.  Sometimes I notice that the clean, dry clothes are a bit stiff, but it’s not a big deal.  However, some of the diapers we use end up EXTREMELY stiff and rough, which IS a big deal for The Dude’s sensitive baby skin (and these would probably irritate most anyone’s skin, baby or no).

Fortunately, we have access to our downstairs neighbors’ dryer, so, although I don’t like the energy use (or the fact that the diapers will wear out more quickly — “lint” is mostly just fabric particles from your clothes), I’ve started using it to help soften up the cloth diapers.  When possible, I line dry the diapers most of the way, then toss them in the dryer for a softening fluff.

While this solves the crunchiness problem, the homemade, hand-me-down portion of our diaper collection still have rough edges, which are causing ongoing irritation issues for The Dude.  He’s almost outgrown many of those anyway, so I’m faced with buying more cloth diapers.

I’ll admit that I’ve been procrastinating — hoping, based on what I’ve read about people who’ve practiced Elimination Communication (EC) from an early age, that we’d be nearly diaper-free by now, but that is just not the case.  Not anywhere close, which, considering the time I’ve invested wasted sitting around with The Dude on the potty over the past several months, is pretty depressing.

My attempts to find used cloth diapers on Craigslist have proven fruitless thus far, so I may have to give in and purchase them new.

Psst, psst: EC at six months

UPDATE: Hello to all BERF readers!  Because of all the interest in EC, I’ve just added a new post that synthesizes what I’ve learned thus far.  Thanks for visiting Her Green Life. 

So, this post originally had a “five” in the title, but five has come and gone.  At this point, we’re actually closer to seven months than six, but who’s counting?

I’ve been sitting on this post, waiting to have a “Dude on the pot” photo to include, but I’m afraid no photo is quite appropriate.  Most potty opportunities in the past weeks ended with him making his body completely rigid and refusing to sit on the pot.  I finally started joking around with it, holding his rigid little body up over the pot, saying, “Light as a feather, stiff as a board,” except more than half the time, I caught myself saying, “Light as a board, stiff as a feather.”

Anyway, when he resists, we’re not forcing it, but our enthusiasm for offering the potty has definitely waned.  We still offer sometimes, but our number of catches is quite low.  Many of the books talk about “potty pauses,” but I assumed those were numbered in days, maybe a week or two, not weeks or months.  We shall see . . . .

**EC stands for Elimination CommunicationIf you’re new to the blog, you can read more about it in the “Psst, psst” series:

Psst, psst: EC at Four Months

Babies change so quickly in a month’s time, but I don’t think much has changed EC-wise.  At this point, the communication feels fairly one-sided, especially when it comes to pee: we give potty opportunities and cues and he [sometimes] responds.

Despite no diet change (still 100% breast milk), his poops are becoming more, um, interesting, providing extra incentive to get them in the potty rather than the diaper.  His poop cues are fairly distinctive: farting, grunting, fussing while feeding.  Unfortunately, these cues that sometimes mean, “I’m about to poop,” can alternately mean, “I have gas,” or, “I might poop sometime in the next 24 hours.”

In other news, I found a second potty on Craigslist for eight dollars — same brand as the blue pot, slightly different design.  The blue pot now stays at daycare during the week, and I offer potty opportunities when I go over to feed The Dude.  On the weekends, I just leave the pot in the car.  If I slide the passenger seat all the way forward, I can place the pot on the floor behind it, and I’ve caught a couple of pees when we were out and about.

I’ll close this update by sharing a couple of things we’ve discovered on our EC journey.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Sometimes The Dude needs a little help chilling out enough to pee.  For awhile, letting him suck on a pacifier helped accomplish this.  (It also gave me visions of him standing at a urinal in a public restroom when he’s twenty, casually pulling a pacifier out of his pocket before getting down to business.)
  • More recently, the hairdryer is our calming tool of choice.  We’d been using the dryer to calm him during diaper changes and make sure things stayed nice and dry down there.  Matthew discovered that it also helped while on the pot!
  • At daycare, in lieu of the hairdryer, I’ve sometimes resorted to running water in the sink.
  • If you’re not quite “diaper-free” (and we definitely are NOT),  something that’s easy-on and off, like a simple velcro cover with insert, makes potty opportunities more convenient.

Further reading
Diaper Free: FAQs and Facts — Good answers to common EC questions and concerns, written by a dad.
Elimination Communication — Tons of information in this two-year-and-counting chronicle of one family’s EC journey.  While I try to avoid doing too many comparisons, I find it helpful to see where “Itty Bitty” was at various ages and what lies ahead for us.  It also provides encouragement when I feel like just throwing in the diaper towel.

Psst, psst: EC at three months

I’m a bit overdue for this post — the “three months” part of the title is quickly becoming dated — time to write!  We’ve made a good bit of progress since my first Elimination Communication (EC) post.  While he’s still most definitely in diapers, Gabriel pees and poops on his potty regularly when we’re at home, and we’ve had some 24-48 hour stretches with only one or two wet diapers 🙂

I’m not amazing at reading his pee signals (if he’s giving them), so pee catches involve putting him on the potty at regular times: when he first wakes up, right after a meal, if he’s hanging out and it’s been awhile since a pee, etc.  Poop signals are easier to read, but I still hesitate to interrupt a good feeding to rush him onto the pot.

The biggest issues at present?  Diaper rash and the daycare dilemma.Continue reading “Psst, psst: EC at three months”

Psst, psst: The EC update

Startling statistic: 40 years ago, over 90% of babies were out of diapers by 18 months, and today, only 2% of babies are out of diapers by 2 years!  Whether cloth or disposable, that’s a lot more diaper-time for today’s little ones.

Reading about Elimination Communication (EC) midway through pregnancy activated my green radar — baby peeing and pooping in the toilet (or in a little potty or other receptacle) equals less dirty diapers to wash.  Less washing means less water and energy used — what wasn’t to love.

I read Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh, and it all seemed pretty straight forward.  And then I had a baby . . . .

Matthew actually caught a few pees in the hospital, but between my surgery recovery and Gabriel’s fussiness, we got off to a pretty slow start with EC.  I was pretty frustrated and discouraged, especially after the book made it sound so simple.  Gabriel met our attempted potty opportunities with cries, but no pee or poop.  We worried that his back was sore from the six UNNECESSARY lumbar punctures and that the potty position led to more pain.

The Dude is now 11 weeks old, and in the past few weeks, things seem to be clicking.  Most pee and poop still happens in a diaper, but we consistently catch 2-4 pees a day.  It is amazing how long he can stay dry, and he really does seem to know what is going on when we give him a potty opportunity.

"What's a guy have to do to get some privacy around here?"

When we’re home, we offer the potty when he wakes from a nap, and with almost every diaper change, using “psst, psst” to cue pees.  I can read his poop signals pretty clearly, but at this point, he usually poops DURING a feeding, and I really don’t want to interrupt his meal just to set him on the pot.  I do acknowledge the bowel movement by making the poop cue (we use a gentle grunt).

While we are far from diaper free, we are succeeding at Elimination Communication.  Each catch provides encouragement to continue the journey and see where it ends.