Monday, February 23, 2009

Elimination Communication

OK, so you would think I would learn by now never to make fun of something or say, "I would never do that..." God definitely has a sense of humor; and, pretty much everything I have "trash talked" I end up doing. For example, I used to say I would never go to a chiropractor (much less become one!), in high school nursing babies grossed me out, I thought I would also work and never stay home, and I could have never imagined giving birth without meds (much less at home!). There is much more I could add to the list, but you get the picture.

Well, I can vividly remember adjusting this six month old little girl in my office repeatedly for the same subluxation. As I was going through with the mom and trying to figure out what could be causing this, she asked me if it could be the way she was "potty-ing her". You should have seen my face: potty-ing her?! What?!? She is six months old, how do you potty her? What is potty-ing her?? After her explanation, and doing some research, I remember coming home and laughing to Jim Bob. "You won't believe what these crazy parents are doing! This is insane!" Little did I know I would eat my words one day.

Then, I went to a Holistic Moms Network Meeting a few months before I was pregnant w/ Harper (the meetings are held at my office). It was interesting to hear about this technique called "Elimination Communication", and I was very curious. So, I bought a book to research more called Diaper Free Baby by Christine Gross-Loh. I no longer would make fun of families doing EC because the research in the book and at the meeting made total sense! We decided we would try it when we had Harper.

As I shared our plans with my parents, my mother made fun of me, "Let me know how that goes!" EC is not about "potty training" an infant. There is no training involved, but rather it is all about communication. Something so rare here in our disconnected society is actually the norm in other societies. And, I loved in the book the part where she talks about the fact that we consider our dogs more intelligent than our children. After all, why is it that a puppy should be able to use the bathroom in the proper place at only a few months old, but we let our children go in their diapers until well past the age of 2 years old? Doesn't it make sense that when your baby is hungry or sleepy you know and read their signs and signals? Of course you do; and, learning their signs for needing to go to the bathroom is just as simple. That is what we do with Harper, and when he signals that he needs to go, we take him to the bathroom. Up until 4 weeks old, because I was so overwhelmed as a new mom, I just watched him closely to learn his signals. And, I would change his diaper immediately when he went. Then, after 4 weeks, I started taking him to the bathroom. I am not upset if I miss and he goes in his diaper (the difference in EC versus potty training). And, I have no expectations. I am just trying to listen to my child's needs and not let him grow so attached to his diaper that he misses it one day when it's completely gone. The result? I will often go two weeks without changing a poopy diaper. On average, I only change about 3 wet (pee) diapers a day. Before doing EC, I was changing about 10-20 poopy diapers a day. He wakes up from his naps dry, and often will wake up from sleeping overnight dry too. Once they know there is another option rather than the diaper, they prefer it and will choose it when they can. After all, who would really- if given a choice- choose to go to the bathroom on themselves and sit in it for hours?! EC just makes sense. And, it is not anymore time consuming than changing a diaper would be. Not to mention, you will have to take the time to take your child to the bathroom eventually- whether you do it early on with EC or later when you potty train them. What about my doubting mom? Well, she now takes Harper to the bathroom too... As does JB and his parents. Everyone is in shock that it works! And, every time he goes for mom, she says, "Cha-ching!" EC has saved us so much $$! Many of my Facebook friends asked me to video him going to the bathroom. I am sure his dad would gladly- you know if you have seen all the crazy pics he posts (poor Harper)- but I thought that would be really mean.... Can you imagine someone showing him that when he is older: "Look what your mom put on the Internet!" However, even though I won't volunteer Harper's pics online, you can find out more info here and watch a great news clip video here. Feel free to ask me questions in the comment section. But, all I have to say now is we have tried it, and it works!!! Never say never!