Let us all congratulate Itty Bitty on her conquering the lofty toilet without a step stool! It is no longer a monumental task requiring climbing gear to get on the toilet. Okay, sure she has to be naked from the waste down most of the time so she can mount it, but that’s splitting hairs. She redresses herself, sometimes well and sometimes a little off kilter (a sock upside down, a shirt backwards, shoes on the wrong feet…). If she is in a hurry she asks for assistance, if she is really in a hurry she just uses the little potty. She hasdecided that closing the door is not worth the effort. Of course, she’s not so Itty Bitty … she’s quite tall and lanky.
The new toilet insert she likes very much and hasn’t complained about it hurting. In other news, she’s been nursing more and boy have her farts been foul as a portend to the messy, reeky, poops! Yikes. I don’t know how diapering parents can handle the daily chore of cleaning what comes out of an older toddler behind. Not an easy or enviable job. They’ve got it rough. Sticky stanky stuff. Even Itty Bitty is a little aghast. She prefers to poop on the toilet rather than in the potty because of the mess. Even the non messy poops don’t look like they’d be much fun smashed into a rear end.
Any signs of regression you ask? Nope. Not even a glimmer. There has been absolutely no night issues, and I would have to read this blog to even pinpoint the last night miss other than the December Holiday bizarre one or the one daddy man cause a few months before that. She’s been night continent over a year. I have been making sure that I involve her in pottying her brother by helping me in a small way like getting me a wipe, fresh pefold, or make the cueing sound. I still talk to her about what I am doing. She has said a few times, “Good job baby!” and clapped for him, particularly if I take him to wee on the toilet. I also make it a point to apologize when I’ve been in a temper and raised my voice when I shouldn’t have (people don’t apologize for mistakes with children enough), and I try to make time for use one-on-one every day. I want to reward her patience with following through. I also have not stopped being a part of her pottying, I am still there to assist and remind (without hovering or being overbearing), but always let her drive. We potty before we leave the house, before we leave a destination if it has been a long time, or I simply ask and accept the no if it is given. It can be really hard not to forget about the little person who needs you, when you have a very needy baby demanding your every moment. I look at Itty Bitty and I am so proud and thankful for her nature. She maybe a little destructo when tired, quicker to shed tears these days, and contrary at times, but she is equally nurturing, helpful, and loving. This big change can’t be easy for her, but she has adapted beautifully thus far.
Itty Bitty had two mishaps this month. One she was standing AT the bathroom door in a puddle of pee and she was so upset she was crying for me. I had reminded her to go to the bathroom a half an hour earlier but she either forgot or miscalculated the amount of time needed to take care of both insert and pants. I patted her sweaty head, kissed her tears, as I lifted her on the toilet to finish her business. I don’t really count this as a miss, more of a timing error. You decide! The other mishap was tonight and totally my fault. I was taking a much deserved, long shower and I had the door closed tight. Itty Bitty pounded on the door and I misjudged the intent (we have only one bathroom). When I opened the door the poor thing was standing with butt out and thighs clenched desperately holding in a Messy Poo. Her face was a bit distressed and she was able to say, “I need to poo poo.” quite calmly. I helped her out and there was a very small skid mark on her underwear, hardly noteworthy especially considering what she had been keeping at bay. She has incredible control and a strong desire to be clean. That’s my girl!
Speaking of underwear. Itty Bitty is now tall enough to help herself to the underwear on the shelf, in the linen closet next to the bathroom where I store them. Yes, she can handle most door knobs quite well. So well now in fact, that we’ve had to have a little chat about not opening doors without Mommy or Daddy present. Particularly the doors to outside and the cellar. For the most part she’s been amiable.
For those with baby girls and you have gotten outfits with elastic waist skirts that are highly impractical for crawlers, save them. Your slender 2 year old (or younger walker) without diaper bulk can wear them. (picture soon)
Visit Brother Blog: Pottytunities for Two
Quotes of the Month:
“That’s great! Let’s get going.”
Please let me help you, I’ll go with you.
I ride back for you. (asking for a piggy back. I think she’s said that for three months now though)
See-whoa-whoa with ahmend mewk (cereal with almond milk)
It seems fitting that Itty Bitty turns 2 1/2 upon the equinox. Though she is a toddler I still see the baby in her when she cries or has a meltdown and when her Social Butterfly becomes Shy Violet and she peeks out from between my legs.
I know, however, that the million dollar question this month is: “So, has she potty regressed!?”
The answer is emphatically no.
She does want to nurse a lot more, and unfortunately I have to delay her requests a lot during the newborn crazy time, but I do try my utmost to get our cuddle sessions in 1-3 times a day. Other than more pleas for my attention that is obviously no longer undivided, and a more sensitive crying switch, nothing has changed as far as her sleep patterns or potty habits.
I doubt it will ever occur to her to poop on the floor or in her pants on purpose because pottying has been all her own responsibility for over a year and before that it was a mutual team effort and she has no memory of wearing diapers. She watches and sees how uncomfortable the baby gets when he wets himself and how I am teaching him to go on cue and trying to catch. She also helps to get the diapers and cloth wipes. There have been no accidents despite increases in foul tempers in the house! Skid marks from amateur attempts at wiping do not count as accidents. All that fresh mommy milk makes the poop messy, and it sure does make toddlers grow like weeds. Holy cow, the girl has grown a lot this month in length, weight and thigh circumference!
Notable Phrases of the Month
Wait a second.
Hey, take it easy.
It’s okay baby, I know. (referring to her new brother, mimicing me)
Me hold him?
Baby so cute!
Eww, baby frew up! (lots of baby spit up around here!)
No wait, I go with you.
Put baby down.
Shhh. I’m busy.
I’m digging in the sandbox.
I berry sleep. Take nap.
We go bouncy house tomorrow?
She can get fully dressed now except for particularly stubborn clothes and one shoe. She requests songs I sing to her like Itsy Bitsy spider, Twinkle Twinkle, 5 Little Ducks, 5 Monkeys, and You are My Sunshine. She also mimics hand motions and body dance moves more easily and spontaneously. For about 2 months now she had done the Minnie Mouse “Posey Dance’ consisting of jump hops and spins. Door knobs are no longer a challenge.
Visit Brother Blog: Pottytunities for Two
I look at pictures from 9 months ago and am astounded at how much she has changed. She rapidly losing the baby face.
Itty Bitty’s sibling was born at home after 2 hours 45 minutes of mild labor and 15 minutes hard labor and 4 pushes. Out like a bullet and the midwife almost didn’t make it arriving in time to witness crowning.
19 3/4 inches long
14 inch head
Itty Bitty loves her new brother and showers kisses, pats, and concern over him.
Advanced maternal age…puh!
Not much news to report this month except that “Operation Big Sister” will soon be implemented whenever sibling number two decides to make his or her appearance any day now. Then we will move on to a new blog Pottytunities for Two for those adventures. This blog will still chug along for a bit with notables, but Sibling will be a whole new adventure with a Mommy who has experience and a Sister who has been through it and so deserves a blog of their own.
We’ve purchased a new $9 seat cushioned seat reducer for the big toilet. I still love the Potette insert and it will be used again, but Itty Bitty is now around 27 pounds and 35 inches tall with long lean thighs and has recently complained about the Potette hurting. Indeed, it has been leaving some angry red marks on her legs. How is it that my baby has outgrown it!? When did that happen!?
My requirement for an insert were practical. It had to be cheap (budget constrictions), padded, easy for a 2 year old to use herself, doesn’t shift, could be hung up by the toilet, and was stable. Our local YMCA just so happened to have one that Itty Bitty really likes to use and she has no trouble putting it on the toilet and getting it to fit properly without shifting. It’s unobtrusive, doesn’t have any fancy gadgetry, has a nice big hook for easy hanging, modest pee guard, and a protrusion on the bottom so that it sits firm in place.
I’ve thought about removing the little potty completely now that she uses the big toilet most of the time, but I’ve noticed that she has learned not to mess with the intricacies of the Big Toilet Ballet (open lid, install insert, place stool, pull down clothing, then sit) if she has waited way too long and doesn’t have but a second to spare.
So you are still having accidents, you ask? Yes, of course. Random ones maybe 4 or 5 times this month due to waiting too long. Itty Bitty had one just before this entry. I’d been busy in the cellar and Daddy Man said she was busy looking for me and went upstairs to see if I was there. Unfortunately, she found that when she got to the top of the stairs she had to go! We have no bathroom up there (our house is a Cape style) and the door to the bedroom was closed so she couldn’t use the potty there. What can I say? I’ve dampened my underwear about the same amount of times (if not more) this month by misjudging the capacity of my flattened bladder and the holding power of my sphincter with a baby’s added weight pushing on it constantly. Growth change is not an easy thing to manage when you’ve gotten used to how things were functioning before! It is always important not to see these things as setbacks, but as positive indicators of development. We must trust the experience and not worry over it. I assure everyone that I am still Potty Learned despite my own mishaps
Daddy Man and I show normal tsk tsking, say we understand what happened and remind her not to wait so long. When we now say, “Hey, it’s been a while. Go potty please.” By a while we mean 4 hours at least! We know her holding power and we don’t annoy her with asking constantly. Instead we follow our parental Spidey Sense. She’ll go 98% of the time without fussing because truly she did need to go quite a lot upon self-reflection. That tells me that she trusts us and that we aren’t being irritating to her by hovering.
We had a trip the ER on SuperBowl Sunday. We went to play at the Kid’s Gym at the local YMCA and Itty Bitty’s elbow got dislocated by pulling. It’s quite common and called “Nursemaid’s Elbow.” Itty Bitty and I were playing when it happened. She’s a tough cookie and unless she has really banged her head hard to cause the tweeting bird phenomenon or smashes a finger or something equally painful, she’s not a complainer or crier. She just dusts herself off and continues to play. And even when she has really gotten hurt, 1-3 minutes later she’s back doing whatever it was she was doing after a hug, kiss, cuddle, and drying of the tears. But the dislocation was quite painful and she kept saying “Big Owie!”, her sobs could not be soothed, and she wouldn’t use that arm. She was a good sport and let us take off her shirt to see even though it hurt. We thought it was her shoulder at first and after 4-5 minutes we knew it warranted a trip. It is probably the fastest trip anyone will ever have at the ER. They triage immediately (they saw us withing 15-20 minutes) because the fix for this painful affliction is a literal 5 second lower arm twist. Apparently the sooner it is done the faster the recovery — 10 minutes in our case since it happened within 30 minutes. The doctor even showed us how to fix it ourselves. She was fine like it never happened and only noted for a few days that she had hurt her elbow and it was fixed.
It’s okay; don’t worry, I kiss/fix it.
Crescendo!! Diminuendo. (using a cat teaser as a baton)
No, I’m insert her name. (said when we call her by a term of endearment)
Stay there, I’ll get it!
Wait for me, I’m slow!
She has counted a time or three up to 15 without an error, though, it is more usually up to 5 consistently and she gets better all the time. She can also recognize letters A, X, S, H, O, P as well as her favorite W more easily and can sing a good portion of the alphabet clearly. Also, she can put together a 12 piece Mickey Puzzle with only a few key prompts like “where does the sun go?”
She can now identify herself, Daddy Man, and I by first name correctly and can answer the question, “How old are you?” She can also climb into the wood high chair by herself like a rock climber and has decided to sit in it again rather that on a regular chair as she had been insisting for the past year.
Question: I don’t know what is up with my two-year old, he only occasionally tells us when he needs to go, and usually always says “no!!” when we ask if he needs to, or offer to take him. Most recently he’s been waiting till it’s already too late and asking us to change his pants. He is very verbal and smart, I don’t see why he can’t just tell us sooner. We’ve been ECing since 3.5 wks, and yes there have been ups and downs but this is getting discouraging. It’s cold here and he can’t undress himself. – K.J.
Answer: Most people would say this is the “terrible twos”, I say it is a milestone called “autonomy” aka. “I do it myself.” It is important to set up toddlers to be able to do things for themselves. A two year old should be able to pull down a simple pair of training pants or elastic trousers/pants even if they can’t pull them up yet. If a young toddler has never been encouraged or given the chance to pull down their own pants to potty, they don’t know how else to exert autonomy when they no longer want your help to do everything, except to pee in their pants and then ask for assistance.
It’s not that the toddler can’t ask sooner, it is that it is not what they are trying to ask. The request is for more independence and less hovering. Looking from their perspective, even though they soil themselves and it is very unpleasant, it is more important to them that they are initiating the how and the when. In a diapering culture a toddler can’t put on their own diaper and may be put into clothing styles preventing diaper removal and thus any elimination autonomy. What do they do instead? They put up a big fight for every diaper change or they wait until the diaper is off to let loose. This habit of doing things “to” a toddler rather than “with” them is not what you want especially with an EC’d baby. It causes unnecessary power struggles.
Don’t worry about the cold. Unless you are living outdoors in the middle of a snowy winter, even a chilly indoor temperature of 55 degrees F isn’t going to do a toddler harm. Most toddlers are streakers (including my own) and are unaffected or simply convey that they are cold. Even if you are concerned about a chill keeping the core and extremities warm is fine, don’t concern yourself with the buttocks (bare bottom at times has its merits too even in the winter). Long socks and shirt with training pants should be fine. Or easy elastic pants with no underwear is more than sufficient. Avoid unfriendly sets like overalls, onesies, zippers, snaps, and double layers of underwear and pants. Show your potty learner how to take off the trainers or single layer easy pants. He or she may need help putting them on but at two is more than old enough to be able to pull a simple pair down. Set them up to take over for themselves. It is perfectly acceptable for a toddler to go into the bathroom with pants and come out without them. In time they will learn valuable lessons such as they should be at the potty before pulling down their pants to the ankles and walking to it. These stages are adorable and not something to be missed. It is endearing when they go in dressed and come out proudly half (or all)-naked. Then one day they come out with their pants pulled up literally half-assed. Soon they get the hang of both underwear with pants and rarely need help.
If the toddler is brand new at this skill because they’ve never done it at all, you can certainly aide a toddler who is having particular difficulty pulling their pants down by doing it part way for them after they’ve had a go at it, and then instructing them to pull them up most of the way. If they’ve never done this before they’ll find it exciting. Listen to their requests for help, but don’t do it all — do just enough. Listen when they say “I do it myself” either with words, sounds, or body language. Give them words and ways to ask for help and show them that you trust them.
It’s amazing how fast they become proficient when the opportunities are presented.
If you have a younger baby, perhaps one that has just learned to stand strong give THEM the opportunity to pull at their trainers. Don’t forget to talk to them about what you are doing, and encourage them to pull up their trainers (easier for beginner standers), and then encourage pulling down. Even if all they manage to do is to yank and not make much progress, the point is that they are given the means to try in stages. Don’t wait until you think a child is capable because that inevitably means that you will do too much for too long because you’ve underestimated them. Let them show you their abilities by offering the chance. For example, Itty Bitty just this week has discovered that she can put on her socks on all by herself even though she has tried before and not succeeded. She has had the opportunity to do so since before she was two by my encouraging the pre-walker to remove her own socks, my talking her through what I was doing as I put them on, encouraging her to pull up on the tops to “fix” them, having her help take off Mommy and Daddy’s socks and “help” put them on, and finally purchasing one size larger than her size to make it easier. It isn’t something we did out of the blue, but worked on gradually as a matter of daily routine and she gradually did more and more as she practiced and developed at her own pace (See Blog Entries Month 16 to Month 25).
Tots are very capable. Let them surprise and awe. Enjoy!
What are some of the things you do everyday to encourage autonomy?
Happy New Year! And here begins the first step towards leaving toddler-hood and making the journey to childhood. It is not that Itty Bitty hasn’t been eager to do things on her own in the past, and it isn’t that Daddy Man and I haven’t encouraged it. We obviously have if she has learned that phrase! We often ask “Can you do it yourself?” or encourage, “You can do it.” Somehow though, this month it feels different.
Itty Bitty has been closing the door to do her business for some time now, but at night she always asks for the light to be turned on. A week into the New Year as my pregnant self was sitting on the couch I asked her, “Go get your stool. Can you reach the light?” Right after I said it a little voice said, “What have you started?” I could see the light go on in her eyes and saw her trot off and return to do just as I inquired. She has to stretch and get on her big toes, but she reached that light all by herself, moved the stool away from the door, closed it, pottied, emptied the potty, asked for help to wash her hands, and insisted on closing the light all by herself. The next day, she realized she could reach the tap and began to stop asking for handwashing help. I was both exceedingly proud and very melancholy. I love it when she learns new things and struts proudly when she accomplishes her goals. However, her insistence on getting in her car seat by herself, clipping the chest clip, and getting out without help can be irritating when it is cold out and a blast of air freezes my nose hairs — but I try to deal with the extra few minutes because it makes her so happy. I enjoy it when someone comments at her precocious climbing, her open friendliness, her dexterity with utensils, the way she says please and thank you, and shows concern for someone’s hurt and sadness–I admit my chest puffs out a bit. Yet, as she asks me for help less and less for these insignificant, little things I’ve done for her for two years, it does crack my heart just a little bit. She’s will be a toddler for quite a while, is still my baby girl, and I know I have not wished away her babyhood even when things got frustrating. But month 28 is just bittersweet; even moreso than her first birthday that had me teary eyed and her second birthday that left me in shock. She still comfort nurses only 2-3 times a day and is beginning to let the final night nurse go — mostly because I’ve been limiting the length due to some lingering discomfort (some days better than others and it gets better each week). I could stop, sure, but I really think tandem nursing will help the new sibling transition and I can see that she wants to continue. She asks first thing in the morning and afternoon, and I offer if I see she is beginning to descend into her alter ego “Destructo Girl” because the “mah-mees” help her to calm down for the last remaining late day nap .
Enough of dwelling on that, I think. It’s funny, though, how I don’t feel that way at all when she picks up her toys by herself!
Potty independence is steady. Last month there were some errant, isolated wee accidents and I am happy to report that they have not shown themselves again. I do not remind her to go 99% of the time, but since those weird accidents if the little voice in my head says, “Psst Psst,” I will immediately say, “Hey, it’s been a while. Why don’t you go potty.” She will either say “No,” right away or pause while the potty light-bulb goes off and toddler trots her way to the bathroom. These incidences are quite normal bumps in the overall life of toddler-hood and an ECer can look back to laugh and reflect.
We had three potty emptying fiascos, which means the carpets have been washed a few times. One time she forgot to lift the toilet seat and hadn’t realized how far the pee spilled and she puddled splashed through it. At first I thought she had spilled water until I saw the toilet. I put on my cross face (What? Who doesn’t get displeased over pee on the floor? It’s normal to be a bit miffed–it’s not anger but displeasure. I don’t want to send a message that it is okay when it isn’t), explained that she had to pay attention and lift the lid and the seat, and we cleaned up the mess together. The benefit was that the next time she made a mess she was more aware, she was displeased with the mess, and cleaned it up by herself without me saying a word (I supervised, of course, but it was a small splash and she did a good job on her own). Right now I’m trying to encourage her to ask for poop emptying assistance since they’ve been very messy lately due to the vast amount of Clementines (little oranges) we’ve been eating. I showed her how to peel them herself and I’ve created a monster! It is not all bad, I’ve got no late pregnancy constipation complaints any more (I forgot that excess vitamin C cleans the plumbing) and Itty Bitty gets to have an extra banana if she wants it. She tries to clean her own bottom, but when she realizes she’s sill…uh…contaminated…she will ask, “I pooped, help my butt.” Once in a while her pants get contaminated too and she will remove them immediately then announce, “My pants messy!”
Lately, she’s been wanting to poop on the big toilet to reduce the mess (I think she likes to empty the potty, but doesn’t like the mess when there is a poop because she has to ask for help), so she’s taken to using the larger stool we have to use the big toilet. She’s still working out how to use it efficiently because it is quite tall and she doesn’t need that much of a boost for the toilet.
Oh, we had one really bizarre night wee incident just before new year after our exhausting 7 day holiday rounds. We spent two days with Daddy Man’s family, 1 day at home to sleep in our own bed because we love our bed, 2 days with my family, 1 day at home for bed recovery, and 1 more day with Daddy Man’s family again (his brother was here for the holidays). We were understandably exhausted. I don’t remember exactly what day it was, may be the 28th or 29th of December. Itty Bitty and I went to bed — she was naked and I was in flannel pajamas. I woke up the next morning with one side of me wet and cold. I recall her sleeping on top of me like a lemur but I have no recollection of when it happened only that it wasn’t recent or else it would have still been warm. We were both so tired we slept through the whole thing–or more likely stirred to vague wakefulness and then fell back to sleep! Luckily, it didn’t seem to be one of her epic pees and the bed only had a small patch of wet since it was mostly on me. She was nude so she was quite dry. Other than Daddy Man’s mistake a couple of months ago of not taking Itty Bitty to pee before bed, we haven’t had a night peeing incident like that since before she was walking. The next time we get extra tired, I’ll be sure to take some extra precautions just in case.
My MIL purchased a family membership to the local YMCA for all of us. It was the most thoughtful and useful gift we’ve received in a long time. I was ecstatic. The playgroup we normally attend is no longer going to be held at the location and its future is uncertain, so I was in despair with what to do. It’s been a financial crunch and likely will continue to be until next fall and I just couldn’t afford the additional expense of joining anywhere that wasn’t free. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. It is closer and Itty Bitty can blow off steam, exercise her climbing skills, and practice jumping in the Kid’s Gym safely during this winter and I can sit quietly and let her free roam without having to get up for spotting duties. We’ve already set up a routine of taking off coats and shoes then heading to the bathroom first thing. They have a toilet insert she likes to put on herself and a big stool just like ours that she can use to get on the toilet herself (she hasn’t worked out yet that it is better to pull down her pants after she gets up on the stool!). After a round of identifying the animal stickers on the wall, she then uses the stool to wash her hands. She’ll flush the toilet, but just like the love-hate relationship we all have with a Jack-in-the-Box, she’s intimidated by the loud, powerful woosh! Can’t help herself but to want to flush but she knows what happens after.
Yesterday was Daddy Man’s 39th birthday. He worked during the day and I worked that evening so we had to postpone our celebration and he went to his Mom’s house for dinner and cake. Unfortunately, he brought home Itty Bitty who not only had cake (special occasion, not an issue) but also had milk. I don’t give Itty Bitty a lot of dairy because…like me…if we ingest too much it causes some gastrointestinal issues. I give her yogurt and a little cheese once in a while to test tolerance levels, occasionally she gets a wee bit of ice cream for a special occasion — but I know how much to give and when not to give it, and I know that milk is a whole different thing. For example, I can eat certain yogurts fine, organic raw or fermented cheese few issues, commercial grade cheese gives me trouble once I reach a known threshold, and milk is just generally bad. I don’t drink it. I cook with it for the holidays but that is about it. Daddy Man knows I don’t give her milk and I limit her cheese intake. Needless to say Itty Bitty had a rough night of wakefulness and restlessness, a very unusual need to use the toilet in the middle of the night, and some nasty pretty-close-to-diarrhea this morning. Mommy is always the weird, over worried food dictator until something like this happens and then I get to say, “I told you so.” As soon as he said that, “She had some milk and liked it.” I knew it was going to be bad. Guess who lost the most sleep? When are people going to learn that unless they are the ones going to be up all night and deal with the fallout, they need to respect the food boundaries because they do NOT have the knowledge that the primary caregiver has gathered over months of giving food and watching the output. When Mommy Bear says no juice, no sugar, no dairy. She means it dagnabbit!
MummyInProvence: Taking EC to the Next Level
Joyful Abode: Elimination Communication – Our Start (EC archives here)
Ekwetzel: Adventures in Baby Poop
Whimsical Whimsies: Potty Parties! Babies on Potties? What?!
The Other Baby Book: Diaper Free in the Middle East
Mothering: Mothering, Mindfulness, and Baby’s Bottom
Holiday Tasmanian Tantrum
Honestly, this was totally my fault. I do not have any idea why I had it in my head that I needed to make my over-tired two year old take off her clothes and put on pajamas when we were staying at my family’s house. It set off a cascade of crying, tears, wails, and hysterics that took a good 30 minutes to subside to inconsolable sobs. What on earth was I thinking? That button did not need pushing. There is no harm in sleeping in clothes she’s going to outgrow anyway, and she often sleeps naked at home. Sorry, Itty Bitty, sometimes parents are irrational
asses– button pushers.
So, it was the morning after Christmas and it has been quite unseasonable warm in the 50 degree range. Itty Bitty was sitting at a table out on the sun porch quite happily watching the sun stream through the glass door to the backyard eating her breakfast by herself. I could see her quite clearly from the kitchen as I was preparing my breakfast. Daddy Man had just left to go get his caffeine fix and we had both been out there and it was quite comfortable. Perhaps slightly cooler than I’d prefer, but absolutely the temperature Daddy Man and Itty Bitty thrive in being the hotboxes they are. She was even barefoot. I had no issues and everyone was happy. My mom comes down the stairs and squeals panic, “Why is she out there!” and I am thinking she’s gotten into something or doing something she shouldn’t even though I had looked at her 5 seconds prior. So I say startled, “Why what happened?” and the response is, “It’s cold out there!” I heave a heavy internal sigh, “We were just out there, she’s fine. She’d tell me if she were cold. Even I would be okay out there and you know I don’t like to be cold.” Yikes, it’s not like she was sitting in a snow bank or something. There was blazing sun and carpet on the floor for goodness sakes.
Grapes of Worry
We’ve done Baby Led Weaning from the very beginning so Itty Bitty is quite the master of feeding herself. She she can handle whole grapes and knows the one non-negotiable rule — sit down to eat grapes. My mom and others were more than a little apoplectic that I gave her whole grapes. I admit I got a tiny bit of pleasure out of it. I’m human.
“She hardly ate anything,” says my mom after Itty Bitty had indicated that she was done with Christmas Dinner.
“Um, she had a banana and a full size bowl of oatmeal this morning with blueberries and raisins. She had a dinner roll for a snack and more blueberries. She ate half of the potatoes in her plate (there had been a lot) and two chicken wings. “ She chose not eat the five string beans and tablespoon of sweet potatoes I put there for her to try if she wanted (Babyled Weaning). Enough said!
If you ever think you can leave your child with family and not worry, get that idea right out of your head. My brother and cousin’s husband slipped Itty Bitty two cheese curls (they know I don’t give her that crap…she’s two!) and my aunt slips her TWO frosted sugar cookies (luckily the second one only got half eaten). “But, it’s not that much sugar.” Really!? Sugar cookies don’t have that much sugar? Oh, I was livid. Not only because everyone knows they shouldn’t do that behind my back, but they didn’t even ask if she could or if she already had been given treats. In fact, I had shared a banana creme pie with her two hours earlier (mostly gave her the real bananas that were in it but still it was a dessert with sugar) and let her have three small peanut butter cookies just 20 minutes before the incident because they had the least sugar of all the cookies available and were small enough that three was the equivalent of one fair sized cookie. I do restrict treats like that for obvious reasons, but I also am trying to teach Itty Bitty portion control and how to enjoy within reason. We go to bed late because I work evenings so add sugar on top of that and you have a tot up until two in the morning and all of us a mess the next day. Grrrrr.
Phrases of the Month:
It’s a puffer fish! (said about a new Christmas toy, didn’t know she knew that particular animal)
It’s a snake/cloud/giraffe/rainbow/fence (said as she “reads” a number of board books)
Pizza guy! (when the doorbell rings. Football season *sigh*)
You hungry? I cook food. (Then brings a toy bowl full of various toy “food” and announces what the meal or drink is.)
Helpa you Helpa you! (means: help me!)
I make a tunno. (I’m making a tunnel)
She says a whole lot more than I’ve noted here, and I find that I’ve become an Itty Bitty to English Dictionary!
Itty Bitty watches with rapt fascination as a baby in playgroup sometimes gets their diaper changed. I don’t think she understands exactly what it is for. I hope that when Baby2 arrives that I remember that and not forget myself that my philosophy is that “diapers are miss management, not portable toilets”. I hope Itty Bitty reminds me every day to make ECing the new baby a matter of daily routine by telling me, “You maydamess,” and “here’s the potty, Mommy”, “Baby go potty, “ and “Ewww, yucky! I help you!” I hope the phrases aren’t “No baby!” and “My mommy!” “No, daddy no baby!”. Got my fingers crossed!
Point to Ponder: If you were suddenly rendered unable to speak anything except one word, would you prefer your one utterance to be yes or no?
Toddlers can teach us a lot about babies through their three top favorite phrases, “No!” , “I help you,” and “I can do it myself!” When you can’t speak the language and the people around you seem totally, inexplicably inept at reading refined body language, those phrases give you power. The first allows you to protest invasions of your property and space, the second shows you are willing to participate and learn, and the last allows you to express that you can manage and show what you have learned. It stands to reason that pre-verbal babies are trying to convey similar desires once their basic needs are met and they begin to form preferences.
Adults get so frustrated with toddlers because they forget so easily that they can do and understand more than their vocabulary allows, and their abilities are often underestimated.
I think that being in a diapering culture gives the wrong impression that an Elimination Communication potty refusal means, “I want to pee myself” and the tendency is to give up after a few days. I’ve discussed before that I don’t believe in potty pauses. I am convinced that a potty refusal is actually a request. They are trying to say a lot and it is only that the refusing party does not have the ability yet to explain in detail exactly what that is. They don’t really want to soil the nest, though that is what is assumed. Even the so-called regression ECers report seeing, in my observation, is usually a request for something (most likely attention).
Whenever my in arms and pre-verbal walking DD displayed a refusal, I took it as a request for more freedom. What other reasonable explanation is there, other than pain or discomfort, for refusing to pee or poop if you have to? I had put away diapers and gave myself no choice but to proceed as if they did not exist. This meant that I needed to think outside of the…uh…diaper. Changing a pair of training pants and/or pants was no more time consuming and did not generate more laundry, so cloth diapers had no advantage over training pants.
I asked myself:
- Am I offering too often (bladders and bowels get bigger and stronger too)?
- Should I ask rather than tell and give her a chance to refuse (and I need to believe it)?
- Does she want to use the toilet rather than the potty (in my house only pre-solids, in arms babies use the sink)?
- Am I helping too much and she wants to to do more for herself (how can she learn to mount the potty if I keep plopping her on it without giving her a chance…)?
When I gave her the reigns more and more I expected some mishaps that needed guidance and I wanted to set her up for success. When she began to pee in the wrong place I cued, “WAIT!” and rushed her to the bathroom and asked her to finish even if it seemed like she was empty. A puddle anywhere but the bathroom toilet or potty was approached with normal displeasure and disapproval and I always had her help make it right–but I didn’t give over praise since it was expected behavior. She needed the freedom to test her bladder limits and indepedent skills with reasonable boundaries. At the same time, I wanted to protect my house and I took precautions like putting a puddle pad on the couch if she wanted to sit there, removing the throw rug on our hardwood floors, putting her in training pants if I couldn’t be attentive enough to allow some leeway (while I was cooking, for example, and it had been a while since the last deployment), and reducing her wandering area to a manageable space if she was bare bottomed.
It was very important to me that I not accidentally teach my dd that the floor is a potty place or that peeing your self was an okay option by having no reaction or a neutral one. It was also important to me that I wean myself from the diaper crutch before she developed any significant memory of soiling herself that way. I also did not want to encourage a potty place that I didn’t want to have as a common option later. The bathtub and sink are not potty places (the sink only for an exclusively breastfed baby in arms) and outside is not a toilet except in very specific circumstances (camping or remote location). And to ensure that every room in the house didn’t become a potty place, the bathroom was always encouraged to be the preferred potty place, and potty in the living room was slowly and deliberately transitioned out. It is always surprising to see what they can do by themselves when they are given the chance to try.
At 2 years 3 months Itty Bitty can say to me, “No, mommy, I do it myself!” and she can say, “Help, me mommy!” for anything she wants. Sure, she can’t put on her socks all by herself yet, but she wants to try and when she obviously needs help I put them on in a way that allows her to finish the job in some way. The idea is to give her the opportunities to be part of the process. At 9 months all she could do was a non-verbal refusal and postive body language to communicate the same exact requests she can now verbalize.
My advice is to change your perspective on what a refusal really is. Not defiance, but a legitimate need.. Be patient, watch your own behavior, and don’t throw in the towel. It always falls into place faster than it may seem at first.
All this is my opinion, and I’m sure many ECers will disagree with me.
I learn a lot of lessons from Itty Bitty Tantrums. I always come out the other ending wondering what I did or didn’t notice that set it off. I am sure I could bend her to my will, for example, when she refuses to sit in her car seat and we can both spend a miserable ride home. What I discovered that if she was made part of the process, protests were minimal. Yes, it is not particularly fun for me to wait five extra minutes waiting for her to climb into her seat by herself, then I adjust the straps, and then let her clip the chest clip since the novelty for me wore off long ago. However, five minutes of my time is not a lot to ask and it makes her happy, and in the long run it will become an advantage. It isn’t always 100% successful, but a heck of a lot better!
Question (From the DiaperFreeBabyGroup):
I’m 19wks pregant and I’m trying to put together my registry. I don’t understand the difference between prefolds, non prefolds, Indian cloth, outer covers for cloth diapers, the snappies, and why. What I’ll definitely need for EC, what’s negotiable? Is there a list that explains why you chose that specific brand, how to use that specific piece of prefolded or nonprefolded cloth, what happens to it, how to change it, how to clean it, what do you use to clean it, how does it fit into your EC routine. Just need a bit of hand holding to steer me in the right direction for adding the proper things to the registry (on amazon, unless you have a better choice?) and why, how, how many, and when to use (what age or size or day/night.) — S.F.
The Short Answer:
For EC you need a baby, toilet, whatever old bowl or similar container you have on hand, the thousand receiving blankets, towels and baby wash cloths you have lying around the house. Everything else is negotiable.
The Not-So-Short Answer:
Wow. That is a lot of processing. I want you to remember that with EC diapers are optional and when they are used they are a tool. Anyone can EC or cloth diaper a baby without spending a dime if they so chose. Try not to get seduced by the cloth diaper culture which will suck you into using diapers rather than potty places and you will establish a diapering habit rather than using EC. You want to protect your clothes and floors with the least amount of fabric to do the job, you do not want a wearable toilet. This means that you probably want to avoid brands and styles of cloth diapers that “wick away moisture” from the skin — because you want the baby to feel wet (though if your baby has exceedingly sensitive skin, a stay-dry wick feature can reduce but not eliminate diaper rash). I suggest keeping it simple. It is all up to you, and if you so choose you could use disposable diapers, though I am not an advocate of the disposable. Even EC specific accessories are options not necessities (those details will have to wait for another blog entry, though.) The hardest part of EC is weaning yourself from diapers, because the more you use them the more you teach your baby to use them.
But as they say, knowledge is power, so read on:
We live in modern homes and are used to diapers, so to make things easier, in my not so humble opinion, the optional bare essentials for an ECer are:
- Old school flats, prefolds and covers for the early stages (for those with a bigger budget and/or desiring a little more
fancy an All-in-Two cloth diaper or hybrid system with some prefolds). Why do I suggest prefolds? You can lay a naked baby on a prefold, you can’t do that with a fancy diaper. For EC you’ll need a Snappi and/or Prefold Belt – Diaper Pins are not EC friendly.
- Cloth wipes of your choosing. Rough cut them, sew them, or buy them. Disposable wipes only seem more convenient, in reality, they are wasteful for a wee and far less effective for a poo mess.
- Worried about cold? Baby leg warmers or cheap regular socks in a size to fit to the baby’s thigh. Much easier to potty a baby without pants and miles cheaper than buying specific EC clothing.
- Graduation ASAP to training pants (thick waterproof ones only for night, thinner non-waterproof for days). I am totally against “bigger diapers, more stuffing” for a baby that leaks at night due to volume — that calls for more night potty breaks!
And of course, at least 2 plain, no frills potties or other appropriate bowl receptacles if you find that the toilet isn’t enough for your comfort and a travel insert for public toilets for toddlers.
Everything else is negotiable, but may have appeal for some: split crotch pants or chaps, sewn cloth wipes rather than wash cloths, diaper pail liner, prefold belt instead of a snappi, potty covers/cozies, and wool diaper covers.
Let’s break this diaper issue down, because there are other options out there besides my suggestion.
Cloth Diapers: What You Need to Know
Cloth Diapers 101: Old Fashioned
Let’s start with the old style non-waterproof cloth diapers that will need covers. If you are on a tight budget, need to hand wash or desire to hang up your diapers to dry rather than using a drier, these are your best bets (you can hang all diapers to dry, these just dry fastest). You first put on the diaper and then put a cover over it if you desire.
What you know as “receiving blankets” are actually flat diapers. These are simple squares or rectangles of cotton fabric that your great-great- grandmother and her great-great-great-great grandmother used, and you can use them the same way. They must be folded into a diaper shape. When folded different ways they can be placed on a baby of any size and body type and pinned or Snappied (which hold the fabric in place without pins). They are the cheapest ($0.75-$2.00), fastest drying, easiest to launder, most versatile for other non-diapering uses, and one-size fits all. They need a diaper cover if you desire waterproofing. Just about every one has a few of these on hand. As a general rule, if the item is a “receiving blanket” it is usually is colored or has a pattern and often made of flannel or terry, if the item is marketed as a “flat diaper” they come in either white (bleached) or natural (unbleached) and in two main types “Chinese Birdseye Cotton” or “Indian Birdseye Cotton” –Birsdeye is a cotton that is woven in a way that makes it durable and absorbent. They also come in “Gauze” which is a much looser weave, much lighter, cheaper, softer and very absorbent, but no where where near as durable. “Brand” is unimportant — what matters is the quality of cotton.
Every one has or should have this basic or equivalent (towels, similar fabrics, and re-purposed t-shirts work fine too). Even the most hard-core cloth diaper user with a collection of the most expensive cloth diapers on the market will have a few flats in their stash. I prefer large, unbleached Indian Flats. Mine are 27×27 — quite a huge and a hard to find size. If desired you can double up the diaper before folding, and they really do fit from birth to potty learned. The trick to keeping the newborn poop in is to get a rolled fit around the legs (tucking after it is on helps) and making sure there is a little poof of fabric at the butt — a poo pocket. The mistake disposables make is having a too-snug fit at the butt and the poo has nowhere to go but out.
In the old days they used rubber pants as waterproofing (or likely wool if they had it), today we have something much better if we don’t have or want wool. My covers of choice are Thirsties Duo-wraps because they are affordable, adjustable and have a feature I find incredibly important — leg gussets. But there are plenty of other brand options out there. Different brands offer various fit options, fabrics, and features. Covers can be aired out (wool, waterproofed cotton or fleece) or wiped and reused (nylon, PUL or TPU) while the fabric diaper part is the part that get’s laundered. Because they can be hand washed and hung dry easily it isn’t often necessary to throw them in the wash for a small poop soil.
Covers run from $5 to $15 each depending on the brand and style you get and especially if you get wool covers you can easily run into the $20-$50 range. The good news is that you can get away with only buying 3 covers (especially with wool), though 4-6 is a more comfortable number.
You can choose pull-on styles, Velcro/Aplix/HookNLoop, snaps, or drawstring ties. Wool, like modern PUL diaper covers, also comes in an array of colors, patterns, and even with applique. You can purchase modern styles with Aplix/snaps, long wool with legs or short wool like shorts, hand made crochet, felted, or up-cycled from old wool clothing. As for snappis or pins, if you tend to lose things you may want to buy quite a lot. If you are good with keeping track of things you can do perfectly fine with 3 snappis (one for your on-the-go bag, one to wear, and one spare in your diaper area) or a half dozen diaper pins if you like those instead.
When you don’t want to fuss with a lot of folding, pre-folds are the next step from flats (also cheap like flats $1.00-2.00). Essentially they are a flat diaper already folded and sewn into a smaller, layered rectangle. This means they take longer to dry tan flats, but washing isn’t a problem as long as you don’t over stuff your washer. They need some simple folding at the legs for fit–the folds can be complicated or a simple tri-fold. Snappi or pins are needed as well as a diaper cover if you desire waterproofing. Don’t forget the all-important simple leg tuck and poo pocket! They come in different sizes such as premie/xsmall, newborn, regular, x
-large/premium–it varies by seller. There are standard sizes and specialty sizes depending on your needs. There are two main types: Chinese and Indian. Indian prefolds are softer, and more absorbent but smaller and harder to find in stores (easy online). Chinese prefolds are more common, are larger, and less soft and absorbent by comparison–but are more durable. It’s not that the either are bad, it is just that the Indians are better if you want soft and absorbent, and Chinese are better if you need larger and extra durability. You can get them bleached (white) or unbleached (natural color) and you can even find dyed and fleece and bamboo and embellished ones if you like. The more special you want them to be, obviously the more expensive they become.
When you get either of them new they are flat and they must be washed in hot water and dried 5-7 times before theyare fluffed and ready to use. Indians take less preparation before use than Chinese. Prefolds tend to be bulkier than flats, and they will not give you the trim look of a disposable like fancier cloth diapers. However, they will be used short term with EC, are more versatile than fancy diapers, will last the longest, and take the most abuse. “Brand” is really irrelevant with old fashioned diapers. It depends on what is important to you and what the particular brand offers (colored thread for size identification like Green Mountain Diapers, odd size availability, dyes, no-dyes, organic, not organic, gently used, exceptional price deal, special fabric) though I have heard the most complaints by far from the Gerber brand prefolds — its just a cheap cotton and not made to be durable. Of course, someone always tries to re-invent the wheel. If you are interested in a “modern prefold” and are willing to spend $8 each, you can get yourself a Hemp Prefold with an “open design” for laundering.
I prefer natural/unbleached Indian Prefolds. I find these to be very economical, useful, and easy to launder without the need to fold them like a flat (though they need a little bit of easy folding at the legs for fit). The longer drying time compared to a flat isn’t a concern–they still dry quite fast. These are my mainstays and think every one doing EC should have at least a few of these because they, like flats, have more uses than just diapering. I am not really “into” the other styles that model the shape and style of disposables. I used premie and newborn sizes, though if you tend to have larger than average babies you may want to skip the premie size and go newborn and/or regular. Premie size is not useless they fit newborns quite well without extra bulk and make very nice burp cloths and general wipe cloths and even inserts for the fancier styles of diapers. I would not get more than two sizes, you are not likely to need a prefold larger than regular since you are ECing and outgrowing regular probably means you should switch to trainers anyway! Again, I personally use Thirsties Duowraps. Snap closures last longer than velcro tabs but are less adjustable. Covers can be reused several times before washing as long as they didn’t get pooped on.
Cloth Diapers 102: Old Fashioned with a Modern Twist
Some people just don’t want to fuss with folding even a little bit, but still want the economy of an Old Fashioned Diaper and a separate wipeable cover. Keep in mind that I’m a minimalist when it comes to diapers and I personally have no use for even the simple fancies–but you might. Always keep in mind that the more “features” you desire, the more expensive the products become. Apples are cheap; organic gourmet heirloom apple pie made by a world famous pastry chef is not.
One step above a prefold a contour diaper requires no folding at all. They are shaped like an hourglass to reduce bulk–the same reason why disposable diapers are shaped that way. Some have extended flaps that overlap at the waist. They are generally made simply but can be gathered at the legs to fit and a few brands may have some elastic at the leg for fit. They also Snappi or pin to hold in place without a cover, or a diaper cover will hold it into place without any fastening at all. They come in different colors and sizes; they are not one size fits all but are “one size fits quite a while”. This style has more “easy on” convenience, but much less adjustability than flats or prefolds, so one brand will fit a bit differently than another. Some brands have special features, like a sewn in soaker in the center to enhance absorption and reduce bulk. Check their size recommendations carefully. They are about $8-$12 each with colors, prints, special features, organics and particular fabrics higher cost than plain standard.
The cousin of the contour, the Fitted, is one beyond and moving towards the style of modern disposable diapers. You still need a cover for waterproofing, but they come with Aplix/Velcro/HookNLoop fasteners or snaps. You do not need pins or Snappis. They are usually gathered at the legs and/or waist with or without elastic. Some styles are one-size with snap adjusters and others come in the standard small, medium and large. Because there is more put into making them prices range from $10-$18 dollars depending on fabric type, prints, colors, other embellishments, and how much “convenience” is sewn into each. For example, some have an added visible soaker sewn for faster drying or there is an added soaker sewn between layers. Organic and special fabrics might go above $18.
Cloth Diapers 103: Modern Marvels that are Fancy Schmancy
I don’t find the fancy diapers necessary and I think they are the hardest to launder, longest to dry, the most fussy, and a waste of money. But many people love them because they are on/off exactly like a disposable and come in endless pretty colors and patterns.
The Grand-Poobah — or Grand Pooma — of the modern cloth diaper the All-in-One is. Known as also as the AIO, these are the most like the modern disposable diaper in style and shape and also the most expensive. Unlike disposables they come in an array of colors, patterns, and fabrics. You can get them in sizes or one size fits all (er…most). There is no separate diaper and cover. Everything is built in together — Aplix/Velcro/HookNLoop/snaps and waterproofing. The hardest dry styles are the ones that are the most disposable-like and all sewn together like a sandwich. The ones like Grovia that have layers sewn that separate partially in the wash (like flaps) dry faster and wash better that the sandwich style. Some handmade or factory made styles may have special features that may make them unique or appealing such as leg gussets, double stitching, or other embellishments. AIOs tend to have more synthetic fabrics but some are in all natural fibers.
The ones that do have synthetics rather than naturals tend to get a stink as the fibers age–so laundering instructions that come with the product are extremely important. Unlike a two part system, once the diaper is soiled the whole thing is washed. Brands fit each child differently depending on their body type. So while Brand A might be very popular with one group of people, another group will say they do not fit well and recommend Brands B thru Z. These can run on average from $18-50 each (and even more)– the fancier the product the higher the price.
I’m pretty sure that someone decided that AIO style didn’t have enough absorbency or versatility and were too hard to wash and dry. Thus, the pocket was born. Essentially it is the same diaper with all the same features that are available, except it is a two part system that has taken a step back closer to the cover and flat/prefold system. They have the outward style of the All-in-One but have a pocket in the top that needs stuffing with a special insert or prefold to give it absorbency. This feature makes them customizable for absorbancy and much easier to launder than an AIO since the two sections come apart, by design, in the wash (there are a few styles still floating out there that must be manually un-stuffed during the wash cycle–a feature not loved by even the die-hard pocket lover–rather than agitating out). The drawback is the stuffing itself (after washing the pocket must be re-stuffed) and the fact that the cover needs to be washed every time, unlike a separate cover that can be air dried and reused. Mother-ease brand has a side-stuffing style that makes them unique to most pockets and you can find some that stuff by a center slit, but that of course may have its own drawbacks. These types of diapers also come with some synthetic inserts or all natural fibers. They price $15-$25 (or even more) depending on fabrics and embellishments.
A lot of ideas for cloth diapers run into the realm of disposables to try and make cloth like disposables and disposables like cloth. The Hybrid is the strange child born of the “modern cloth diaper modeled on disposables” and the disposable itself. I guess, you could say that the Hybrid parented itself? It attempts to combine the less wasteful aspects of cloth with the throw-away convenience of disposables. It is actually a three part system: the cover, the liner that holds the pad, and the pad. The idea is that the cover is separate, reusable, and washable and the insert is a disposable, flushable, and biodegradable pad. Like disposables, the pads must be purchased, but like cloth the cover is not wasted. The main difference is that there is a separate liner that is meant to protect the cover from becoming soiled — liners do wear out and need replacing. Cloth diaper users decided to use prefolds or reusable fabric inserts in the covers rather than always buying the disposable pads–instead saving the pads for special circumstances. Cloth inserts made specifically for the hybrid are found in two types — sandwich style is sewn all together and the flap-style is sewn only enough to keep the layers in place but allow them to flap freely in the wash for thorough washing and quicker drying. Hybrid covers can sell for $10-$20 and the disposable pads on average about $0.50 each (or approximately $15 for 30). The liners eventually need replacing and cost about $6-8 a piece. Once the original companies realized that customers were using cloth inserts and buying them elsewhere they came out with their own lines and they can sell for $5-$8 each. The latest hybrids have done away with the original three part design in favor of a “back to basics” two part cover and insert design just like the old fashioned cover and prefold, but still allowing the user to choose the type of insert they prefer to use: disposable, cloth soaker insert, or prefold. Many hybrid systems can be used with other covers, especially ones that have “flaps” on either end of the cover as seen in the hybrid covers. One size systems are available also.
And then came the All-in-Two (aka. AI2) such as Best Bottoms which is an irony. The three part system of the hybrid seemed overkill and pocket stuffing is a prepping task that some folks would rather not deal with I presume, but they still wanted something easy to launder, adjustable absorbency, and a cover to reuse. Instead of stuffing a pocket, you lay-in or snap-in a pre-made insert or even a regular prefold into the cover. Most AI2 covers are wipe-able but a some brands are not. The snaps inside the cover allow the accompanying special insert to snap into place. The advantage over the pocket is that you can remove the insert and put in a fresh one and re-use the cover part as long as it is not soiled with poop. Inserts come in natural fibers or synthetics, or you can eschew the inserts and use small prefolds just like the hybrid diaper cover. You can even get all wool AI2s like LoveyBums.
Herein is the irony: This product has come back full circle to the old fashioned prefold and cover!! In fact, it is exactly like using a prefold and plain cover with no snappi or pins — which people who use that system have done too. The only difference is that the insert is half the size of the prefold — more like a pad — so needs no folding and is less bulky for that trim diaper bum that seems to be popular. The notable drawback with any lay-in system is that poop is more likely to soil the cover. They will run from $13-$25 each with usually 1-2 inserts included with each outer cover (though not always). Separate inserts run $8-$12 each depending on fabric type. Some are one size and others are not.
There is also the ALL-IN-THREE which is basically an AI2, it is just that the soaker inserts can also be snapped to each other, but since the cover is separate like the AI2 it can be used with other systems also with the exception that if you want to use the snaps to hold the insert, different diapers have different number and sizes of snaps. The major difference between the hybrids and the AI2/AI3 is the fact that they are not meant to be used with disposable pads and are not designed to hold them in place.
Remember ALL diapers started from great-great-great-great grandma’s folded flats.
Cloth Diapering 201: How Many Do I Need?
You’ll need 2-3 dozen diapers depending on how often you want to wash or how often the baby goes. If your baby is a “trickler” you’ll go through more diapers in a day than a “holder” and need fewer diaper covers. Though a “holder” type uses less diapers in a day, they will tend to leak more so you’ll need an attentive eye and more covers (particularly covers with leg gussets).
The rule of thumb is 10-12 diapers a day up until 6 months and then usually drops down to 6-10. Three dozen Old Fashioned Systems with 4 covers should be a comfortable number, while a fancier system you’ll have to work out to find your own comfort level. Exclusive cloth diaper users can have AIO systems from a tight 20 with some prefold fillers, to a multi-style system of more than 50. It can get more than a little — out of hand! Of course, being an ECer you won’t need a bus load of diapers :) Less is more! So start off with a smaller amount and if you feel you need more to be comfortable or to go longer to be washes, then add what you think you need. For example, if you want to wash once a week and your baby is a “trickler” then you will need more supplies than a person who washes 2-3 times a week and has a baby who is a “holder”.
I have more than I need to be more than comfortable, but I used them for more than just diapering and I didn’t spend a lot because I went old-fashioned. My 3 dozen flats were not only my “backups” if I happened to run out of prefolds (which was rare), but I also used them as reusable chux pad for my homebirth by stuffing them into a 27×27 flannel square pocket I made that later served as a lap pad and bed pad. They were used as loose swaddles for a naked baby in a blanket, they cleaned up spit up and leaking milk. I used them every day in those early months. I have 3 dozen premie sized prefolds (what you can consider an extra small) that I used for 4 months on my slender girl — just by changing how I folded them around the legs I increased their use until I was just laying them in the cover during the transition to the newborn sized prefold, of which I also had 3 dozen. Once she was beginning to outgrow the new born size (small) I just switched to training pants. I saw no reason to buy the next size. Thirsties DuoWraps (one size fits most) were unavailable at the time I first bought covers so I had 4 extra small covers, and then 4 DuoWraps that I bought with the intention of using them with a second baby also, especially since the extra smalls were showing quite a lot of wear (beginners tend to be harsh on covers!). You can see the cost breakdown of the supplies I bought here: Supply Cost Breakdown
As for Snappis or pins, if you tend to lose things you may want to buy quite a lot — say a dozen. If you are good with keeping track of things you can do perfectly fine with 3 snappis (one for your on-the-go bag, one to wear, and one spare in your diaper area), 2-3 prefold belts, or a half dozen diaper pins if you like those instead (but pins, obviously, are not EC friendly).
For training pants, I started off with 6 Gerber (they were the only ones I could afford and find in 18m size — xsmall) and then increased to 1 dozen and 2 thicker, pricier night waterproof trainers (for those deary eyed misses). You may want or need more or less depending on your needs. I found 6 to be a real squeeze and a dozen to be a comfortable number for us and they were easily hand washed and hung dry also if needed. I never needed size 2T in trainers, by the time she was beginning to outgrow the 18m size she was already in too big boy short style regular 2T underwear (only now at 2y 3m is she ready for the 3T size of underwear). Don’t be afraid to switch to training pants very early, they are your assets to staying focused without having to consciously pay attention as you go through the levels of potty learning and they will also help you go through the normal growing process of changing signals and misses.
Cloth Diapering 202: What Size!?
I’m afraid you are on your own here. Unlike Flats and to some extent Prefolds, with all the other cloth options your sizes and mileage may vary greatly. Flats and prefolds are like sarongs; because they wrap and aren’t tailored, they have the most versatile fit for all body types. For other diapers, it is like trying to find one style of jeans that fit you and all your friends just right. Check recommendations and sizing charts. Ask cloth diaper users who have children built like your own and ask them about their experiences with brands they’ve used. It really depends on how the diaper is made and the shape and size of your baby. Some brands are unsuitable for chunky thighs and those that fit the chunk do not fit slender babies well. Some diapers have high rise at the waists and if they aren’t adjustable may not fit a baby with a short torso. If you are concerned with elastic leaving marks on your baby’s thighs, then you may favor brands in which the elastic is encased in soft fabric. If your little one is a leaker, you may want to look for leg gussets. Snap closures are less adjustable than Velcro (Hook and Loop Tape). Though One-Size styles that adjust are nice, you may run into the imperfect fit because one size fits most…not really all. Sometimes it may be to your advantage to go with a separate size rather than a one size. Before you invest all-in with the pricey styles, you may one to trial out one first. The same goes for diaper covers and the pricier training pants.
And remember, you are an ECer so you can be much less fussy. If your fancy diaper or cover is imperfect — oh well, you won’t be using them much or very long anyway, right!?
Cloth Diapering 203: Laundering
Simple Diapers with Natural Fibers and Separate Covers:
Hands down, Old Fashioned Diapers can be laundered the easiest. Throw dirties in a garbage pail (I used a cheap 10 gallon rubbermaid trash bin) with a reusable washable liner — pre-solid food as is, after solid food you’ll have to dump solids in the toilet (you should do that even for disposables! No solid poop in the trash people!). A diaper sprayer is not a necessity, nor is toilet diaper dunking (sorry, but…eww)–a 99 cent flat spatula works fine. I only used diapers for the newborn and beginning crawler stage (I got rid of diapers at 9m when I got training pants) and we had very few poopy diapers because of EC.
You’ll find any number of complicated wash routines for cloth diapers, but if you go simple diaper styles the wash is simple. As a general rule do NOT use fabric softeners and do not use diaper cream without a liner. These products will ruin the absorbancy of your diapers. Pretty much the smellier your detergent and the more bang, pow, advertising deception it has — the worst it is for ALL your laundry.
I used 1/4 of the recommended amount of a fragrance free, dye free, earth friendly detergent and boosted with good old fashioned washing soda with sodium percarbonate (Ecover non-chlorine bleach) OR you can use oxyclean or some other oxygen “bleach” product, and white vinegar for the rinse cycle. Cold wash and a once or twice a month a hot maintenance wash. I see no need for complicated wash routines unless you have seriously hard water and a serious stink problem. It’s not complicated. I’d rather do diaper laundry than regular laundry!
I washed my diaper covers with my diapers if they were seriously pooped on, otherwise an air dry and wipe rinse was fine. Usually, you do not want to use vinegar when your product has elastic, but I machine washed the covers so infrequently that it had zero effect. The Velcro (hook and loop tape) wore out faster. Remember, that if you have Velcro you must fold the tabs down to lengthen their lifespan.
Fancy Diapers and Synthetics:
Natural fiber inserts are fine to launder simply, however, synthetics are much more fussy when it comes to stank — so follow your brand’s directions for washing. Some items, like washing soda can make certain synthetics hold on to reek. . Keep in mind that if your diapers have Velcro be extra sure you tab them down so they you don’t end up with a daisy chain in your laundry and this will also extend the life of the Velcro. Some two part systems may need a separate wash for their inserts and one for their covers — again, this entirely depends on the fabrics used. Wool for example, has very specific laundering instructions to be sure it stays lanolized, functions as it should, and has longevity.
All up to you, but less is more! And when done with diapering, use old fashion diapers around the house (they do windows). Or pass on your personal diapering system to someone in need, sell, or trade them.
All photos are googled. Click on them to visit the original links.
The middle of this month we had three unexpected epic pee accidents three days in a row. Just once a day on consecutive days–bursting forth in an indoor flood.
Am I worried? No.
Not even a little bit. If it’s one thing that potty observation and behavior modification has taught me is that each event is a learning opportunity and not something to see as a negative or setback. It is all part of moving forward. And it never, ever crosses my mind to pull out a diaper — in fact, the thought of doing so while I write this is quite distasteful to me. I guess that means I’ve cured myself of the diaper crutch quite thoroughly! Anyway, these three incidences, are moments to reflect and to remember that Itty Bitty has quite a lot of baby still in her and is a growing, developing person. We don’t live in nature so it is important to be fair in assessment, since if we did live outdoors, these misplaced wees wouldn’t be noticed at all. As a culture we tend to dwell on all the “cannot” and not so much on the “can”.
I try to remember that even adults follow this “holding it” behavior. A point in fact, my 7 month pregnant self was sitting on the couch having to pee for an hour and I just didn’t want to get up — of course, that meant that when I decided I could wait no longer I very nearly didn’t make it. Another morning as I passed my husband while he was getting ready for work I passively mentioned that I had to pee badly (I was doing the slightly bent at the waist, squeeze thighs while walking maneuver) and yet I walked past the bathroom attending to the morning I’m-going-to-maul-my-husband-if-he-doesn’t-pick-up-his-crap-before-he-comes-to-bed routine (why is it so hard to fold your jeans, put your glass in the sink, and put a few toys that you spouse didn’t get to away!?). Er…Wait, where was I? Oh yes, I was being the House Elf — and I just ignored my need to pee. Approximately 15-20 minutes later Daddy Man looks at me and says, “Honey, go pee.” As soon as he said it, I suddenly felt 10 times more desperate to void my bladder. I must have been sending out some obvious signals!
I imagine it is the same for Itty Bitty. Her second birthday was 3 months ago and that about coincides with an expected growth spurt — albeit not as intense as the ones the first year — but still she is growing inside as well as outside. I think we forget that the bladder and bowels grow, muscles get stronger, and new abilities emerge as new paths are laid. Attention is split. The girl has incredible control and volume storage and it makes sense that as she grows she tests the limits to see how far she can go, or over estimates her ability to get to the toilet at the last minute. We all know that when your bladder is in the red and you reach a certain point — nothing you can do can stop the flow once it starts. I think we’ve all been to the point where we’ve started peeing before our butts even touch the toilet seat. At least twice, the reason Itty Bitty “let loose” was because when she had only a few moments to run to the bathroom with nothing to spare, she got stuck in the midst of toy Armageddon and that was that. Niagara Falls unleashed.
She knew exactly what happened and asked for help immediately. I tsk tsk’d with a frown and let her know that I wasn’t pleased about the mess (yes, it is okay to do that — not showing any reaction is akin it being okay and it wasn’t. Understandable is not the same thing as okay) and she helped me clean up. I said: (1st incident) “What happened!?”, (2nd incident) “You waited too long again and got stuck, huh?” and, (3rd incident) “Hey, don’t wait so long to go potty! What a mess!” The next day after incident 3, in the middle of the day I decided to start asking her to take a potty break with me when I thought of it. I figured if at 38, I needed my husband to remind me to stop doing a task for a pee break that my two year old could use that gentle courtesy too. Thus far there have been no further incidences.
Itty Bitty, I’ve said before, is nearly 100% potty independent taking care of her own pants (up and down), and emptying her own potty. She needs help only for wiping and usually there is nothing to wipe. However, she has asked 50% of the time this month for help to poop or pee on the big potty. It is still too much of a workout for her to get up there on her own, so if she has it in her mind that she wants to use it she comes to us to ask. We just go with the flow and let her make the decisions.
This potty adventure is really minimal effort. It is the toddler personality clash with PregoBeast hormones that are harder to process! I don’t know how Baby#2′s behavior will be, but I am hoping it will be just as seamless right from the beginning and not with the same learning curve as starting cold turkey. And hopefully, no major sibling rivlry.
A Few Tidbits on Cozys for Cold Potty Seats
In the facebook DiaperFreeBaby group someone asked about how to deal with a cold potty. I never had occasion to use one, but the can be useful nonetheless.
Sewing a Bjorn Potty Cozy/Turtleneck: http://thereallifehome.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/tutorial-baby-bjorn-little-potty-cover/
Bjorn Potty Cover with drawstring bottom: http://doityourselfec.blogspot.com/search/label/Baby%20Bjorn%20Little%20Potty%20Warmer%2FCover
Crude But Serviceable No-Sew Mat Potty Cozy: http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=891495
No-Sew Potty Cozy from Old Sweatpants (can also use a T-Shirt): http://i228.photobucket.com/albums/ee182/amberspisak/100_3965.jpg
Phrases of the Month:
Carpet ride? (Daddy Man’s new game where he swings her in a blanket)
Don’t worry, Igotchu
Be Careful (When getting in her car seat)
Wait! I do it self!
Me help pease?
Oops Baby/I/Mommy/Daddy farted!
I burped. S’cuse me.
You okay? Don’t worry.
I see soo (I’ll see you soon)
Favorite letter and first recognized: W
All I want for Xmas is a moment alone in the bathroom
How the time is flying. I’ve mentioned in a couple of prior posts that Itty Bitty began taking to blowing her own nose, brushing her teeth (with a mommy or daddy follow-up of course), cleaning up her own waste by dumping it into the toilet. The bottom line is that she loves to help — cook, sweep, dust, recycle, feed the cats, zipper, clip clips, and a number of things that make chores –umm–go slower. She has gotten very deft at emptying her own potty, and if she does make a mess she tells me, “Uh oh…maydamess!” I made the conscious effort to sit on my hands and let the girl get on with it. Surprisingly, total misses into the toilet were rare. I still have fingers left on one hand to count. All I have to do now is to wipe up the sit when there is a back splash and wash the potty. We have tile on the bathroom floor and some throw carpets. It really was not a big deal, as the Annoying Voice was trying to tell me. Perpetually Positive Voice just said, “Hey, look at how clean the carpets are now that they’ve been washed a couple of extra times! And that bowl sparkles.” You know, I wish I could transfer that inner voice to the voice of my spouse so that after I’ve scrubbed the bathroom sink he’d spontaneously say, “Wow, look at those fixtures shine!” I can dream. *sigh*
Itty Bitty is also coming out of the bathroom with clothes on 98% rather than clothes off and I can’t remember the last time she asked me to help with her pants. I’m just sure to buy pants that don’t require a degree in Engineering to operate. We wee together in the morning when we get up and before we leave the house and before bed, and occasionally she wants assistance to use the Big Toilet if she is planning on having a frightening poop, but other than that Itty Bitty is driving the cart all on her own.
What else? One nap at 3:30 or 4:30pm and she’s ready for the night sleep between 11pm and 12am (perfect for my work schedule). Nursing is down to 2-4 times a day (am, pm, before nap, before bed) and still none during the 8-9 hour night. I’m confident she’ll comfort nurse until my milk comes back in after baby Gremlin arrives and may pick up a bit. Fine for me since if she is nursing I can sit with them both and not have to chase a toddler. Hah! I also expect that she can help me with baby potty cues and fetching me things. I’ve got no reason to think she’ll start peeing herself for attention–as I said before she has no conscious memory of diapers. Oh, here is a little gem I found browsing some blogs: http://astitchinlime.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/quilted-puddle-pads/ Homemade piddle pads that are way cuter than the ones I made.
10/28 - “I Did It!” – Today she started to empty potty by herself every time she goes. Poop emptying is messy but successful. Got to keep telling myself to let her get on with it because she really does quite well. She empties. Mommy wipes the minor splash, cleans the bowl, and we wash hands together. We walk out together with a proud on.
11/1 – “Where Does She Put It!” – Daddy Man was a bit horrified (yet, proud) when we were at the mall. I left Man and Bitty alone to pick up a pair of maternity jeans since the ones I was wearing had a big hole in them. When I returned I was immediately told about the big, huge OMG-where-did-it -all-come-from-it-was-like-a-snake poo for Daddy in the Men’s Restroom…with no travel potty seat. I suppose if you are going to poop for your daddy you might as well make it something for him to be in awe of. I’m so proud of Daddy Man. Sometimes I don’t think he truly appreciates to be one of the very few Daddies who don’t need to scrape mushy, stinky, chunky poop out of a diapered girl’s kibbles and bits.
11/3 – “Happy Halloween!” – We had a city wide Halloween Delay due to snow so October 31st was rescheduled to November 3rd. Really. A snow storm in October! We even made a snow man and put him in costume. It cause quite a bit of damage with power lines because the snow was so heavy that it broke not only lines but raised havoc on trees all over the city. Aftermath, clean up took a good month. And believe it or not it was a very warm night for trick or treating — so much so that we didn’t need coats! Anyway, Itty Bitty became Destructo Girl with her wrecking ball and cape. She was so excited about this new “trick or treat” phrase and cool mask that her bladder got over full. All might have been well if she hadn’t made a serious miscalculation. She squatted to pick up a toy and…that was it — “PiP” (Pee-in-Pants). Out came the wee and she was helpless to stop it. She could do nothing but stand bolt upright, spread her fabric-clung damp legs and stare. Meh. Not a big deal. We changed her pants and went trick or treating. For several nights there after she asked to go Trick-Tree and how does one explain to a 2 year old with little sense of time that it comes only once a year? Awww.
11/6 - “Get Along Cow Girl” – I’ve seen Itty Bitty mount her Bjorn potty via a “rear mount”. I’ve even see the “side mount” and “step over”. But I never though I would see creative positions on the Big Toilet. Because Itty Bitty closes the bathroom door for privacy now (how cute is that) I don’t usually see what she is up to, but she’s not inclined to do odd things in there and the Mommy Ear is usually on (the bathroom is only a few steps from the living room and kitchen). I hear a lot of strange noises and she’s taking an awfully long time. I go to take a peek in the crack in the door and I see here there pooping on big potty as casual as you please — side saddle! All the noise was her trying to place the Potette insert herself and since it wasn’t quite on right it slid a bit when she somehow mounted the toilet. I discretely stuck my hand though the crack in the door too adjust the insert for stability then walked away.
11/15 — “Wee Hours” — Time: 12:30am Mommy told Daddy, “Brush her teeth and take her to pee before you bring her up to bed.” Sleepy mommy gets maybe 30 minutes of quite time before they come tromping up the stairs for bed and Daddy goes back downstairs for his nightly epic 3-4 hour alone time. Two hours later DD awakens and is whining, fussing, trying to crawl on my head and saying apple over and over. Pregnobeast Mommy is irritated and just grumbles, “Stop crawling on my head!” and lays DD back down (we cosleep and my “pee button” I turned off because she just peed before bed right? Crawling on my head was her crawling stage I gotta go cue that she hasn’t used since before she was walking). More fussing and escalation and foul tempers and then I hear the piddle falling through the tiny crack-gap between the bed and the sidecar crib and then feel the warm wetness spreading on my flannel pajamas. Daddy was in BIG HUGE trouble. He came running up the stairs after hearing my grumble-growl of his name looking appropriately guilty and contrite. Lucky for him DD has a very strong sphincter and was able to stop the fountain and finish a massive wee in the potty. He changed the sheets on both our mattresses, sopped up the pee on the floor, and apologized profusely to the two irritated females.
Puzzles. I can’t say exactly when Itty Bitty figured out the smaller Melissa and Doug puzzles quite so deftly. She’d been working on them for quite a while at play group. A year ago she knew that the little pieces were supposed to go into the board and tried to smash them in, once she began to recognize abstract drawings she could identify the pieces but orientation was difficult — but she could handle by herself a very large, knobbed 3 piece puzzle about 18m or so, and soon after was able to do the symmetrical pieces of a “shape puzzle” we have — circle, square, triangle. Sometime around her second birthday she could easily put together the sound animal puzzle she’d been fascinated with at playgroup and got one for her birthday. Of course, she still tries to smash them into a puzzle base they don’t belong too — I don’t think she quite understands why the horse from puzzle A won’t ever go into the horse shape in puzzle B, or why the small shape piece from puzzle C won’t fit nicely into another small shape base from puzzle D. And then suddenly the puzzle pieces become cymbals, trumpets, and cookies. The other day I noticed that she also is having a much easier time with the complex shape sorter cube she got for her first birthday (or was it the next Easter?) — she’s hunting for the right holes now and attempting the more complex shapes and when she’s done with that it becomes a buried treasure box. Gosh, I really wish I could have that much fun and matter-of-factness exploring the world again!
Phrases and Words of the Month
Trick-Tree (Trick or Treat)
Moon (we didn’t know she knew where it was!)
Treasure (I think she said this last month — she likes treasure shaped boxes)
Hep coo-k Peez (I want to help you cook please!)
Wher ez it (Where is it?)
Carry You/Carry Up (Pick me up, because I always say, “You want me to carry you?”)
Cheea (Chair — took a long while to figure that out!)
Knock door open
Keys Open Door (she likes to stick my car key in my car door)
“Good Morning To You” (spontaneously breaks out in song)
Super (to indicate she wants to watch Super Why)
Peesabread (piece of bread)
Here you go!
I found mommy/daddy/it
It’s (too) heavy/empty/hot/cold
It’s okay, don’t worry
I fixed it!
Non-nee Kitty (naughty kitty with naughty finger wagging — when the cat(s) get into something they shouldn’t)
She is giving us directions more often. Beginning to sing “ABC”s. and trying to mimic a lot more songs. Ooooooo songs are very popular with her and she gets this saucy look on her face when she sings along correctly. She knows tons of animals and shapes, and is beginning to recognize letters.
Frankly, there are tons more words and phrases she knows but she comes out with them so often and so spontaneously that it is getting impossible to keep track. Mostly I just say, “When did you learn that!?”