Monday, June 11, 2012

Diaper-Free to be Me...

Before we get into the thick of it, can I just say that I love this girl. She has a delightfully awesome giggle when you eat the side of her ribs--in fact, sometimes she laughs so hard it sounds like she wants to explode... as if she's almost in pain from the joy. 

5 months and 3 weeks of Perfection

Her wrists look like they've been screwed on each morning because she's so chubby... and her legs and bum! Oh they are juicy and meaty and glorious -- as if she were the poster-child for breastfed wellness. 

I love it. 
I love her. 

Despite the kerfuffle a couple of weeks back with the whole TIME magazine cover and the AP mom feeding her 3 (almost 4) year old, I must say that we're rather enjoying the benefits of Attachment Parenting with our little Zoe-bug. The principles of breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and even EC-ing have been such a blessing in this house. 

Yes, I said EC-ing... we're back to trying out the Elimination Communication thing again. And like Mayim Bailik, Phd (better know as Blossom), I reaffirm what she writes in "Beyond the Sling" where she says: 
"I know EC is not for everyone. It's actually not for most people, and that's fine." 

But for us it has been a sort of odd joy and an easy solution to a problem many a parent has faced before: diaper rash. 

But first, a little background...

We started ECing Holden at six-months very part time for a variety of reasons:
  • It's better for the environment (less disposable diapers=lest waste, less cloth diapers to wash =less resources used to clean them)
  • To clean up less poop (a serious plus when you cloth diaper at home)
  • More diaper-free time to prevent diaper rash 
  • One more way to better connect with and listen to our child's needs (as I've mentioned on numerous occasions, breastfeeding did not "work out" for us, so he was bottle-fed expressed milk for his first year and EC seemed to be another way to bond and connect)
  • To put into practice the basic belief that no-one (adult or child) should have to sit in their own crap 

Holden at approx 10 months old, doing his business
Of course, there was that hidden gem that spoke to my ego: apparently most ECers are diaper free between 18 - 24 months. Though all the books on the subject and advocates for the "movement" will repeatedly tell you EC is NOT about being potty trained early, and that one should detach from an outcome either positive or negative... but I would still cheer at 6 months (or later) when Holden would "go #2" in a toilet and secretly pat myself on the back, convinced the naysayers would see how awesome I was when my 18 mo old was toddling around in big boy pants!!!!

Except it didn't happen that way.

Holden was not diaper-free until a couple of weeks after his third birthday (and more times than not we'll stick him in a pull-up at night to avoid the risk of a night-time accident...though rare, it does still happen). After 2 1/2 years of "gentle-pottying" (another hippie-dippie term for EC) he really did just have to decide that he wanted to be finished wearing diapers... because no matter how many cool pairs of underoo's we bought him, he'd prefer to just get them out and look at them (not wear them, mind you) until he deicided.

So we didn't get the year (or-two) early diaper-free bonus I was hoping for (they warned me not to get attached). But I am still glad we did it -- for all the reasons listed above and then some. And that's why we're doing it with Z too. Even if we just get a few "catches" a day, it saves a diaper each time so I feel great about it... but even more so, it's been a necessity for her diaper rash... (and we've even learned about her nighttime "habits," if you will.) 

But back to the pragmatics: oddly enough, even though Zoë's pigmentation has a lot more olive tones in it that her brother, her skin is WAY more sensitive -- and as such, she's way more prone to diaper rash that her brother. I'm a firm believer in letting my kid's skin "breathe"... so I try to limit the use of barrier creams (especially ones with mineral oil -eek!)

This has meant letting her go diaper-free on a few nights -- ok five so far. And before you think I'm absolutely crazy (I prefer to just keep it at partially insane, right now), it's been a pretty tender experience. 

Yes, I said tender

Because I learned that when my daughter wakes up at night to nurse, it's actually because she needs to go to the bathroom. 


Seriously - the nursing is just an afterthought to get herself back to sleep. And so by listening to her:   she'd start making noises and move around in the bed a lot (and I knew she wasn't wet because of the whole diaper-free thing), I learned she just needed to drain her little bladder (like so many of us need to do at night), and then she'd sleep soundly... maybe a few minutes to nurse and she was out. 

So yes, I'm typing this, and I'm reading it... and logically, I know it sounds a little crazy. But it's worked for us, and it's worked for Zoë. In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that sleep even less soundly than my already-light-sleeper-status, when she's diaper free in bed. But you would too if you feared you'd get pee'd on at any moment. 

But thankfully, like I said, she gives plenty of fair warning. And as such, I'm happy to say, I haven't been showered in bed yet... 

Yes, I realized I just jinxed myself...she's in a diaper tonight, I can relax a little.

Here's to the journey.

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