Today Baby Leone, who will be twelve weeks old on Wednesday, only wet one diaper all day.
She wasn’t dehydrated.
She didn’t pee (or poop) on me.
She went in her chamber pot while were at home, and in the toilet at the yoga studio while we were out.
Before I tell you more about this, I should confess that I have no idea what I am doing. Enthusiastic readers and cyber friends notwithstanding, I still don’t know anyone in real life who has raised a diaper-free baby. And James and I haven’t decided in any definitive way that Leone will be diaper free. But I have read another book about it, Christine Gross-Loh’s The Diaper Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative.
Somehow today it just worked.
Every time I held Leone over the potty and made a PSST sound, she peed. She seems to understand and associate that sound with releasing her sphincter muscles.
The only time it didn’t work was at 10:40, right before our first ever baby yoga class. Leone was happy to be held “in position” but she didn’t pee. Since it’s Martin Luther King’s Birthday, there was no school and my oldest daughter, who is ten, was with me.
“Leone doesn’t have to go!” Hesperus insisted so we put her diaper back on. As soon as she peed in her diaper–about five minutes later–she fussed and I put a dry one on her right away.
Three more times during the one-hour class (so much for yoga) Leone squirmed as if she needed to go. Each time I brought her to the bathroom. As soon as I took off her diaper, she peed. One time she pooped.
There was a pregnant woman who came to watch the class. She and another mom and I started talking about cloth diaper systems and elimination communication (or “EC,” as some people call it).
“My son is three and still in diapers,” the pregnant woman said. “I really want to try doing it differently with this baby.”
I’ve been learning to read Leone’s signals because it makes so much sense. EC advocates all claim that as mammals humans have a natural instinct not to soil our nests and that infants–even newborns–are aware of their need to eliminate and that they communicate that awareness to their caretakers. Writers and moms like Christine Gross-Loh and Ingrid Bauer, also point out that in many places around the world, people do not use diapers. I do not have an ulterior motive of teaching her to use the potty independently, that’s not the point of EC. Instead, Leone is communicating with me and I am responding (or trying to), the same way I respond when she is hungry by nursing her.
Tomorrow the big kids go back to school and there will be the stress of the morning rush. Then Leone and I are hosting a book chat with a novelist, Peter Ferry, who is visiting from the Midwest. Then we’re attending his workshop at the campus of our local college, Southern Oregon University.
I worry I won’t be present enough tomorrow or attentive enough to Leone’s needs to have another dry diaper day.
Now that I’ve been catching pees and poops, when I don’t pay attention to the baby’s signals that she needs to go, I feel like I’m failing her. That’s a downside to today’s success: I’ve raised the bar and might hit my head on it by mistake.
I’ll keep you posted.