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EC-ing at night

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm brand new to the EC thing... have read a few books, read lots of sites... but have a few nighttime EC-ing questions.  I've read a lot of people say their little one goes dry a lot of the time when diaper-free.  That sounds great... but then the occasional "miss".  So... what's the difference (benefit of) letting your little one go diaper-free at night, sleeping on a pad or prefold, if he still occasionally misses and wakes up lying on wetness?  How is this different from actually having him in a cloth diaper?  By going "diaper-free" does it actually help them learn night-time holding/dryness easier than other methods?  And realistically... how do you offer a pee for baby every time he stirrs in his sleep and you suspect a need to pee (even with the closeness of co-sleeping)?  I tried last night... and feel exausted today with 4+ pee-ops....  I'd love any and all tips...!

post #2 of 10

Wonder how old your baby is?

I think night-time EC is different for everybody...(sure, that's helpful!;)) I started going diaper free at night at 2 weeks. I had DD lying on a pre fold, on top of a waterproof pad. At that point, she did not pee in her sleep but of course we were having lots of night feedings, and at that stage I got up for that (as opposed to now, when I can nurse lying down) and I would pee her. Can't remember if I did it before or after...think it depended, and of course, when they are wee little it's often NURSE NOW. Some people had success nursing on a bowl but we could never get comfortable with that. 

Now DD is 10 months and we are still diaper free at night. (except when visiting) I find that we've gone through stages of always being dry at night, to sometimes peeing on the pad - peeing on the pad mostly happened if we had a night when she nursed A LOT, and then I was tired and not wanting to risk waking her more by peeing her and so on.... But for some reason, I always knew when she peed, so it wasn't like she was lying on the wet pad because I'd change it right away. I like having her diaper free at night....I feel like it's natural, you know? More comfortable. Plus, changing a wet pad is must easier to do without waking a baby than changing a wet diaper, and it's easy to know when they pee. IF they pee. You might find that he doesn't pee often at night. If he is diaper free at night, you will likely learn pretty quickly what he does. Day-times can be so variable, but often nights are fairly similar, and for that reason it's sometimes easier at night! (I think the first nights you do it, you are probably feeling hyper aware and that may cause you to not sleep well. But once it's routine it doesn't feel like that.) Now that DD is 10 months, I rarely pee her during the night - she is dry most nights.There was a while when I used to try peeing her and she would cry, so I stopped doing that.  If she does wet it is in the early morning - she's an early bird, and sometimes I know she's ready to get up but I try to nurse her back to sleep....;);) And that's when she pees. I'd recommend a large pad when they are older, since they move more during sleep, but to be honest I'm still using a little pre fold.....I always check where it is, even while half-asleep....it would be better to not have to worry about that though. I should get to that one of these days!

All this being said, I think you should not feel pressured to go diaper free! Maybe give it a go for a while, but if it stressed you then that's no good! I don't think I've been very helpful. sorry for the ramble.

post #3 of 10

I did night-time ec with both girls, but kept them in diapers during the process until I felt like the misses would be VERY rare (in fact dd2 is still in diapers at night although most nights she's dry all night even without a pee-op...she's 1.5). 

 

My older dd was very clear with her cues at night (not so during the day).  She would reliably pop on and off the boob if she needed to pee.  So I would offer to nurse her first, then if she popped on and off, I knew she needed to pee. If she just nursed back to sleep, she didn't need to pee.  This was by maybe...I don't remember...maybe 9months?  My younger dd didn't have as clear signals, so it was a bit more experimentation with her.  Mostly, she just gets squirmy if she needs to pee. 

 

For both kids, I would put a finger in their diaper (and sometimes sleep that way) so that I could tell when they peed while I was learning their cues.  That way I could get familiar with what was just them settling back to sleep and what was actually coming right before a pee--without needing to try a pee-op every time I wondered.  I would wake up to squirming and think- huh, maybe they need to pee, but let's try nursing first--insert finger into dipe and then if they did pee I would know without getting soaked and I could still jump up and offer to finish in the potty/get changed.

 

That's just what worked for us!  I also keep a "potty bowl" by the bed so that I can pee her without getting out of bed or turning on the light.  Just make sure you clamp that sucker between your thighs so it doesn't spill in the bed...which is very annoying!

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by AliceMay View PostI think the first nights you do it, you are probably feeling hyper aware and that may cause you to not sleep well. But once it's routine it doesn't feel like that.


This was my experience too (with both kids!)

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for responding!!  I'm glad to talk to someone who's done ec-ing at night with diapers!  After reading the book "Diaper Free" -- I kinda feel like using diapers at night is going the "second-best" route.    I'm still struggling -- granted,  it's only my first week of really trying this ec thing.  Days are going well...!

 

My ds is 4 mo. and so far appears to be a major super-soaker at night!!  We've been using cloth diapers day and night.  'Til now (not ec-ing), I've been getting up to change him during his "middle feed of the night" (regularly goes down around 8, wakes at 1 to feed, again at 3, and again at 5 -- all "ish").  If I don't do the middle change, he totally soaks through everything -- even with a cover over the cloth.  By 6:45 when we get up, he's soaked again. 

 

So... now I'm aware of ec.  Where do I start???

 

I think I feel scared I'm going to mess up the process by not catching/offering for every pee.  Won't he get mixed up about peeing or not in his diaper at night (I'm probably just paranoid because I know of 5-yr olds still wetting the bed at night... and hope not to have to go there with my ds!!!)?

 

I've done fine with our one middle of the night change.  But getting up to do more diaper changes than that -- how does it not seriously mess with your sleep???  I feel like both ds and I are sleep deprived for the extra changes and ensuing "waking" it's put us through so far (he hates the 1 night change as it is), not to mention my dh getting woken up too! 

 

I'm willing to try the nurse and pee at the same time (I had success during his nap yesterday into a small narrow jar -- little winkies can aim into small containers!!).  But it seems like such a process to undo the diaper -- any kind of diaper -- offer the pee, put diaper back on... how do you do it all in bed (and not all -- ds, dh and self -- get totally woken up by the process)? 

 

I'm curious what kind of diapers you've used at night?  How do you offer the pee and "re-diaper" while still in bed?  It feels so cumbersome to me! 

 

 

post #6 of 10
I diaper at night but I do it my own way.

If you use covers, it's the same except you have the supplies you need in reach.
post #7 of 10

we do what seraf does - works great, now that dd (6mnths) has finally stopped pooping in the middle of the night!

 

with both my LOs, i found that letting them pee helps them sleep better.   otherwise they would nurse and wiggle when they they needed to go, finally settle down, pee, nurse and wiggle because they were wet, get changed, need to be settled again ...

post #8 of 10


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st-Time Mommy View Post

After reading the book "Diaper Free" -- I kinda feel like using diapers at night is going the "second-best" route.

...

 

I think I feel scared I'm going to mess up the process by not catching/offering for every pee.


This is why I don't recommend that book to folks.  When I'm not ec'ing a babe, it's a really interesting read, but when I AM ecing a babe, it makes me TOO obsessed with it (as if there was a "right" or "more natural" way to ec and makes me feel like if I don't catch or offer for every pee then I'm failing.  Which (and this is important) makes ec NOT WORK as well because it annoys your baby (okay, maybe not every baby, but it certainly was true for dd1...I started being afraid of misses and offering too often and she got annoyed and started refusing all the time...this is why I used diapers a LOT, especially when my babies were little, so that I can really relax and WAIT for their signals instead of being too worried about messes to wait).  In my experience, the more relaxed you can be about ec, the better off you both are.  From what I've heard "Diaper Free Baby" by Christine Gross-Loh is a lot more relaxed in its description of all the ranges of ec.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st-Time Mommy View Post
My ds is 4 mo. and so far appears to be a major super-soaker at night!!  We've been using cloth diapers day and night.  'Til now (not ec-ing), I've been getting up to change him during his "middle feed of the night" (regularly goes down around 8, wakes at 1 to feed, again at 3, and again at 5 -- all "ish").  If I don't do the middle change, he totally soaks through everything -- even with a cover over the cloth.  By 6:45 when we get up, he's soaked again.

 

I'm guessing that the 6:45 soaking is happening JUST before he wakes up (and maybe even AS he wakes up).  If you have it in you to wake up 15 minutes earlier and stick a finger in his diaper, you may find it dry.  (Or not...I could be totally wrong!) I'm also wondering if he's peeing JUST before (or during) that 1am feeding.  Again, you could try to anticipate it and stick a finger in his diaper just before he usually wakes up to see if he's dry and then notice when he actually starts to pee (is it during the feeding?  Before?).  Depending on what you find out, you could nurse him over a bowl or nurse him on one side and then offer the potty, then nurse him on the other.  Or see if he's willing to take the potty op before nursing at all?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1st-Time Mommy View Post
I'm probably just paranoid because I know of 5-yr olds still wetting the bed at night... and hope not to have to go there with my ds!!!)?


My sister and I both wet the bed until we were really old (waaaaaay beyond 5 years...).  So far (KNOCK WOOD!) both of my dd's seem to have avoided this problem.  Who knows if it's the ec or the addition of my dh's sturdy bladder genes, but it definitely gave me strength and energy for nighttime ec even though it was definitely more work and exhaustion at first.  Which brings us to...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st-Time Mommy View Post
I've done fine with our one middle of the night change.  But getting up to do more diaper changes than that -- how does it not seriously mess with your sleep???  I feel like both ds and I are sleep deprived for the extra changes and ensuing "waking" it's put us through so far (he hates the 1 night change as it is), not to mention my dh getting woken up too! 

 

I'm willing to try the nurse and pee at the same time (I had success during his nap yesterday into a small narrow jar -- little winkies can aim into small containers!!).  But it seems like such a process to undo the diaper -- any kind of diaper -- offer the pee, put diaper back on... how do you do it all in bed (and not all -- ds, dh and self -- get totally woken up by the process)? 

 

I'm curious what kind of diapers you've used at night?  How do you offer the pee and "re-diaper" while still in bed?  It feels so cumbersome to me! 

 

To be totally honest, it seriously messed with my sleep for the first few weeks I was trying to do nighttime ec (both kids).  That initial learning curve made me hyper sensitive and trying to offer every time she squirmed, which was more often than was necessary.  After we got our routine down (which took longer for dd2 since she didn't have as clear cues and because I started at birth with her), it still impacted my sleep more than just teaching them to sleep through their pee at night.  For me, having to sit up at night is really difficult, and even though I'm able to pee her in bed without turning on the light, it still wakes me up a lot more than just rolling over and nursing.  I've gotten so that SHE doesn't wake up that much more, and dh often doesn't wake up at all, but if I'm being totally honest, it is harder.  HOWEVER, For dd2 I'm convinced nighttime ec helped her sleep better and for longer stretches.  (it probably worked that way for dd1 too, but who remembers anything THAT far back!  I can barely remember yesterday...) AND I'm convinced it's part of the reason both my kids now sleep through the night without peeing (even though dd2 is only 1.5!)  Plus, I don't have to worry about diaper changes at night (or in the morning) anymore, I don't have to worry about changing the sheets if the diapers soak through (because even if dd2 has one of her rare nighttime pees these days and I don't catch it for some reason, she still stops herself mid-pee because she's got a diaper on and she doesn't like the feeling).  It's been TOTALLY worth it for our family for both kids.  It helps that I didn't have to work and function during the day!  I certainly don't judge anyone who chooses not to nighttime ec because it IS hard to miss out on sleep.  It helps to go to bed earlier and nap with the baby if you can.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbird2 View Post
with both my LOs, i found that letting them pee helps them sleep better.   otherwise they would nurse and wiggle when they they needed to go, finally settle down, pee, nurse and wiggle because they were wet, get changed, need to be settled again ...

This was TOTALLY true for us too.  Peeing my girls woke them up enough to know what was going on (and helped them learn to hold it longer I think), but once their bladder was empty they'd sleep MUCH longer (and go to sleep much more easily).
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st-Time Mommy View Post

I'm willing to try the nurse and pee at the same time (I had success during his nap yesterday into a small narrow jar -- little winkies can aim into small containers!!).  But it seems like such a process to undo the diaper -- any kind of diaper -- offer the pee, put diaper back on... how do you do it all in bed (and not all -- ds, dh and self -- get totally woken up by the process)? 

 

I'm curious what kind of diapers you've used at night?  How do you offer the pee and "re-diaper" while still in bed?  It feels so cumbersome to me!

 

We use Bumkins all in ones.  I got so that I could unhook ONE side of the diaper, flip it open under their bums, offer the pee and then flip it closed again without truly taking it off.  Like seraf, we keep everything right next to the bed, but I use a plastic bowl (metal is too cold!) and CLAMP that sucker between my legs hard while offering the pee.

 

I'd start by seeing if you can sleep with a finger in his diaper...hoping that it will wake you up to feel the wetness.  Good luck and let us know how it goes!

 

seraf....CYUTE baby!!!

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1st-Time Mommy View Post
So... now I'm aware of ec.  Where do I start???


Also, just be aware that at 4 months he may have already learned to sleep through the pees a bit.  With my older dd we started at 3months (and probably not at night until later) and I had to wake her up mid-pee a bunch of nights before she started realizing that I would help her pee at night...it sort of reminded her how to wake herself up.  The UP side to starting now (instead of at birth like I did with dd2) is that chances are the pees are already consolidated quite a bit and you won't have to offer the potty more than a couple of times a night once you get your system down and have learned his nighttime pee cues a bit.  If he is peeing more than once a night--you might add one tool to seraf's setup, and that's a bucket to dump your potty (or bowl) into after that first pee.  Just because the second pee becomes MUCH more high stakes if the potty is already full.  Spilling that thing in bed is a drag (BTDT).

post #10 of 10

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1st-Time Mommy View Post

How is this different from actually having him in a cloth diaper?  By going "diaper-free" does it actually help them learn night-time holding/dryness easier than other methods?  And realistically... how do you offer a pee for baby every time he stirrs in his sleep and you suspect a need to pee (even with the closeness of co-sleeping)?  I tried last night... and feel exausted today with 4+ pee-ops....  I'd love any and all tips...!


You make a great point! I'm a proponent of "diaper-free does not necessarily mean naked"....I mean, we wear clothes don't we? I used disposable back-up at night from months 0-5, Gerber cotton training pants from months 6-9, then Imse Vimse wool cover with Thirsties hemp/cotton prefold folded inside from months 9-present (19).

 

With EC, the diaper back-up, if used, is a TOOL. If you use one, you are not "not" doing EC. You are preserving your sanity. If your baby is peeing all over the bed (as mine did all but months 6-9, and is now only missing when he's teething or growth-spurting, or mommy's too tired)....then use the diaper back-up at night.

 

My motto (in my book and with my clients and readers) is "do whatever gets everyone the most sleep at night." IF waking to potty your baby helps baby sleep more, and you, then do it. If it leaves you all exhausted, just put a cloth diaper on em and know that nighttime dryness usually follows daytime dryness. It is really true, 99% of the time.

 

We potty at night because my son wriggles like a worm when he needs to or has gone. Other of my client's children wake them up every 5 minutes. Others sleep better when in their diaper at night...and they all end up dry at night in the end.

 

Good luck!

And if you need more visual support starting, let me know!

:) Andrea

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