Experienced mamas, how would you suggest I get started? My baby is month old and I haven't noticed any signals when he pees or poops, though sometimes I can hear him poop. He wears cloth diapers (mostly stay-dry ones like pockets, but we do have some prefolds and 3 fitteds; disposable at night so far) and regular baby clothes--onesies, pants, and socks.
His daddy and I have a low tolerance for accidents on our floor or clothing and like a $10 budget for this project. I just want to cut down on the number of diapers, particularly poopy ones, and set him up for hopefully easier (and earlier?) potty training later. I don't plan to go completely diaper-free.
I'm guessing the place to start would be with diaper-free time over an absorbent pad and with holding him over the sink or toilet after nursing, but would like more specific tips like HOW to hold him. And with diaper-free time, do I need to sit and stare at him so I can cue him if he starts peeing?
I have a 4 week old and got started a couple of weeks ago. We had a few changing table accidents and I tried to keep cool and cue DS at those times and tell him good job, you just did a wee/poo (opposite reaction to what comes natural! ) I also cued him when I heard him doing a poo in his diaper.
After only a handful of "accidents" I could cue DS on the changing table and he would go. It was amazing how quickly he learned the cue sound. It was a bit more difficult finding a comfortable position to hold him because he was so floppy but now we either sit together on the toilet facing the tank, or I squat on the floor and hold him over a big basin. ( You can find lots of pictures by going to google pictures and typing elimination communicaion.) I suggest practicing holding him when he has clothes on till you find something that feels comfortable to you both.
DS never goes diaper free except for on the changing table or in the bath. I use CDs without a cover for an hour or 2 in the daytime if I am feeling ambitious. He would never lay on a play mat for more than 5 minutes, I think that is for older kids. I also put him in the sling (you could get a little pee on your clothes but it wouldn't be much if he had the CD on--in fact DS hardly ever pees in the sling anyway.) We also use regular baby clothes but during our "cover-free" time I leave the bottom snaps undone and pull on some home made leg warmers (toddler socks with the toes cut out)
I do think it would be useful for him to do some totally diaper free time where I could just watch and observe him. We'll do that later in warmer weather and when he is older and comfortable playing on the floor so I can observe him better. Right now I put the CD and leg warmers on then bundle him up in a fleece blanket. I do watch him carefully and check the CD when I think he might be going. Just do what works for you.
So far there has actually been more washing not less because of doing EC--I change him more frequently, as I would not put a wet diaper back on after offering a potty-tunity--and it also took some practice to learn to aim him in the right direction! Plus he does this annoying thing where I cue him, then put him down too soon--and he pees all over the changing table and his clothes. I do get most of the poos in the toilet though, a nice bonus with cloth diapers!
I also can't figure out DSs cues with pees, and for poos I just take him after he eats, he poos several times a day so I don't wait for him to cue. If he is already grunting and pushing it is too late!
Anyway that's just where we are after 2 weeks of EC. I always think if I can learn 1 thing per day then the day went well. (of course we have our off days too) IMO if you are new to this don't stress yourself out trying to catch everything--there will be misses until they are fully PT! My advice is to start with a couple of potty trips per day and increase them as you learn his timing and signals and feel comfortable with it. Ec should make your life easier not harder.
We started ECing DS at 2.5 months of age, so not quite as young as your DS. The great thing is that there's no need to spend even $10 to get started, especially since you already have prefold diapers. If you can, I'd suggest you check out Christine Gross-Loh's book from the library called "The Diaper-Free Baby" and if you are looking for more information and positions for holding DS to EC check out www.thediaperfreebaby.org. No need to read the whole book as it's broken down into ages/stages. It's a great resource.
The place to start would be by teaching DS what the cues mean and also trying to get to know his cues/patterns. This is where diaper free time is handy. It doesn't need to be a full day, just half an hour or an hour at different times of the day for a few days. And yes, you should watch your DS so you can try to pick up on any cues he may be giving and signal if/when he goes. Again, this isn't hours at a time just 30mins to an hour a day for a few days is enough to start. There's a good list in the book but some things might be a particular noise, going still, reaching for the groin area, a particular grimace, etc. My DS never signals for pees, just poops. He did this gesture with his hand and then made a particular noise. This is how I knew to take him potty. So if your DC doesn't cue for pees, then you just have to go on timing and intuition. So if you have something easy to wash that you can put DS on for diaper free time, that's a good idea. I just bought a piddle mat but you could even use a shower curtain or a wool blanket if you already have one.
After you've had a few days of diaper free time and have cued DS for a few days (even during non-diaper free time you can do this if you carry your child in the prefold as you can feel when they go. Also cue if DS goes during diaper changes or in the bath, etc.) then start with some easy catches. Right after waking and after nursing are good ones. You can find pictures of how to hold DC but we would potty DS on the toilet. I'd sit behind him so his back was supported by my abdomen and I'd hold his thighs so my hands and arms were under him. Then just cue. Give at least 30 seconds for pees and maybe a minute for poops. If DC signals that they don't have to or don't want to go (arching back, crying, etc), then it's important to respect that or you end up with a potty strike or a baby who just doesn't want to participate. Then as you start getting catches for the easy one, move on to more and more in a day.
The key is to go with the flow and not worry about misses. You'll have lots of them. Do what works for you and don't let it be stressful!
We also have never been truly diaper free in the sense of without diapers. DS would be in a prefold with no cover so I could change him immedietly if he went. Now at almost 7 mos we have maybe 1-3 pee misses per day and no poop misses and have started using trainers.
N, wife to my goofball K and mamma to my EC grad D (July 2010) and my new little love S (May 2013). Exploring the uncharted territory of tandem nursing with my two boys.