So my baby is approaching 6 months old and we have been practicing EC with her since birth (part-time for the most part). I understand EC during the day time pretty well but I'm a little lost as to how to start incorporating it into our night time. Anyone else practice successful EC at night? I know every baby and situation is different but I'm hoping to get some good ideas on here. Please be as detailed as possible about your sleep time arrangements and what you do. Thanks so much!
I've done night time EC with two kids, but it was a while ago with both of them. I co-slept with both of them. My eldest was the easiest to EC at night. If she had to pee at night, she'd sleep with her butt up in the air. Kind of hard to miss. My second child was more difficult. I got in the habit of offering the potty before we started nursing when he woke during the night and then nursing him while he sat on the potty at night. If he didn't go after a couple minutes, we just laid back down. Does that help?
Partner to R ('03); Parent to T ('07), A ('10), and E ('13)
Any info is helpful! How old were your kids when you were EC'ing at night? And did they wear diapers or anything just in case? I'm trying to figure out what the best kind of diaper or clothes to put her in at night would be. With the current situation if I try to potty her she wakes up completely and then is a long time falling back to sleep.
We started at birth with my second. He had his days and nights mixed up for about a month, but once he started to get the night concept down, he hated having his clothes (including a diaper) taken off during the night, so eventually we started just letting him sleep naked at night, which greatly improved his willingness to use the potty at night again. Also, sleeping with him naked made it easier to tell when he had to pee. He often got an erection if he had to pee (during the day or night; really it was one of the best signs), but really, I was so tired that it was easier just to always offer than to check first. In the early. Months, he almost always had to pee (and even at three he gets up once a night to pee). I never found a system for protecting the bed that didn't create a whole bunch of laundry (and hoping to find a better solution for when baby number 3 arrives). We just had a mattress cover on the bed, a synthetic (I'm allergic to wool) blanket to try to keep the cover dry, and a prefold that he generally kicked off to prevent the fountain effect. he really hated a cold potty at night, so I kept the potty right by the radiator and if it was still cold, my partner would go rin warm water on it to warm it up. We definitely tried to move him as little as possible: we brought the potty to the bed, not him to the potty. If he woke too much, he would not use the potty or go back to bed easily. I often nursed him as I picked him up. When he was really little, I would just stuff a prefold at the bottom of a jar and keep him lying down nursing as he peed. At 5-6 months, though, I would nurse him as soon as he sat on the potty. This might sound like a lot, but with both my kids, once they started consistantly eliminating in the potty at night, they slept so much better, and I expect wetness and/or a full bladder was the cause of some of our nightwaking issues for our firstborn. HTH!
Partner to R ('03); Parent to T ('07), A ('10), and E ('13)
Honestly... I found diapers to be a hassle for night time EC. It was a mental thing for me. A diaper was just more to take off, and struggle to put back on when I was half-asleep. I did it anyway, up until... oh.... a week and a half ago? Where my son has been sleeping all night diaperless. You could use a prefold belt and prefolds, at the bare minimum. Or if you're fine using diapers when you're half asleep that's up to you. But for me, personally, they were a total hassle for night time EC. And I was much more likely to miss because when he'd stir I'd tell myself, "Oh, I'll potty him next time... I'm too tired right now.." but that next time, was too late, and he'd soak his diaper. Diaperless I just pick him up, pop him on the potty, set him back down in bed and nurse back to sleep. SOO many less steps.
You might want to consider a potty slip-on to keep the seat warm, or a diaper that doesn't take as much struggle. Like I said, I think a prefold and belt would be a good compromise. Something that's real easy to take off, and real easy to put back on with minimal steps.
Here's a video of hat we did with the toddler when he was 4 months. Around crawling he began to refuse and I just changed him when he wet, but he was mostly dry around 6 months.
He still cannot sleep naked, cold air makes him whizz. Where he will be dry all night if he wears a diaper, he will pee several times a night if he's bare or in undies/trainers. They both use a belt and diaper at night like in the video.
We only did nighttime EC because DS demanded it- he would kick and kick and kick for hours until he finally peed himself, but if I pottied him, he would go right back to sleep and we all slept better with out the kicking! I think if he had been happy to pee in his diaper, I would have been happy to sleep more! So if it wakes up your DD and you all lose sleep, it might not be right for her. I'd say, if it doesn't give you all MORE sleep within a week or so, can it.
Backup: We used ECA pants for nighttime after about 6 mo, when he would kick off the prefold in the belt too easily... They're a little easier than traditional diapers to on/off at night. But the best was definitely by about 11 or 12 mo we took the plunge and let him sleep naked, and as PP said, SO much easier. We had tried this earlier, but resulted in me getting peed on way too much. I would recommend giving it a try though- if you can get away with it from the start it will make your life so much easier. If it's cold, I'd use a long wool shirt to sleep in, or wool chaps...
Bedproofing: A thick wool blanket under your sheet with a few towels or recieiving blankets around to lay on top of a wet in case of miss. When he was newborn we had a wool puddle pad under him by by 6 or 8 mo he was too rolly to stay on it, so we just waterproofed the whole bed.
Receptacle: varied by age- when he was really little we aimed at the tub, because he had a really strong stream. But it is way nicer to have something bedside- early on it was a giant rubbermaid container! (becuase of that strong stream), later a yogurt container. For a girl you might try a top-hat potty that you can hold between your legs while you nurse, or a mixing bowl. I think at night an actual potty like a BBLP can me more trouble than it's worth. We could never nurse AND pee, but if you can figure it out, I think it will help keep DD asleep. We always used in-arms hold, usually while I sat on the side of the bed and aimed him into whatever it happened to be at the time, until he could stand on his own and then just put his feet on the floor and aimed him at the yogurt container. He never woke up much and would nurse to sleep again right after.
He is 33 mo now and usually goes the whole night without peeing, but sometimes we potty once if he seems super restless or drank a lot of water before bed or is on a nurse-a-thon.
"That's the way it is, if that's the way it seems to you."
"Cosi e se vi pare."
Her crib is in our room but we don't bed share. When she was tiny I had an alarm set for every 2 hours to feed her. Overnight when the alarm went off DH would take her to the bathroom to EC her before I fed her. Now I no longer set an alarm but I hear her stirring and grunting and the DH gets her out of the swaddle, takes her to the bathroom (tiny 1 bedroom apartment so it's right there) pulls up her little nightgown, takes off her diaper and cues her to go. And she does. And not before. She stays dry all night in fact we are way more catches (100%) at nighttime than during the day.
After she goes I feed her and she falls right back asleep. She's gotten to where she won't even poop at night. Last night she slept for 8 hours and woke up dry! I wish I had slept those same 8 but pretty much staid up staring at her waiting for her to give me a sign she had to go. I just couldn't believe it.
I started EC'ing at night when DS2 was about 5 mos.
I all of a sudden found myself double-diapering because he was actually soaking a diaper at night, even though we rarely missed throughout the day. He does not like the idea of interupting sleep to potty.
Once I realised diapering was actually going to take work I decided on a whim to throw caution to the wind and ditch the nightime diaper entirely. Bingo. He's maybe had 2 or 3 night time "misses" since.
For us, night time EC looks like:
- a two-piece outfit (in case of accident, I don't want a whole wardrobe change, just fresh pants are fine). Pants also help keep urine from spraying me.
- a receiving blanket folded in half, with a fleece blanket folded underneath that
- pottying before bed
- nursing first in the morning, then pottying (not the other way around- he'll have no part of that)
- if he falls asleep early, I'm more likely to nurse him on the potty once or twice through the night
Laurie, wife to DH (Aug/04), mom toDS1 (Nov/05) and DS2 (June/12).