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How did you break the news to your family?

602 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Kokopelli-mana
Hi I just started EC'ing my 2nd child ds 2-3 wks ago at 3.5 months. Things are going fairly well given that it's all new to us. I have him nakey at home and catch more than I miss and he's definately responding to cues sometimes.
I'm already worrying about how to tell my family (my mom, sis, etc). They have not been too supportive of our extended breastfeeding, AP, no circ, no CIO parenting style from the gitgo. They have come around a bit though on the AP since they see how well adjusted my 3.5 yr old dd is.
I'd like them to know so I can share my successes and failures with them, and so that I don't feel like I'm carrying some big secret. Plus, I'm so excited about how well this is working! It's amazing how babies express their elimination needs and how we can help them with those needs. My goal is not to have ds "trained" early, but rather to respond to his needs and to not force him to lose his dignity and elimination awareness by going in a diaper.
The thing is, we spend about 3 days per week at my parent's shore house in the summer, along with my parents, brother and his kids, and my sis and her kids. There will be no way to hide EC. Nor do I want ds to "perform" for them. So how should I tell them? I would love to know how each of you told your families. And what should I expect in terms of support? Also I think it will be hard to have ds nakey in their home all the time. Do I have to diaper when I'm there in between potty visits?
Thanks in advance for all your help and advice!
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My family has been very supportive, with the exception of my older brother. Once he saw it in action, though, he kind of just shut up about it. He's still skeptical, but he doesn't say anything. Sorry I can't give more advice on that. (I told my family about it before we were even pregnant, so they've had time to get used to it. Plus they're kind of hippies anyway!)

One thing that has worked for me with people whose reaction I think may be negative, is to act like I don't know anyone else is doing this. I don't give them advance warning, I just do it in front of them and when they ask what the heck I'm doing, I act very nonchalant and say, "Oh, it's just easier to use the potty than clean up after using a diaper." If I act like it's no big deal, people usually follow my lead. If they say "Wow, you're potty training early," I do always make sure they know it's not potty training. But basically I just pretend I made it up on my own. If they want more info, then we can talk about it and their reaction is usually amazement, not scorn.

Yes, we diaper DS when we're at other people's houses. It makes people feel less nervous about the whole thing. (He's actually in diapers most of the time, except when we're at home.) We still communicate, though!

Good luck with this!
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My family was very UN-supportive of EC. In fact, my mom, who watches my dd while I'm at work, flatly refuses to even TRY, and has gone so far as to hide my dd's potty chair. I don't know what her hang up is, and frankly, I couldn't care less.

I agree with the PP. Just do it. And don't worry about their reactions. I really like Linda's suggestion to act like you don't even know anyone else is doing it. This way you won't get into the "but we're not living in some jungle in Africa" debate that I had with my mother when I chanced mentioning how other cultures go about pottying their children.

Re: diapering at their house, honestly, out of respect for their things, I'd probably diaper my girl, but I'd make sure she NEVER sat in a wet dipe. The last thing you want to do is get her used to being wet at this stage. It's harder to get the diaper off and get her on teh potty in time, but, for me, it would be easier than dealing with my mother going off about how the baby MIGHT pee on her floor or something.

I have mother issues.

Best of luck, and come back to let us know how it's going!

ETA: I just noticed you're in central NJ; I am too! Where abouts? Nevermind, I'll just send you a PM.
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my mom was a *tiny bit* taken aback at first but admitted that it was just her western cultural stance holding her back. Some of her hesitance was my doing since I had made some disparaging remarks a couple of years ago telling her with surprise about the way all the babies and young kids here (we live in Beijing) wear their little split pants, pee in the street, in the grocery store aisles. And even how adults (why is it always males, it seems?) are always peeing by the roadside or on a wall in an alley, all the time without a second thought.

Mom got used to the idea after just one phone conversation and I think she would be really keen to see EC in action on our next visit.

But keep in mind that my mom is pretty cool & is open to new ideas generally (EBF, was a La Leche mom, co-slept, did natural and even home birth way back in the early 70's, is a secular humanist-Unitarian Universalist living in the deep Arkansas Bible Belt--no offense guys)

Believe me, for lots of reasons (not the least of which is that she's an RN!) she refuses to tell a soul besides my bro and sis about my recent planned unassisted homebirth when Mom even caught the baby, or about my EC adventures--it's all just too much for those in her circle.

I think that opening the discussion with something like the following might soften the blow:

"I've been thinking about the difficulties I had potty learning with my oldest" (or watching my friend's child potty learn, or X family member) and does it really make sense from the child's point of view that we'd first teach that we pee in our pants...and then suddenly try to have them unlearn that habit. I've been reading about the way that Asians and Indians don't diaper their babies & it sounded sort of odd at first but it really makes sense,,,etc."

Or anything that takes EC into the theoretical and gives them time to adjust to the idea of "maybe trying it out" rather than risking that they might be sensitive to the fact that you've been keeping this from them for any length of time.

Oh yes, and about being in their home...Westerners are a little freaked about the idea of little baby pees so generally speaking i'd probably put on a diaper if a lot of other people will be holding the baby. If it's me doing most of the holding, I'd prob. just drape a prefold or other cloth like a loincloth 'just in case' and definitely diaper him whenever I needed to concentrate on something else. But like a pp said, you can EC and diaper respectfully. If you use a fleecey pocket dipe, even if it's wet for a couple of minutes it doesn't feel so wet to the babe.
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I agree with much of what lizajane30 and SharonAnne suggested. Particularly, the idea of 'just do it'. I spoke to my parents about it first... made sure it was okay with them for me to "conduct business" in their home with our newborn and then asked them to support my choice if there were any comments made by my siblings. I did specify that I wasn't asking them to approve, but rather to come to terms with it (if need be) or simply accept it and try to back me up if the rude and obnoxious comments come at me from any of my brothers or sister. My Dad was very interested in the whole idea... and both were very willing to accept what I asked (I'm not asking them to change their own opinions is something I think that would make a big difference even with the most "defiant" parent/family).

I did disagree with SharonAnne's suggestion to not do it while at the shore house. There are plenty of ways to protect their environment from puddles or other mishaps. I love The EC store: On the page of the following link, there's this little belt (kinda like a headband, maybe you could even use one!) that I'm planning to use when guests are visiting so the privates are covered or if we have a boy so the wiz doesn't spray far away from the babe:

Additionally, I read an AWEsome idea in this forum a while back from a mama who had carpet (I think) and didn't want to worry about baby going nakie all the time. (This idea would work particularly well as long as baby doesn't crawl and you can make sure the protector remains under the genitals.) So, basically she found wool military blankets and flannel (or other nice feeling)pillow cases at thrift stores, cut the blankets so they would fit inside the pillow cases and then used them as a pad for baby to lie on to play or whatever. Depending on the amount of pee or pooh, she suggested that you could fold it over for secondare and even tertiary uses before laundering. I love this idea so much I'm definitely going to do it for our new baby (especially at my parent's house because they have cold wood floors!).

Another thought/problem I would have with not ECing at the shore house is that it's REALLY messin up the routine. And it sounds like you're pretty devoted. If you were part-timin' it, maybe not doing it for 3 days wouldn't be as bad? But to me... if my family was going to be THAT obnoxious about my baby and the parenting methods I'm implementing, I would not spend the time with them. I feel VERY strongly that my children need me more than my sibs and parents do... so I deal accordingly.

Of course, this is all just my opinion. Hope you are able to come to some workable agreement with your fam.
Good luck!
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Thanks so much for the great replies. (Liora, I too had a planned unassisted CB with ds and it was the most transending experience of my life!) I wanted to give you an update:
I told my parents first. I just said that we hold him over the potty or sink when we think he as to go, and that he usually goes on cue. They were surprisingly not too shocked and said they trusted us to do what we feel is best.
I told my sis next. She said she isn't surprised given that I do "everything the alternative way" (The whole family sees breastfeeding, AP, co-sleeping, no-CIO, cloth diapering, and no circ as "unconventional"). She said she kind of thinks it's pointless but she didn't have a strong reaction against it. (BTW, she feels it's pointless but her ds is almost 7 and pees every night and during naps, her dd is 4 and still has both pee and poo accidents... but that's a whole other post)
So my cousin found out about it as well. She has a 2.5 yr old ds and there has been no attempt at potty training, plus a 3 month old ds. Her mom, my aunt will be watching my new ds when I go back to work 2 days per week in May. I told her I didn't expect her mom to do anything special (I meant not anything YET), and she was like, "good, because we'd just tell you, 'yeah, he peed in the sink 5 times today'" even though they won't really take him. So needless to say I'm worried about that. I'm dreading working anyway but I carry the medical benefits.
So I told them, and we'll see how it goes. As far as my aunt goes, I'm thinking I should wait until he can sign potty and then ask her to take him when he signs. That won't be for another 4 months or so. It's going to be our biggest EC challenge. Any advice on that front would also be appreciated.
Thank you!
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I was pleasantly surprised when I told my MIL about EC. She's a bit of a germ-a-phobe, and pretty conventional, so I thought she'd be disgusted about diaper-free babies. I was wrong! Turns out, her sister in law practiced EC 25 years ago with her niece. Of course they didn't call it that, they just recognized that the little girl did not want to be in dirty diapers. She was diaper-free by 9 mos. MIL was really impressed back then and now thinks what I am doing is very dedicated. She even lets me pee ds in her sink!
So you never know, you may not realize how EC has already affected your family. Here's hoping, right?
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Sorry i somehow posted twice and i can't figure out how to delete. DS is crying, I gotta go....

Originally Posted by lioralourie
my mom was a *tiny bit* taken aback at first but admitted that it was just her western cultural stance holding her back. Some of her hesitance was my doing since I had made some disparaging remarks a couple of years ago telling her with surprise about the way all the babies and young kids here (we live in Beijing) wear their little split pants, pee in the street, in the grocery store aisles. And even how adults (why is it always males, it seems?) are always peeing by the roadside or on a wall in an alley, all the time without a second thought.
Totally off topic (after finding this in the "new posts" list) but doesn't it get stinky if people are always doing that? Particularly the part about men peeing on the walls of buildings? Inside grocery stores, at least it could be cleaned up. I think I have a very sensitive sense of smell because in travelling, I could always smell when humans had peed outdoors in the city (not so much in forests, etc., but it seems to linger on concrete and brick).
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my family thought i was nuts. my husband thought i was trying to potty train. they didn't give me any grief about it tho and i ended up giving up after 4months of no successes.
As far as having the baby babysat or in daycare goes, I thought that as long as the person watching was prompt with diaper changes that it wouldn't really hinder progress. Babies are fairly good at understanding "this is what mommy does with me, this is how it is with this other lady"

CalebsMama. That must have been frustrating. I mean, if you'd had support you probably would have had success, but you needed to have some success to convince your dh to give support. How very aggravating for you.
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hi, Riversky

well, the adult peeing is of course stronger than the babies pee...and the outdoor peeing is one of the prime reasons for the ahem, "scents of China" one experiences while walking here and there.

All stores have staff who are constantly mopping all the aisles.
Thanks Sapphire Chan. I hope ds will understand that he'll have to go in a diaper when at my aunt's but that I will take the time to take him to the potty when he needs to go. I hope it's not too frustrating for him. I think she'll be pretty good at changing him, and like I said, when he starts signaling I will ask her to help. I mean, if a child is signaling and wants to be taken to the potty, I hope she'd respect his wishes and not make him go in the diaper. I'll try to explain to her how much easier it is to wipe them after a poop over a receptacle rather than cleaning him up after a poopy diaper. When I had to change his poopy diaper at my brother's house today (We were there for Easter), it was a reminder of just how much messier those changes are.

CalebsMama - that's my worst nightmare. I'm really sorry you did not have more support. I suppose it's just like breastfeeding - the more support a woman has, the greater chance of her continuing despite initial hardships. We will be your support if you decide to try again.

I sent my Mom a link to one of the basic Natural Infant Hygeine pages so that she could have a bit more information, and she emailed me back that she isn't against it and that I should continue doing whatever I'm doing because he is such a happy baby. I am glad that she respects my parenting choices, even if she doesn't always agree with or understand them.
So far so good!
Oh and we are catching lots of (big) poops and pees lately!! And I just love the new Poquito pants I got in the mail Friday.
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