I have a confession to make.
A dirty, filthy, so-not-PC-for-EC, confession.
I bought a pack of size 5 Seventh Generation disposable diapers 3 days ago.
Let me explain...and in doing so, perhaps you can feel a little less ashamed yourself.
He was dry all night at 20 months.
Cooper, my 3rd baby, super duper chill, and longest in diapers in my household (17 months til daytime diapers were ditched - although he would never poop in them)...was completely dry at one wakeup per night, and in the morning, at 20 months old.
(Yes, I know it's not a race. Yes, I know babies are all unique. Yes, I know I'm not supposed to compare. Stay with me.)
To be honest: I was thrilled to be done with sleeptime diapers.
My first was in a cloth backup til 26 months, then spontaneously dry each night.
My second was in a disposable backup til 26 months, then spontaneously dry each night.
I was thrilled that Coop was done sooner. I don't like diapers, and I have a newborn. I hated buying diapers that would get crusty because we'd use them over and over again. Always coming up dry.
Cooper was dry at night at 20 months.
And then he wasn't.
Yep, I put him in trainers with covers and he did fine for about a week. Then the accidents started happening. Then he'd wake up twice instead of once or none.
Then he started peeing himself at nap, too.
He wouldn't say a word, would just lay there in it. I'd come in and say, "Aw, buddy, did you pee your pants again?" And he'd say "Yes" (with a cute lisp).
I'd say, "Doesn't that feel yucky?" And he'd say, "No."
(Typical 2 year old, right?)
Daytime EC was going better and better and better. EC at preschool was going amazingly well. But nighttime was an outright disaster.
After washing the entire set of sheets, blanket, and pillows, twice a day, for weeks on end...I was DONE.
So, 3 days ago, after his 2nd birthday party, I went to Ingles, our local grocery store, and I held my breath as I walked down the diaper aisle and checked packages for his weight.
He is 33 pounds. He now fits in a size 5. With my first and second, I never bought past size 3!
Oh, the shame.
I was flooded with it.
This kid has hardly ever pooped his pants. Is completely diaper-free in the day. And I was buying diapers again after thinking I was done?
Yes, again, you can tell me it's not a race. Any of you could get on any old high horse and look down your nose upon me and tell me not to pressure my dear little one, not to have absurd expectations of him. You could scold, reprimand, and judge me if you like.
But, I am an honest person, and I honestly felt shame putting that package into my cart. And I want to confess that to you. Because I know I'm not alone.
And then 3 days pass.
Three days of naps and nighttimes in a disposable diaper backup...and I no longer feel any shame at all. The shame has just slipped away.
Because guess what? 3 nights in to using the Seventh Generation size 5 diaper as a back-up at night and naps...and he has come up dry every single time.
Yes, ironically, 3 nights in disposables, and he's been dry every single time.
He's sleeping more deeply.
Waking up less often.
Feeling more self-confident.
We've re-used the same disposable over 3 days' time.
And I'm washing less sheets.
(Thank goodness for that silver lining.)
Now for the moral of this story...
I've gone through a Heroine's Journey with today's tale. I've been "there and back again."
Now I'm ready to report back to YOU.
Because if you're doing EC, you might have thought at one point or another:
"Andrea has it all figured out. She's perfect at EC. She never has misses and doesn't use disposables and is done so early."
But I'm a real mom, of 4 children, 3 of whom, statistically, should be in diapers, using them full-time as a wearable toilet.
This is how I came to the answer for our bed-wetting problem
I did what I would have told any other mother of a 2 year old, ECed from birth, with a super chill temperament, who was now wetting the bed nightly, to do:
Use whatever nighttime back-up that gives you and your child the best sleep, keeps the bed dry, and gives YOU, the parent, the least stress.
I took my own medicine.
And this is what I want to pass on to you:
1// Use the nighttime/naptime backup that works best for YOU - be it disposable, cloth, naked, or commando - for this stage in your baby's life.
2// Do not feel guilty about your decision - you are certainly not doing nothing! Feeling guilty just makes everything worse. No one cares except you, and you're hardest on you, so let go and breathe. It will all work out in the end.
3// Weigh your sleeptime backup decision by these criteria:
- does it get baby the best sleep?
- does it help him stay dry?
- does it help the bed stay dry?
- does it keep you in the best mood as a parent?
- are you still working on daytime EC (so that eventually nighttime will follow the day)?
- are we having teething issues, illness, growth spurt, travel, or another milestone that may be interfering with sleep, with EC, or with baby? And will this backup help the situation any?
And that is it.
I just wanted to share that I am real.
To confess that I bought some disposables this week.
To encourage you. To tell you (and me) it's gonna be okay.
I am not Wonder Woman (although sometimes I wish I were Gal Gadot), and I, too, have to come off the high horse and do what REALLY works for any of my 4 children, in the moment.
I do not believe the diaper is a full-time toilet.
I do not believe in waiting for "toilet training readiness."
I do not believe in teaching my children to soil themselves without thought.
I am not perfect in my diaper usage, I'll be the first to admit it...but I am proud that I use 1/4 of the diapers as any non-ECing parent, all said. I am so proud of that. I finish in half the time, and I use half as many in the process (re-using and re-using, lots of diaper-free time, and paying attention to their expressed needs).
And I do this without harming my babies (EC is what humans across history have ALWAYS done).
In fact, I do this along with giving my babies their dignity and ownership of their own bodies, along with high self esteem and comfort in their own skin.
And I teach other parents how to do the same with their babies, to feel the same pride, to provide for their babies' expressed needs.
I am not perfect, but I am also not afraid to use the tools that work, even if someone might look down on me (especially me, looking down on me!).
I am proud - and please don't take my pride as arrogance or bragging. I feel blessed to have had this experience with my babies. (You might know what I mean.)
What I'll leave you with is this message, ECers:
The diaper, any diaper, is a TOOL. When doing Elimination Communication, you are welcome to use it as such, when needed, whatever that looks like.
Even if you're in a potty pause right now, using the diaper as a tool, you're still parenting with the Spirit of EC in the air. You are aware, and you are working thru this tough time with the aim of giving baby what she's asking for thru protesting: full independence. She deserves it, and the diaper is helping you at this very moment.
I genuinely hope that sharing this story with you has helped YOU feel a little relief today, one tiny bit of pressure taken off your dear shoulders, and added a little more peace to your life.
You deserve it.
Please share in the comments below, if you feel moved. Have you been here before? Are you there now? Are you feeling good or bad about your decisions?
Let's be there for each other. Standing in our imperfection. Our beautiful, messy, imperfection!
(And on that note, please be kind in the comments. This is a safe space! Share from the heart, mindful that everyone is imperfect, including, and maybe especially, yours truly.)