Wanting to EC from birth when your newborn arrives, but worried about how you’ll focus with an older sibling at home? We’ve got you (and your baby’s bottom) covered! Today Nicole will share helpful strategies to make EC with your second babe a little easier.
You Will Hear:
- Helpful ways to manage your expectations for EC with your newest addition
- What common regressions your older kiddo might go through and how to handle them
- Tips for making EC with your newborn a little easier
- How to involve the big sibling(s) in the process
- How partners, spouses, and relatives can help support
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Go Diaper Free Book
- Passing the Baton EC Program
- Top Hat Potty
- Mini Potty
- The Log app for iOS and Android
- Interview with Nicole Johnson of the baby sleep site
- Blog post on newborn EC with multiple older kids
- Go Diaper Free Store
- Tiny Undies Store
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
EPISODE 215: Newborn EC with and Older Sibling
Hello, and welcome to The Go Diaper Free Podcast. I am your host for today's episode, Nicole Cheever, Go Diaper Free Certified Coach and mama of three kiddos who all did EC and potty training at different ages and stages.
Welcome back. This is episode 215, Newborn EC with an Older Sibling. You can find the show notes over at godiaperfree.com/215. Ask a question, leave a comment, and find all of the links to everything I mentioned here in today's show. Today we are taking a question from Jessy, so let's take a listen.
Jessy: Hello, my name's Jessy and I'm from Germany. Our first daughter is two years and three months old and we've been practicing EC since birth. I just found out I'm pregnant with our second child and I wanted to ask a bit of a broader question, which is how to EC from birth with a newborn when there are already siblings there, when there's less time to, maybe you're not as hyper-focused on the newborn because you already have the toddler you live with. And if you have any tips for that. Thank you very much. Bye.
Thank you so much for the call, Jessy. First off, congratulations! Wishing you ease and peace and feeling good in your pregnancy, and congratulations on bringing this new member of your family into the world. It sounds like your first daughter may already be wrapped up, but in case she isn't, that would be step number one. And for those of you who are pregnant and you have a child who has not done EC or hasn't been potty trained yet or just hasn't been wrapped up, that's step number one.
For you Jessy, if you're not quite wrapped up, in the Go Diaper Free book, there is a section on wrapping up. It's the building blocks of potty independence. There is also a “Passing the Baton” mini course, but really since your daughter's older than 18 months, you probably just want to wrap it up with a potty training experience, which you can get the Tiny Potty Training Book and that gives you a really clear, easy plan on how to get her all potty independent before the new baby arrives.
Now, adjusting your expectations is important. It sounds like you are already aware of that. So, recognize that there will be some regression when your baby comes along and that's very typical. It happens in many areas; eating, sleeping, behavior, potting. Be ready for it. Make sure that if you are the primary person who is helping with toileting, that you integrate other people into that process because you know are going to be tied up with a newborn.
When my third came along, the few months before my baby was born, I was handing over bath time and then bedtime mostly to my husband and sometimes my mom when she would come and help. That way when baby came along, they were already taking over those tasks and I didn't have to worry that it was going to be a really sudden and harsh change for my older two. But there will be a little bit of jealousy that can really manifest sometimes in your older child wanting to become or behave more baby-like.
They could become interested more in bottles or nursing if they're weaned, or even if they're not weaned, they just might be interested in nursing more often now. They might see it as baby kind of encroaching on their territory or kind of like they're being replaced. Any way you can reassure them and reinforce that they still have a very special place in the family is going to help you. Whenever you are recovered and you can help again with potty time, that will be important, but just really spending special time with your older daughter. Quality is more important than quantity, but as long as it's focused time when your partner or spouse or another caregiver can take care of the baby and you can be focused on your older child, that will help.
And then going back to basics is never a bad idea. Go back to those steps either when you wrapped up EC or if you're going to do a potty training experience. Go back to those steps, understand that there will be misses, understand that there will be some regression and resistance and go to those troubleshooting sections and just patiently and kindly work through it. And that will also help to reinforce for your older child that she hasn't been replaced, that she's still important to you. It's kind of a test they run. They are feeling it out, trying to see, "Well, maybe if I start to act this way, maybe I really will be replaced in this family." But we just want to reassure them that, nope, they're still here, they're still special and we've still got their back. We're still going to help them. So, adjusting your expectations for how EC is going to look with the newborn is very important. It sounds like you've done that a little bit already.
For those of you listening who maybe have not done EC with your first child, I did EC with my oldest starting at about four months and then with my middle, we didn't start till she was about 16 months. My youngest, my third was the first baby that we actually did EC from birth. For me, I actually raised my bar. I said, "Okay, well I was only able to do it part-time with my first and then we ended up potty training at two and a half. We started later with my second. Now with my third, let's try to really do this from birth." I raised my bar a little bit.
For you, since you practiced from birth with your oldest, I would say lower it. That's obvious, right? You're going to not catch as much, you're going to not have as much time to be focused. Not being hyper focused is a benefit because when our lives become potty-centric, then it can actually hinder our EC practice. Counting misses can do the same. Doing it part-time can be very successful and a way to just sort of ease you in with this new addition to your family.
Even with full-time EC, Andrea usually says she only shoots for about 50% catches, so you might have to kind of redefine what success looks like for you, but just remember, you can absolutely start part-time from birth and increase it as you go. Ease it in. We started part-time with my youngest and we literally were just doing the wake-up pee. That was our number one easy catch we started with. We eased into poops really pretty easily after that, but you're going to need to choose what is going to be easy for you. That was easy for me. Wake-up pees might not be easy for you or your family.
You don't have to necessarily go by the four easy catches that we have listed in the Go Diaper Free book. That could be a jumping off point for you, but it will be up to you to determine what is actually easy for you to catch. And then if it's not easy for you to catch, don't break your back doing it. My older two were going to preschool when I had my youngest, and after my husband went back to work, I was in charge, of course, of getting them breakfast and getting them ready to go. Well, I always knew I was going to miss that pee with the baby during breakfast. So, I used the backup the way it's supposed to be used. It's a tool to help you when you can't get to the potty quickly enough, there's not one available, you're busy with other children, whatever the life situation may be.
Get comfortable with using that backup, whatever you choose. And I knew that the baby would start to fuss while I had my hands full with breakfast and I would just say to her, "Mama will be right there. Go ahead and just go in your diaper." Now, she wasn't understanding those word for word phrases as an infant or a newborn, but she was understanding my tone of voice and the attention I was paying to her and the reassuring nature of what I was saying. You can try something like that. "It's okay, baby, go ahead and use your diaper. Mama will be right there." And just repeating that, they'll start to learn that during those times they're going to use the backup. They're going to fuss about it, which is normal. You would expect them to because they don't want to do it. And then you're just going to clean them up as soon as you can.
You will find a rhythm to your days and find what catches are actually easy and which ones you're just going to accept that, right now, we're not going to catch those and that's going to be okay.
You absolutely should involve your older daughter in potting with the baby. There are a lot of ways you can do this, but I recommend definitely showing her how to help and then actually letting her help. Some of us, it can be really hard to let go of those reins and especially when older children are maybe still learning what it's like to be gentle with a baby or be careful. The more you let her do it, the more you will see her rise to the occasion.
There are a few things you can do. You can get her a doll so that she can model what you're doing with the baby. She can potty her doll when you potty the baby. If you had a top hat potty for your older daughter and you're planning on using one again, I would get a new one in a different color. So your older daughter can use her top hat potty that she thinks is hers for the dolly, and then your baby has their own top hat potty and you can do that together. Again, reinforce to your older daughter that she has not been replaced and her things aren't getting taken over.
You can send her to get you a clean diaper or nappy. You can try to have her dump out the top hat potty into the sink or the toilet. Newborns typically don't pee a lot. They don't pee a large quantity, so there's less risk of having a big spill somewhere. But you can show your older daughter how to empty the top hat potty for you. Or even if you're using a mini potty, it's got a nice handle on it and you can do that, too. That will definitely give her a sense of pride and like she's helping out and has a very important job. Sounds like she's going to be about three when you have the new baby. Tell her how important it is to you and how special it is to you that she's helping you out with her younger sibling and that will help a lot, too.
You can even involve her in the wake-up pees. We do a family pee, we call it a Pee Pee Party. Either when it's the final pee before bed, we're like, "Okay, let's have a Pee Pee Party," or if we're going to be going somewhere. You can involve her in that way too, where she can be potting when you're potting the baby.
Another quick tip is, ask for help and make the most of getting help. Whether it's help with your toddler or help with the newborn, both things will make your life a lot easier. If you don't have family nearby or your spouse can't stay home for paternity or maternity leave as long as you'd like. If there's any way you can hire somebody, a postpartum doula, if you can get help, that will really ease the process.
You can either use our caregiver guide that comes with the Go Diaper Free book and line out when baby usually needs to potty, what their signals are. If you don't know when baby usually needs to potty, you can use The Log app, which is a lot easier I find than the paper observation log (that's still in the resource center for the book if you prefer paper). But having a baby in your hands with a toddler, sometimes it's just easier to grab your phone and the press of a button, you can log their timing. That way you can jot that down on the caregiver guide and show your caregiver when they're going to be able to potty the baby so that you can have that sort of off your plate and use that time to be concentrated on your toddler or vice versa. If you can have a caregiver helping out with a toddler, that makes a big difference, too.
Then also make sure your toddler's getting enough sleep. We want to make sure everyone in the family is getting enough sleep really, because the newborn period is already a sleep-deprived period. But if you've also got an overtired toddler on top of it, that will make things extra difficult, not just in the EC arena, but everywhere. I know Andrea has used the Baby Sleep Site in the past and, actually on that recommendation, I've used it before too.
With my second, we were having a struggle where she and I were really not getting a lot of sleep. The rest of the family was, but we weren't. And so we used that service and it's incredibly customized. Whatever your choices are, they're super EC-friendly. You would be surprised, the moment when I took the intake call for the Baby Sleep Site, they asked me if I was doing EC. So, they're very aware. There's a podcast episode that I'll link from the Baby Sleep Site that Andrea did an interview with.
They will customize your sleep plan to whatever your family situation is, whatever your choices are, without judgment, whatever your setup is, and they will help you all get a lot more sleep so that you can all be well rested and ready to tackle everything, including EC. I will link to those. I will link also, if you are listening and either you are pregnant and you haven't potty trained your older child or children, or maybe you have a baby and an older child still in diapers, there is podcast 194, on wrapping up two kids at the same time who are not twins, so kids of different ages.
And then podcast 81 is a similar topic to this about how to do EC with a baby when you've got multiple kids. If this is not your second child and you're listening, if you're pregnant with number 3, 4, 5, or beyond, Andrea has done this four times and is about to do it for a fifth time again. She's got some extra tips for all of you in that episode. And then you can go ahead and head on over to the show notes and find all the links that I mentioned here. Please leave a comment, ask questions if you have them and let us know: have you ever done EC with a second or subsequent baby? What worked for you? Let us know.
Thank you again so much, Jessy, for the call and thank you all for tuning in today. We'll see you next time.
Thanks so much for listening. This is The Go Diaper Free Podcast at godiaperfree.com. We'll see you next time.
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