We had our daughter Isadora on September 24, 2013, at 4:14am. Weighing in at 8lb even and a short 18 3/4" long, she's a beaut! I'm preparing a series of instructions/storytelling on starting EC from birth...so stay tuned for that.
The day before going into labor, I recorded this episode #15 of the Go Diaper Free Podcast: Preparing for EC with a New Baby. Funny how that timing worked out, eh?
Listen to this episode if you are expecting a child and would like to know what to gather, gear- and resource-wise, prior to your birth.
In this episode, I cover:
- What gear you need to gather such as clothing, diapers, potties, creams, and pads
- What you may not know you did not need
- What learning resources you will need
- The importance of not "winging it"
- Your support network (or lack thereof)
- Exactly how I prepared for Isadora's arrival, with the intention of ECing from Day 1
- Plus much more...
Some links + resources I mentioned in this session
- my newly-updated supply list (2022 and newer!) - where to find all the most current things mentioned in today's episode
- 12 Weeks' Sleep by 12 Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano (audible version is most up-to-date)
- EC Simplified: Infant Potty Training Made Easy (version 3.0) by Andrea Olson has been replaced by my new book, Go Diaper Free: A Simplified Handbook for Elimination Communication, by Andrea Olson
- our community Members' area here on Go Diaper Free comes exclusively with my book, above
Download the transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
This is the Go Diaper Free Podcast with Andrea Olson, session 15 - gettin’ ready for a new baby!
Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast, where we're all about
teaching you how to stop changing diapers, starting at birth. And
now your host…she’s planning to do a big dance production on
A QUICK NOTE FROM ANDREA: Hey ya’ll...so I recorded the following episode less than 24 hours before birthing my daughter. Obviously I didn’t know that it would take me a week to get it out there to you, but I’m sure you understand! I had a hard time getting thru the recording with the breathless last days of pregnancy thing...no lung capacity! But I think this episode turned out nicely. Anyway, funny that the episode about preparing for EC with a new baby was recorded about 12 hours before labor began! Let’s just say that I WAS prepared after all. :) Stay tuned for future episodes and blog posts on how exactly to start EC from day #1 with a new baby...my new series inspired by our first week with Isadora...including our exciting birth story. Enjoy this episode and get ready for baby!
Hi there everyone! Welcome to today’s show. Yes, I’m planning a big dance production piece on birth...look for it in the middle of 2014.
Since I’m about to give birth to my second child, I figured this episode would be quite timely. And I know a lot of you are expecting your first, second, or more, babies...so hopefully this session of the Go Diaper Free podcast will help everyone know what they need, and don’t need, to get when preparing to do Elimination Communication with a new baby.
We’re going to talk about gear first, such as clothing, diapers, potties, creams, and pads...and then we’re going to talk about learning resources and your support network. All these things are important to a good EC practice, and you will learn what you specifically need, and don’t need, to gather in preparation for your wee one’s exciting arrival! I’ll use myself and our preparations for Isadora’s arrival as an example throughout this session.
First of all: gear.
In the process of preparing for a second baby, a lot of my gathering instincts have been directed toward going through second-hand stuff from my first baby, and from friends. I also have a baby registry where I am able to specify exactly what I want people to get for the new baby.
Now, since I didn’t know the sex of my first baby in 2010, I have a lot of neutral colored clothing from his newborn-6 month range. I went ahead and kept those things that will work for a girl and those things that will work for EC. Btw, we did find out the sex this time because my son, Kaiva, was so certain it was going to be a girl that we wanted to confirm so he didn’t feel disappointed should we have had a boy. The clinic offers a DNA test of the mother’s blood at 12 weeks that gives, with 99% accuracy, the sex of the new baby. It was pretty high tech and non-invasive, and I’m happy we found out! So, yes, confirmed it was a girl, so it was easier to collect for EC knowing that, in some ways.
But for your collection purposes, you can gather neutral or gender-oriented clothing that aligns with the following guidelines (and please note that links to find and/or purchase EVERYTHING in this podcast that I mention, gear-wise and resource-wise, will be provided in the show notes for this episode at godiaperfree.com/15):
- Choose tiny tshirts and kimono wraps over onesies. Some like to EC with onesies holding in the prefold diaper backup...but I personally find multiple snaps to be a pain in the butt. Many tiny baby tshirts are long enough to keep the belly covered and kimono wrap shirts, in long or short sleeves, are very easy to get on and off of baby. I have about 6 tiny tshirts and kimono tops from my first baby that I’m going to use for Isadora, and I’ve registered for 6 more in the 0-6 month range. We never had a spitup prob with Kaiva so I didn’t really need more than 6! Btw, my registry is at amazon.com. You can add products from any website on the internet, which is cool for those of us who don’t want a babies-r-us-only registry and want to include items from WAHM-run EC stores like EC Wear. I’ll put a link in the show notes so you don’t need to remember any of this!
- Use legwarmers and/or long socks underneath pants if you’re in a colder season or climate, or if your house is quite drafty or kept cool. I find that BabyLegs’ legwarmers stay on better if they are layered over long socks like Hank & JoJo’s makes (again, the link to get these rare finds will be in the show notes) - otherwise they tend to slide right off. And tiny socks generally fall off, though I have found some that don’t. Luck of the draw I suppose. So, I have 3 pairs of Rock-a-Thigh Baby long baby socks left from Kaiva, 3 pairs of Hank & JoJo’s long baby socks, one pair of tiny wool baby socks, and one pair of baby legwarmers left (the rest got lost along the way, I suppose!). I’ve registered for 3 more pairs of legwarmers and a set of 6 pairs of tiny baby socks to complete my collection for the legs and feet.
- Bottoms-wise, there are several options. You can go super-EC and get chaps to use along with a diaper cover and prefold backup. EC Wear has some lovely ones that I’ll link to in the show notes. This allows quick EC and the use of a back-up, which I will cover in a second. You can also do what I did and get 3 or so pairs of footed, elastic-waisted cotton pants and use them over the diaper back-up. You just grab the sewn-on footies and pull off on your way to the potty. Very very convenient and easy-on, easyoff... which is our goal here. If you’re in a warmer season or climate, you skirt past using bottoms and just use a diaper backup with or without legwarmers or socks. I’m re-using the 3 pairs of footed pants from Kaiva’s babyhood, as they’re all neutral in color, and I’ve registered for 3-6 month sized elastic-topped pants that don’t have feet sewn-in, as they tend to inhibit crawling. Oh, and I also made some soft, liquid-resistant elastic-topped pants from a wonderful book I got - the creative family - from an old cashmere sweater that was collecting dust in the closet. And, in the past I’ve made 3 pairs of split-crotch pants from a pattern I’ll post in the show notes. Geez...one more thing...Marija from EC Wear provided me with a few samples of her split crotch pants that I’ll be testing out on Isadora too. Ok, I swear, that’s all for bottoms, for now! :)
- Dresses and nightgowns - if you are having a girl, you can find lots of dresses and nightgowns that will make EC pretty easy as well. I got a couple of long baby nightgowns when Continuum Family was still in business and plan to let Isadora sleep in those, with legwarmers, for easy sleeptime EC. Obviously you can use nightgowns for boys, too. Dresses - I’m not so into them and it is Autumn already, but in the Spring I imagine we’ll stock up on some for that season and the Summertime, and I imagine EC will be made simpler with this option. Also, in most dress sets you get a pair of cloth bloomers that can be used for tiny undies then or in the future - so hang onto those bloomers!
- My midwives told me that a newborn baby can’t make his own heat very efficiently yet and they advised that, through a few months old at least, we dress them in one more layer than we, the parents, are dressed, to keep their body heat up. Adding a hat and socks prevents heat from escaping through these notorious areas as well. I have a couple of newborn hats from the last babe, and have made a few knot hats from old tshirts and random cloth scraps through a really cool pattern that I’ll also share in the show notes at godiaperfree.com/15.
- As for a diaper back-up, which I’ve mentioned a lot, let’s chat about that really quickly. I do not recommend doing EC without a diaper back-up unless your particular baby does best ECing naked or without a diaper to provide “resistance,” otherwise thought of as an inspiration to signal (like, get this thing off of me so I can pee, please!). I registered for a case of newborn sized Seventh Generation Diapers to get me started because I am not a purist cloth diaperer. With Kaiva I used them til 5 months old...with Isadora it will be less than that. But I find that a lot of the times I used way less than I would have if I didn’t EC, so the guilt factor is minimal for me and the convenience makes up for it. I have 3 Grovia covers left over from Kaiva, and 15 prefolds - 10 are cotton and 6 are nighttime-friendly hemp/cotton blends. The velcro on the Grovia covers is kind of janky at this point, so I went ahead and registered for 3 more. I also registered for another dozen cotton prefolds and need to add a small wool diaper cover for nighttime to that registry. I have one left over from Kaiva but it’s a medium. I also have wool soaker pants left over from Kaiva - which are great when you move to undies at night. Anyway, gather what diaper back-up you feel most confident or optimistic about.
- Tiny underwear-wise...I didn’t find it necessary to gather that much for a newborn because I personally didn’t use undies til 9 months with K. But I did find his and set them aside for use in the future. I collected some while in Thailand and primarily used the Gerber 100% cotton training pants as undies at 9+ months with him. I have about a dozen of the latter and 9 of the Thai undies, which were plenty.
- Wipes-wise, I have 20 cloth Thirsties wipes left over from Kaiva, which are indispensable. I would rinse his bum in the sink and blot dry with these after rinsing post-poo. I also used the former version of Seventh Generation’s disposable wipes (complete with wipe warmer) if need in those special crevices and any missed poops or skid mark remnants on his bum. Luckily, Amazon has re-listed the old version of these wipes - the new ones suck. Note: always dry the areas you’ve wiped with a wet wipe after wiping...it will reduce the likelihood of diaper rash.
- Now let’s talk about creams and pads. I registered for Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm - just one jar lasted me 18 months last time. This stuff is GREAT. After wiping and cleaning any red areas, I put it on him and his skin loved it. It’s also great for later on when your baby is a young toddler and bonking his head and body a lot…excellent wound control.
- Pad-wise, I still have the 4 or 5 Thirsties plastic-backed cotton changing pads that I used with Kaiva. After 100’s of washes, they are still in great condition. I used these to potty him over at night and when the EC hold didn’t work for us.
- Ok, so gathering potties this time around - I still have my tophat potty or potty bowl from Kaiva’s days, and the cozy that went on top. Indispensable for pottying in the parked car and for pottying while breastfeeding, at night, whenever. I also still have my bEcoPotty, the biodegradable potty, and the cozy for that...excellent for when Isadora begins holding her head up on her own and I can start sitting her on the potty facing me. Between these I’m covered. You can also go without and simply use the toilet and/or sink.
Which brings me to an important point - you don’t necessarily NEED all this special gear. Get creative and use what you’ve got, re-use stuff from your house or your friends, be open to doing it your own way, k?! :)
Now let’s chat about learning resources and your support network.
Let me start by saying this: Regardless of what learning and support resources you choose, this is what I want you to take away from this part of this episode on starting with a new baby: find a clear starting point, educate yourself, and commit to starting at whatever level is comfortable for you (part-time or fulltime, day only, day and night...once a day, whatever it is). And then find a private community that can provide you with support for something that most people aren’t comfortable or familiar enough with to really help.
Now for my recommendations:
- Most of you know that I wrote a book on the topic of making EC simpler for folks...and the most recent version of that book, 3.0) has been awesomely pruned and transformed into the learning materials section of the GoDiaperFree.com Program, which is due out this winter (if it’s not already live by the time you listen to this episode!). I’ve filtered everything out there on the topic, made it super-easy to learn and troubleshoot, and then added what we’ve learned on our private EC forum over the last 2 years. It is absolutely the easiest and most relevant way to learn, start, and troubleshoot EC with any age baby, and definitely covers practicing all aspects of EC from the newborn age.
So, as far as learning resources go, I am a bit biased. When I was pregnant I NEEDED help and couldn’t quite piece it together from books and forums and groups myself. So, I created my learning tools. And you can get them at godiaperfree.com and avoid the scrambling I had to do in the early months of having my baby. Check that out and email me if you have questions about it.
- Go Diaper Free also contains a built-in support network, which you’re gonna need if you’re practicing EC and, like most of us, do not know more than 1 or 2 other parents who even know what EC is. We have a lively community of worldwide ECing parents who offer support to one another, and I’m on there answering questions weekly as well.
I highly advise against getting all your EC learning and troubleshooting done via a Facebook group. Yes, they are free, but you are gonna get overwhelmed with the number of responses, and there is not mentorship or moderation that will protect you from being suggested things that don’t really work for everyone. Trust me on this one. I get those folks on my forum after they’ve tried for months to wing it and things completely backfire.
So, to reiterate my point again: Regardless of what learning and support resources you choose, the point I’m trying to make is: find a clear starting point, educate yourself, and commit to starting at whatever level is comfortable for you (part-time or fulltime, day only, day and night...once a day, whatever it is). And then find a private community that can provide you with support for something that most people aren’t comfortable or familiar enough with to really help.
Whatever you do, don’t wing it. There are things you do at the start of an EC practice that will either blossom later on or hinder your progress. I want to set you up for success, so come join us if you feel called.
So, that’s it for preparing for EC with a new baby! I definitely feel prepared for Isadora’s arrival. I’ve decided to go for 50/50 pees and 100% poops, and to limit nighttime EC because I’m going to try cry-free sleep teaching early-on. I will definitely share more about marrying nighttime EC and sleep teaching in a later episode as I learn more….it’s something many of you have expressed interest in!
Meanwhile, gear and resource -wise, I do feel prepared and I hope that this episode has helped prepare you as well. If I’ve missed anything essential, please share with us all in a blog comment on this episode’s post at godiaperfree.com/15 - which is also where you will find up-to-date links for every single resource and piece of gear that I’ve mentioned in this episode (and the best places to find these sometimes rare items). That should get you started!
Til next time, happy pottying. :)
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About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 5 children (all under 10 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)