Pros and Cons of Starting EC with a Newborn Baby
Hi, I'm Andrea Olson with Go Diaper Free and I teach new parents about elimination communication or pottying a baby as early as birth. Today, I'm going to talk about the pros and cons of starting a baby as a newborn, at birth or within the first six months.
So starting a baby within the first six months, obviously, starting at birth, people are very intimidated by this, but it is the easiest time to start and definitely a way to instill EC in your lifestyle and to stick with it over the months and years to come. More like months, actually, not years. Starting at newborn is great because babies within zero to four months old, in that first sort of trimester, they call it the fourth trimester, as they're still sort of in creature land and they haven't completely come into their bodies yet, and they're still opening up to the world, they signal most primally and most loudly, usually by crying or fussing or wiggling. And it's very easy to pick up on signals with a baby who's, say, zero to three months old, zero to four months old.
This is why Laurie Boucke, another author, of Infant Potty Training, which is a wonderful book as well, she calls that the golden window of starting EC. The pros of starting at that age are not only they signal loudly... And also, babies, generally, do stop signaling after this first few months. But in the beginning, also, you're going to make this a part of your commitment to your child, a part of your parenting lifestyle and your rearing style. So it will stick much better. And even if you get off track, you're going to go back to it because it's like the point of no return, once you start doing EC, especially with a newborn, you generally don't go back to seeing the diaper as a toilet. It will always be a backup from then on out, no matter what you do with it, potty training later, finishing EC later, whatever.
Okay. Other pros for starting with a newborn, you've got downtime. So even if you're going to be going back to work when baby is a few weeks or months old, that's okay, you've got time with your baby, one-on-one, to be able to observe and to understand patterns and to get to know your baby on this other level. Another advantage is bonding. A lot of brand new parents with a first child don't really know exactly what the baby's wanting and success with EC from birth, it can feel like you're providing the baby with another one of his or her needs that are very primal, very instinctive, and it makes you feel successful as a new parent. It gives you confidence as a new parent.
It also deepens your connection with your baby, because doing EC is like nothing else. It gives you this special connection with your baby that, I'm not saying you won't get without it, but it's definitely something that tens of thousands of parents that I've trained worldwide on how to do EC have pretty much all exclusively reported, whether EC went well or not, they have a deeper connection with their baby so hey... I'm not here to tell you that you're definitely going to have a better connection with your baby or that you're better than other people, because you aren't, you are just trying something that has the potential to absolutely deepen your connection with your baby.
Starting between zero and six months is awesome. And it's a lot easier than you think. I have an easy start guide for free on my website godiaperfree.com. Just click on over there and download it and you'll get an idea of what the four basic tenants are of starting. Okay.
The cons of starting as a newborn, well, you've got a lot going on, maybe your nipples are bleeding because breastfeeding is not going great, maybe you got a tongue-tied baby, maybe you've got colicky baby. I've had two, maybe three out of my four babies, this one's still kind of new, who had colic for the first five months of their lives. It's very, very, very hard to do much else other than cope with the crying. So a con could be if your baby, his temperament is not quite so happy. It could be hard to detect what is a signal or is my baby just being fussy because he's colicky or is it gas or whatever. So that's another part of it to keep in mind that could be considered a con.
But also, fussiness can be lessened by doing EC. So if you stick with it and you really learn it and definitely use my resources, that's what they're there for, because I didn't have them when I had a colicky first baby, you can overcome this challenge that's inherent to this age group for a lot of babies as well. You've also got sleep progressions in there that typically happen at certain ages, like four months. If you're into the wonder weeks, you can look at baby's developmental leaps.
So you have a lot going on with a newborn, but mostly it's about the mom and the dad and all the changes that are going on in life of having a new child. That can be the one main challenge of starting at this age. Other than that, there aren't really very many challenges because the baby's not mobile yet, they're kind of there, and you sort of have some time to sit with them and learn them on this new way.
So that’s it from my newborn video...hope you enjoyed listening if you’ve never heard me speak about starting newborns before. Again, this episode is sponsored by Baby Meets Potty newborn minicourse. This combined with my book, Go Diaper Free, will set you up with success to start ECing right at or after the birth of your baby. The minicourse has lots of footage of me ECing all 5 of my babies within minutes, hours, days, and weeks of their births. This is truly the only way to learn EC from the start. Visit godiaperfree.com/newborn to sign up for that class.
PS - here’s the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)
A problem we’ve encountered with our 3w.o. newborn is we live in a cold climate that inhibits full naked diaper free time, so it has been hard to learn cues around peeing. Also, we have found baby is having a very hard time pooping. We’ve been told it’s normal for babies to get frustrated and struggle to simultaneously contract colon and relax sphincter; that and he’s super gassy – it seems painfully so. All this means whenever he is trying to poop, he’s already having a very hard time of it, adding to that being held over a potty seems to just amp him up more. It has been all we can do to just cue along with him while he’s pushing. He seems to have a very strong sense of body sovereignty and, unless he’s in a (rare) calm and curious state, being held over the potty (i’ve tried various holds now) seems to upset him. Have i created negative associations with pottying? I find it particularly hard not knowing if any of this is normal, and how much to keep pushing, or if I should just slow down and let myself just be happy with cuing along as encouragement to go in a diaper for now, perhaps trusting that this is just a phase.
It seems like the constipation is stressful for everyone. You might just want to take a little break and try again in a week or two. Sometimes taking this time to do a reset solves any resistances that you may be confronted with. If you have my book make sure to get help from my certified coaches on Mighty Networks. 💕
In terms of ECing a newborn, I currently have a 3 week old baby boy. I previously ECed my daughter since 6 months old. I personally find that before baby gains head control, it is difficult to quickly position him (I tend to be gentle and therefore slow) on potty (I have the top hat potty) or over the sink whenever he needs to go. The fact that he’s a boy further complicates this process as there is the additional need to aim his boy part into the potty or sink. So instead, I simply place a puppy pad under him. Interestingly, as a boy, his pee lands quite far away from him instead of forming a puddle underneath, which allows him to stay dry despite peeing on the pad. I do notice his elimination cues quite clearly: he fusses before he has to go, and refuses to latch to nurse; he goes after feeds and after waking up; and he stays dry and clean in his sleep. For the time being, I’m simply doing diaper-free observation, and while he goes on the pad, I say “pee pee psss psss” or “poo poo eh eh” to help him form sound association. So in summary, for ECing a newborn baby boy, I mostly find aiming quite difficult, especially at this young age when you have to support the head AND direct the penis – too tricky for me.
Sorry you are finding this time tricky with your little one. If you feel up to giving it one more try, here are the tips: Rest your little ones head against your stomach, this will support his head. Then with your index or middle finger gently press his penis down, and this will aim his urine into the sink or toilet.
With practice all these things become easier. 💕
I am having a baby boy and am curious how to make sure we aim properly so We don’t make a mess everywhere while trying to EC? I am planning to start EC in the first month. I grew up with sisters, so EC and potty training boys is a complete mystery to me.
Aiming takes a little bit of practice, but you will get it. Basically, you use your index or middle finger and aim the penis down while you holding your little one in the classic EC hold.
I know you will get it! 😊