'Tis the season for traveling...and this means traveling with our babies and making EC during the holidays easier for you.
ECing while traveling away from home, whether domestically or internationally, doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, it can often go much more smoothly than EC at home does!
Take a listen to this episode for 15 wonderful tips on how to travel while pottying your baby (instead of depending fully on diapers) and making it a diaper-free vacation.
In this podcast you'll learn:
- 15 succinct tips for those practicing Elimination Communication and going on vacation with babies this holiday season
- Which types of vehicles and situations I've personally ECed in while traveling in other countries
- How to deal with stressful situations
- How to potty a baby on an airplane or in an airport
- Which baby carriers are best for traveling
- Which mini potties are best for traveling
- How to potty in nature
- What to pack
- The best seats for lap babies on an airplane
- How to deal with the holiday or vacation "baby-pass-around" between family and friends
- Vacation miss survival
- Dealing with cloth diapers while traveling
- How to avoid the #1 mistake while ECing during vacation
- Plus much more...
Right click here to download the MP3 or click the play button above to listen to the full episode.
Links and other such stuff mentioned today
- my new EC book “Go Diaper Free: A Simplified Handbook for Elimination Communication”
- the photographic journey that’s found on my website (coming shortly)
- Beco Gemini
- Moby Wrap
- the BBSP, the Baby Bjorn Smart Potty
- The Go Diaper Free Community Forum (comes with my book)
- cloth diaper prefolds
- cloth diaper covers
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 18 - time to travel!
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 studied dance in Africa...Andrea Olson.
Yes, one of my fondest memories ever was studying dance in Africa. I was in Ghana, West Africa, an amazing, beautiful country, in the year 2000. And this was at the end of 4 years of undergrad where I was majoring in business in Texas, and I was also doing African Dance with a Master Drummer there, Gideon, at University of North Texas. If you ever get a chance, check em out, they’re awesome. I studied dance there and the funny thing is I never really noticed what they did with their babies (EC-wise), but I did notice that nobody wore a diaper. Except for one really old crazy guy, who they just let walk around being crazy and harmless in his diaper, but none of the babies had diapers. And the mothers were always wearing their babies on their backs, even brand-new newborns, with their heads jostling back and forth, and they just used a simple cloth to strap them on their backs. But I never knew to check what they did besides diapers, so hopefully someday I’ll get to go back and check that out, but for now, we are on the topic of travel for today’s podcast, and this is what we’re going to talk about.
The day of this podcast recording is actually December 10, 2013, and it is that time to be traveling and visiting family or friends with your new baby or young toddler, and a lot of people have tons of questions around how to do EC while traveling, whether that be internationally or nationally. So, today in this episode, #18, we are going to explore that.
And, what I’m going to use as a resource for this is one of my articles on my website godiaperfree.com that talks about this. There’s a slightly different take on it in my new EC book called “Go Diaper Free: A Simplified Handbook for Elimination Communication” that was just released this year, 2013. And if you want to see the photos that are related to traveling with EC I have them posted on the article I mentioned. And for that I’ve made a simple link for you to follow to get there. It’s godiaperfree.com/travel. And anything I mention in this particular podcast that has a link of any sort will be found at the show notes, which are at godiaperfree.com/18, including these links to the other good links out there.
So, if you’re traveling this holiday season or any time of year, this is going to be a great resource for you. It will help you to prepare for doing EC, Elimination Communication, with your baby, while traveling.
Let’s get started.
Traveling with a baby can be quite a feat.
Traveling with a baby AND practicing Elimination Communication while traveling can be…well, wonderful, exquisite, excruciating, horrible, mind-bending, and messy.
I personally traveled to Thailand for 3 months straight with my son during his 14th-17th months and have literally seen it all… planes, trains, tuk-tuks, ferries, cabs, buses…you name it, I’ve ECed in it. From that experience, combined with the experience of other GoDiaperFree readers and community members, I’ve come up with a list of tips for those of you traveling whilst ECing your babies.
So let’s get started. I hope you enjoy both the practical how-to’s and the photographic journey that’s found on my website….
TIPS FOR PRACTICING EC WHILE TRAVELING
- Always locate the potty first. When entering the airport, a restaurant, or a shop, find the potty and offer a pottytunity first, if your baby seems to need one, then enjoy what you’re there to do. If your baby doesn’t seem to need to go at this time, then at least you’ll know where the bathroom is for when the time does come.
- Use a back-up when you anticipate stress (or lack of potties). This can even be a disposable diaper…it won’t ruin your progress with EC if you normally use cloth or underwear. Everyone will be happier if you use something at a time when you’re likely to need it. And this is you, the parent, because if you’re stressed, then having to do EC as well at that time is going to be harder for you and for everybody else.
- Wear your baby. You will be more in-touch with his signals and he will be more likely to hold it while you find the proper receptacle/potty place. One carrier that we’re using right now with Isadora, who is 11 weeks this week, is a Beco Gemini. It is awesome. I used to use an Ergo exclusively and a Moby Wrap before that, and even a sling, and I will tell you that the Beco Gemini is made for all ages including newborns, and it’s really a good one to travel with. Another thing you can use is a woven wrap, which many of our readers are into right now, and the Ergo, which is always a great one as well. The Moby Wrap is pretty long, but you know, you can pack it and use it...it’s a good one.
- Bring a small mini potty with you. Instead of filling your carryons with diapers, you can fit a small mini potty into the bag. Most airlines allow for a diaper bag as a bonus carry-on. Use it at your seat when that seatbelt sign prevents you from using the lavatory on the plane. Otherwise, hold your baby in-arms over the lavatory toilet or sink when it’s time to go. I’ve even pottied my son on a mini potty in the airport when waiting for the plane to board, when you can’t really get a way to go to the bathroom.. So it’s a good thing to have. I’ve traveled with a bEcoPotty, which is biodegradable so you can leave it there and not have to pack it back with all your Christmas presents or whatever. And I’ve also tried to travel with the BBSP, the Baby Bjorn Smart Potty, and it’s a little bit too big, I think. A top hat potty is also a good one to bring with you if your baby’s small enough to use that.
- Be discreet and clean up after yourselves. Don’t just pee your baby anywhere because you’re in a 3rd world country (and especially not if you’re in a Westernized one). Most people prefer that you use the proper facilities. If you have to potty in nature (say you’re on a long, long hike like I’ve been on in Thailand), be sure to clean up so the remains don’t attract wild animals. So, just as if you had to go #2 when you’re on a long hike...you would dig a hole, you would go in it, you would bury it. You would take care of your waste in a responsible manner.
- Pack only what you need. You’d be surprised…EC on the road can sometimes be a lot more efficient than it is at home. No one is bored, everyone is in the present moment and connected to immediate needs, things move more smoothly. Bring the minimum of things and know that you can grab extra gear in most places along the way. Just remember that you’ll probably be more attuned to your baby while traveling, and that misses are normally going to be only pees if you’re paying attention and baby is simply adjusting. Most babies don’t like to soil pants with a #2 in places where they aren’t familiar with people or things. They’re gonna let you know and signal really loudly while you’re on the go. And also, when you’re transitioning between hotels or something, that’s a time that you can probably expect a lot of misses because your awareness is scattered as well.
- At every new place of lodging, set up that potty station FIRST. Show your baby to it, offer the potty, and generally get settled in. Whether at a hotel or in a tiny bungalow, having a little potty station is quite key. And you can do this by using the floor mat or a small towel folded up underneath your potty, and just making a little space for the potty to stay the whole time. We found some stickers in a little shop in Thailand, so I stuck them on the wall around the potty station so my son had something to look at while sitting there (and it did help him to sit longer). So set up that potty station first.
- On airplanes, request the bulkhead/bassinet seats when available. Especially on a long international flight, you’ll appreciate both the bassinet and the legroom! Some bassinets have a height restriction, some have a weight restriction. Generally if your baby passes the weight restriction, they’ll let it slide and they’ll let you guys have your baby sleep in it while you’re there. It’s priceless to have the room to set your potty on the carpet and potty your kiddo there while the (sometimes eternally-on) stay in your seat light is bright. You can usually request these seats when you book your flights. Even airlines that no longer assign seats ahead of time will make an exception for those with lap babies. So, if you call ahead, you’ll probably get one.
- For those who practice nighttime EC, set up your array of tools in your sleep space just like you would at home. Try to emulate the home night pottying environment as much as possible. Again, pack light, don’t pack too much, but also try to make things easy and familiar during those wee hours of potty time (if you do nighttime EC).
- Always potty your baby when YOU need to go to the bathroom. Whether you’re at the in-laws or in a restaurant somewhere in some other country, it’s good practice to always bring baby with you and offer (if you can hold her and do your business at the same time, then switch!). It will help you remember to stay attuned to her needs, and often we need to go at the same time.
- For the baby-pass-around at family or friends’ homes, use a back-up on your baby OR pay just attention to how much time has passed and take your baby to pee at the usual intervals (based on your baby’s natural, usual potty rhythms, if you know them by now - see the podcast that addresses how to know the natural rhythms here). If it’s too much to socialize and pay attention, or you don’t want to draw “odd” attention to yourself, or make yourself the weirdo at the party or in your family if you’re usually that...if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, simply use a back-up. It won’t ruin your EC practice to occasionally do this if you don’t usually use a back-up.
- Stay consistent, catch the easy ones, and stay in tune with your own intuition. Don’t just drop EC because you’re on vacay. That is what screws things up when traveling, not the traveling itself! Keep doing your wake up and pees, your diaper change pottytunities, and your potty-upon-arrival “easy catches.” Pay attention to when that little voice in your head says “it’s time.” And also pay attention to when potty paranoia is mistaken for potty intuition…if you’re nervous about having a miss in public, use a back-up diaper or underwear. Plain and simple.
- If you have a bunch of wet ones in a row…remember that you’re traveling! Baby is adjusting to new environments on a more acute level than you are. Don’t get frustrated and don’t give up. Gather new information from any possible spree of misses and adjust your game. Your EC practice will definitely get back on track when you return home, given you stay consistent and seek support if/when necessary (like on our Community Forum which you can access worldwide via wifi). Usually misses while traveling indicate that baby is adjusting to the new environment…no need to freak out about it. Just find ways to make it “home” and press on.
- While driving or doing an extended road trip, always potty before getting in the car and at every stop. If you simply can not stop to potty your baby (and you expect this ahead of time), just say “go ahead and go in your diaper and I’ll change you at the next stop.” Some babies won’t have it though and will make you pull over. Have a potty ready in the car. Other babies will understand and oblige. It just depends on the baby’s temperament.
- If you pack a cloth back-up, you can easily hand-wash pee diapers in the sink and hang to dry, without soap (unless superammonia-y). Pack about 20 cloth prefolds (newborn size) and 2 covers and use my Quick EC Diapering Method (featured in my community tools) for an easy way to use a back-up while on the go with a baby less than 9-14 months (ie: still using diapers as a back-up) if you want to avoid using disposables on your trip. But, again, if you do choose disposables, don’t sweat it. Get back to cloth when you return (if you do cloth). (If you do EC with disposables and it works fine for you, then disregard this #15!) No worries. Nothing will “un-teach” what they’ve already learned. They don’t forget EC. It’s just the situation and the things that happen and your vibe and energy about EC that all affect whether or not it’s going well.
And that’s it for our 15 points on how to travel and do EC at the same time.
One final note - just be sure that you don’t do what causes 95% of potty pauses, and that is hover and over-offer. Generally when you’re traveling you’re not able to over-offer or hover, or stress out, because there’s too much going on. Just try to find a comfortable rhythm with it and remember that it’s not the end of the world...whatever happens during traveling, happens.
When you get home, also note that you might have more misses because all of a sudden you’re home, and everybody’s transitioning back, and unpacking, and trying to settle back in. Just stay consistent, keep doing EC the way you’ve always done it, update things, come seek support at GoDiaperFree, do what you need to do, see some friends...get some advice and remember times of transition are times when EC sometimes has a hiccup. So don’t worry about it, don’t stress about it, and just get yourself back on track. I know you can do it.
So that’s it for our Travel + EC podcast. Again, you can get the show notes at godiaperfree.com/session18, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed this session. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and that all of your traveling ends up being a wonderful time of connection with your family and friends.
Til next time, happy ECing everybody.
Do you have any EC travel tips? Do share with us in the comments below.
Thanks for listening to my show! Happy travels this holiday season! xx Andrea
About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 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.)