We've been doing Elimination Communication from birth with baby Twyla.
You may have been following our progress and are curious about what it's been like over the last 6 weeks ECing her from birth...
So, here is our 6 week Elimination Communication update.
I'll let the photos do most of the talking, with captions and notes below each one.
Pottying our brand new baby, above. She was maybe an hour old at this point.
Caught some meconium in the top hat potty!
This is a photo of us doing diaper-free observation time about an hour after Twyla was born.
When I saw her pee or poo during observation (which was fairly rare at this brand new age, as babies don't pee very often at first), I would cue along with her "psssss" for pee or "mm-mm" grunting for poo, building a sound association while she went.
(You can learn how to do this in my popular EC book, in case this sounds weird, or appealing, or intriguing, and you want to find out more info.)
We have our babies naked the first day or two, skin-to-skin with us, and then typically dress our babies in normal baby clothes and cosleep for the first few months, so this is T in our bed lookin cute in her onesie on the first day.
I use a variety of back-ups, depending on the needs...and here I wrote a comprehensive guide for EC "back-ups" - or which undergarments and diapers to use for EC at which ages:
For Twyla, we began with a loosely attached cloth diaper insert, called a workhorse.
(You can find that and more gear options here on my EC Supply List.)
She kept scratching her face with those lovely long nails she was born with...so I found some onesies with built-in mittens.
At 6 weeks, we are finished using mittens...but boy were they helpful in the meanwhile!
This is where you would find us most days, including days 1 and 2, holding Twyla over the sink for a quick pottytunity.
Why the sink?
Wait, what? Isn't that unsanitary?
Not exactly. You see, breastmilk poop is benign when it comes out.
Now, if you let it sit for a while, things naturally go sour and begin to pose a problem. So, you have to clean it out after every use.
Why I potty my newborn babies (primarily) at the sink:
- it is easier on my back (especially postpartum)
- it is also really easy to clean out...because newborns have explosive poops, it tends to contain things nicely, then I rinse it out with warm water
- I can rinse the baby's bottom with that same warm water, without having to use wet wipes (which can cause diaper rash), and,
- I also potty at the sink because eventually we can connect with eye contact (and smiles!) in the mirror...plus...
- we can also place a small locker mirror by the faucet to see if the sphincter is still working (there's more poop coming soon), or if it is relaxed, I know that we are done with this potty sesh.
You do not have to use the sink!
If it grosses you or hubs out, then use a top hat potty or the toilet, or a pad, or a mini potty (hold baby over it, because neck control comes much later).
This is just what we do, and why. :)
Okay, so we get A LOT of use out of the top hat potty with a newborn. I probably use it 50% of the time, the sink the other 50% of the time (and if it were warm out, I would also be pottying her in the grass on our 1 acre property, occasionally!)
This photo is an example of how to potty during breast or bottle feeding. You just pause feeding when baby pops off the breast and have the top hat handy, pop it between your legs, and offer the potty.
You can opt to potty baby in the CRADLED EC POSITION (shown) by holding baby loosely by the thighs and cradling her into the crook of your elbow, aiming into the top hat potty and cueing "pssss" or "mm-mm" as you do so.
If you want to see over 70 other Elimination Communication position options, check out my comprehensive (yet simple) book.
(Because some babies won't go potty while uncomfortable - duh! - and we all need options.)
Again, we spray out the sink when finished (and often use the faucet to "bidet" our baby's sensitive bottom) and sanitize if poop.
Breastmilk poop is runny and mustardy. I'll show you a pick of it soon, below. But it goes down the drain just like...thin mustard.
Anywho, Daddy is awesome at EC! He may not catch every time, but he learns about his daughter by trying and they definitely have a deep connection because of elimination communication...one part of baby care that DADS truly get to own!
OMG how tiny she was! She's already way bigger than this. Isn't it crazy how quickly they grow?
This pic, above, is to show the zippered onesie option for newborns (for if you live in a colder climate, or are in Winter-time, or just like baby to be extra snug).
Definitely easier than a onesie with a million snaps.
With EC, you want to clothe baby in an easy-on, easy-off wardrobe. The zippered onesie has been a favorite for us, as well as a long sleeve onesie top (with three snaps at the crotch) covered with footed pants.
Like I've said before, in the past I've dressed my summer babies in t-shirt, cloth diaper backup, and elastic-topped footed pants...no onesie at all.
Consider the climate, the season, and what works for you...but I'm here to demonstrate that it really doesn't matter so long as you can get it on and off easily.
As promised, the photo answer to the question: what does newborn poop look like?
After the mom's milk comes in and baby stops passing sticky meconium poop (which we also like to catch in the potty - yuck!), newborn baby's poop becomes yellow, seedy, mustard-like, and runny.
Above is a 3 day old newborn's poop in a top hat potty...a scenario highly preferred over blown-out-inside-baby's pants, by babies, parents, and the environment.
Please note that by day 3 of Twyla's life we'd already hit our stride, finding a comfortable rhythm and a two-way communication about her potty needs...and a deeper connection because of it. So fast and so awesome, you guys!!
All we did to achieve this was:
- wake-up pees prior to nursing
- pottytunities at the first fuss, post-feeding
- pottytunities when we saw the poo face (grimace, bearing down, a toot), and
- pottytunities when she became fussy and we intuited her needing to go.
Mostly though? The wake-up pees get you into a rhythm at this early of an age.
Okay, carrying on....
After her belly button relieved itself of the dried-up umbilical cord...it was time for her first bath!
She actually holds her pee during all baths...which is a strong instinct in all mammals, so as to not spoil the water supply for the rest of us.
After she is taken out of the bath, she fusses a bunch, signaling to go, and she'll pee on the towel if I don't realize she's signaling.
Learning point from my book: This is an easy catch, a transition time...before or after bathing.
Even at a few days old, babies are super happy to be pottied instead of having to go in the diaper!
Well...they signal strongly during the first few days and weeks, and when they see that we parents understand their language, they are absolutely thrilled.
I posted the photo above to my instagram account that day.
This is where you will often find me and Twyla...over the bathroom sink.
I discuss why the sink is so perfect to potty in during the beginning weeks...scroll up.
This is our yet-to-be-finished master bathroom, which used to be the porch/sunroom of our 1890 farmhouse here in Asheville.
My dream tub (where I had Twyla in our unassisted birth) is in the background.
I've kept all 5 of my babies' dehydrated umbilical cords in these little satchels.
The one on the left was my 8 year old's, the one on the right is Twylas, and the others are in between.
We buried their placentas under new trees on our property when we moved in. Some dogwoods, redbuds, and a flowering cherry tree.
We've got Twyla's placenta in the freezer and will be planting a new tree over it this Spring.
Meanwhile, these umbilical cords are in a box far from the reach of small hands!! They'll go on my altar once small hands learn not to touch altars. :)
This is my first before-and-after picture, to demonstrate how having an unassisted birth caused me to have an insanely efficient and pleasant recovery.
(Someone on Facebook asked to see a current photo taken from the side. Ummmmm....really?)
This is my 20 month old, Branson, testing out the new Baby Potty // Mini Potties that are going on sale at my sister site, tinyundies.com, on Friday January 18.
He loves them all and peed a little in each one to test 'em out.
These potties are super-short so that shorties can mount them with ease and "do it myself."
I was so sad when Baby Bjorn discontinued their Little Potty...so I had one made, myself, for fellow ECers and early potty trainers like you!
Isadora, my 5 year old, took this photo of me pottying Twyla at a restaurant we frequent.
Don't worry - it was just pee...and I wiped it out with soapy water and a paper towel.
If you potty baby upon arrival while ECing out and about, your baby will be much more comfortable (and dry!) during your outing. :)
Isadora caught me in my other-most-popular-position: nursing on the couch.
Here's big sis pottying little sis over the top hat potty.
Isadora REALLY wanted to potty her by herself, but she can't quite get her into position while managing the potty between her legs.
Nowadays, she'll just take Twyla's diaper off and bring her to me to potty over the sink. What a helper!
It's been FRIGID here this winter.
Baby typically goes on outings like this one wrapped up in a fleece onesie and hat, inside my Ergo.
More often we just take the car...but this was the first snow day and we got about 8 inches.
The others went sledding and Twyla and snuggled up and took pictures.
We offered the potty before leaving and again upon arrival (she was dry).
(Transition Times are an easy catch.)
This is her first dry night and the re-used, dry disposable diaper to prove it...plus proof in the potty.
Not that you wouldn't believe me, but here it is regardless.
(Yes, those are socks on her paws!)
Another great shot from Isadora...this is what having a diaper-free baby around truly looks like!
Because we do EC, I get to do this as often as I want.
Twyla loves being naked, and we crank up the heat so she can be.
She typically fusses in-arms or on a waterproof mat right before she has to pee.
Even naked, she wants good hygiene! #babies.
This is how we get to connect deeply.
This is how I see my sweet girl several times a day.
This is where, in the future, we will smile at each other and share some laughs.
Above is the cover to the long note I wrote to Branson's (20 months) preschool teacher after I almost quit preschool that morning.
I came in one day with a solution...he was using a mini potty at home on his own accord!!! At school, B was having lots of misses (including 2 poop misses 2 days in a row), and I knew that replicating the home situation would help.
But. They refused all of my propositions for change...they didn't want me to put a mini potty in their classroom, and I felt discouraged.
So I said I'm just going to keep him home then. (Hah. Ooops.)
A half hour later I spoke with the Director and (of course!) decided to keep him in...but I really felt shut down because we desperately needed a solution.
I wrote her the note a few hours later.
The teacher took my note to heart (it was full of gratitude for her!!) and we figured out a solution: the mini potty could be used to inspire a signal from B (going to the potty would be his signal), and they could potty him in the bathroom when he signaled!
She sure does love big brother!
And she loves big sister, too!
This is Twyla and I pottying over the kitchen sink (another regular location).
She's starting to fatten up!
A brief bout of diaper-free time on the couch.
Since we got rid of the old couch (aptly named The Pee-pee Couch because everyone had peed on it at one point or another), I've been paranoid about having naked babies and toddlers on the new couch.
So, this was BRIEF, but cute. A little diaper-free tummy time right after catching a pee.
And at 4 weeks old, hubs and I started CrossFit. This is me catching a pee when she woke up after our workout.
(No, silly. I didn't get a doctor's clearance because I don't have a doctor!)
I felt fine and went slow, and we've been going 3 times a week since this pic was taken.
I'm working on core strength and my abs and pelvic floor have been deemed healthy (by my physical therapist)...so, all good.
Twyla usually sleeps thru the CrossFit class if bass-y music is playing. It's her happy place.
And then it was Christmas. Twyla slept thru the presents...B did not.
Big sis decided to pop Twyla on a mini potty one day...and she peed in it! The perfect size to hold a baby onto.
Gigi and Twyla. That's my grandma, her great-grandma.
One of Gigi's aunts was named Twyla, and baby girl is named after dancer/choreographer Twyla Tharp.
Soooo cool that Gigi and T got to spend some holiday time together!!
(And Gigi got to learn about EC from us...including my mom, who spontaneously pottied Twyla again.)
Me at 5 weeks postpartum.
I swear, you guys.
CrossFit combined with breastfeeding, babywearing, and having a healthy unassisted birth...all equate to a very fast recovery.
Isadora snapped this photo of us doing the Classic EC Hold, Squatting over Top Hat Potty...in the Target bathroom!
Twyla looked at me and beared down in the middle of the store, so we all rushed to the bathroom and I caught the whole poop in the potty.
This is us nursing over the top hat potty when Twyla had a 3-day stretch of going pee and poop while breastfeeding.
Since I wanted to support her in being clean and dry, I nursed over the pot and she did much better!
(There are more tips on Pottying while Breastfeeding in my popular EC book.)
I posted this on Instagram a little after Twyla's 6 week bday...4 pics of her super-fussy...and I asked everyone if it is normal for a baby to cry within 15 seconds of being laid down, every single time.
4 of my 5 babies have been fussy with "colic" that has no apparent cause. It is maddening.
Yes, I love babywearing. Yes, I love carrying my baby around in my arms.
And. I need to cook dinner sometimes. I need to brush my teeth. Use the restroom. Stuff like that.
I use a lambie chair and a swing and do tummy time and all that.
But...is this normal?, I asked....
And out of the 60-some-odd responses, 3 mentioned tongue tie/lip tie as a rule-out.
[7-8 WEEK UPDATE: we've had tongue tie/lip tie released and she is now doing MUCH better at nursing, way less gassy, sleeping well at night, and generally in a better mood...I hope it continues to improve, and I know we will all be way happier.]
Btw, makes me wonder: how many of my other kiddos had ties that went unnoticed??
What it's like when Twyla's fully content.
Here, she has just woken up, she has just relieved herself (poop and pee) hygienically, and she has just fully nursed.
That's the Baby Care Cycle we've created for ourselves:
Wake, potty, feed, potty at first fuss after feeding, repeat, and then at the 3rd yawn, back to sleep by either walking around with her, rocking, swing, chair, or loud-ish (not toooooo loud, don't worry!) folk or EDM music, etc....whatever works besides nursing to sleep (this makes a better night sleeper. Check out BabyWise for more info...and ignore their CIO advice).
That's one happy baby.
First giant pee miss on the bed!
(Luckily, I use a waterproof mattress cover while cosleeping.)
After this happened (which was because I wasn't paying attention, obviously, after a misguess), I blotted the area with a towel and then laid a dry towel on top of the moistened sheet.
Within an hour it was all dried up, then I stripped the bed and washed the sheets. No harm, no foul!
Ever been to the Biltmore House in Asheville? Largest private residence in America...no public bathrooms inside the house (and its 1-2 hour walking tour).
So, we brought the top hat potty and guess who used it? Yep. Branson, 21 months now.
We carried that around carefully til we got to the shops outside the house and were able to dump in a bathroom.
Before I was able to dump? Well, let me tell you...I made a huge mistake.
Hubs was buying tea for me and I was alone with Branson (21 mos and freaking out about all. the. toys.). Then Twyla woke up while were still in the toy store.
I couldn't get Branson to budge without a mega tantrum, so I figured T could just pee in her diaper and I told her such.
Then I saw her bear down.
"Branson, we have to go!"
"Nooooo! Go away!"
I felt like I'd completely let her down. Her first full poop in her diaper. A massive up-the-back-blowout. Terrible.
When I finally got her to the bathroom up a huge flight of stairs, after hubs and family arrived, I stripped her down and wet wiped her to Texas. She screamed that it was not her idea of fun.
Then I caught a pee (she resisted peeing on her poop in the diaper...pretty common!)...in the toilet...and put her fleece onesie back on over a naked, diapered bod.
So, yeah. Caught B's pee in the top hat, yet before I could even dump it, had my first newborn blowout.
Grateful that I don't have to clean THOSE up every day.
And our final pic in the 6 week Elimination Communication update? More CrossFit.
Now we were 2 weeks in and really feelin' the burn.
We still bring her, pottying Twyla when she wakes up in her carseat (usually coinciding with a barbell drop from some meathead!), nursing her then, and pottying her again when she next fusses.
Pretty simple EC on outings, to keep her comfortable and stay consistent...and we get a great workout, to boot!
I hope you've enjoyed our 6 week EC update, mostly in pictures. I certainly enjoyed making it for you.
Please comment below with your takeaway from this post...did it leave you encouraged, surprised, confused, or inspired? Share below!
I look forward to hearing from you below! xx Andrea