Pooping The Baby

Terry and I are working out our strategy for implementing "EC" (Elimination Communication), also known as "diaper-free". While William was in the NICU, he was constantly in diapers, but he was also being fed through tubes, etc., so it was hardly what we envisioned for his first days all around. But we did start "cuing" him while he was in the hospital. When he would poop, we made a grunting sound, and if we caught him peeing, we'd make a hissing sound.

Once we got him home, we put him in cloth diapers for a few days, until Terry got frustrated with the skill required to use a Snappi (it's not hard if you've used cloth diapers before, WAY easier than using pins, but I can see how a newbie would find it more difficult than using the sticky-flaps on disposable diapers) so he's now in either cloth or some chlorine-free disposables when he is diapered. At first, he was in diapers most of the time since we couldn't predict when he'd go, and were still learning his cues. Now every day he's wearing diapers less and less.

Terry has been in charge of most of William's personal hygiene time, so he actually recognizes his signs more than I do. I rely on timing and/or intuition. I noticed that Terry would poop the baby and yet go through several diapers during the process, since just when he got a fresh diaper on William, the boy would go again. I noted that the whole process took about 15 minutes. So when it's my turn, I just poop him for 15 minutes before I even pick up a fresh diaper.

I'm able to do this, since I hold William in a way that is comfortable for him. I don't think Terry has figured out a way that is comfortable for both of them, so William cries more when Terry poops him, thus encouraging Terry to finish up the process prematurely so he can hold William more comfortably, but this actually prolongs the process. I'll try to help Terry find a better position next time he's up here, it's been a few days and I'm not sure he's going to figure it out on his own.

So here's the drill-- I wake up William about 15 minutes before it's time for him to eat, and take him to the bathroom. I pull up his gown, take off his diaper (it's usually got some poop, although not much, and whether it's wet or not depends on how long he's slept), then hold him so he's leaning against my stomach in a sitting position. His butt is between my legs, and I'm holding his legs in my hands. I sit on a low stool next to the tub, with a big pot on the floor between my feet. I clip his pacifier to his clothes or my shirt so it doesn't fall into the pot or bounce across the room when he drops it. Once he's in position, I make a grunting sound, and he poops. He usually does that pretty soon after he's in position. He grunts, too. It's pretty cute. We know he understands the whole cuing thing since he grunts along with us when he poops. I just keep holding him in position, and after he responds the first time to my cue, it's pretty much reversed after that, and I wait until he poops more and grunt when he does. I can't predict exactly how many times he'll need to go or exactly when (after the first one), so I just grunt as it happens, to reinforce his cue.

The peeing is less predictable. And it seems like he specifically waits until I'm distracted by reaching for a wipe or doing something else to start peeing, so I don't catch it right away. When he does start peeing, I make the hissing sound. And try to either tip him forward enough so that the pee lands in his pot, or point his doodad down so the pee lands in the pot, but it's often in vain. It's more likely that he's just happily sprayed straight up in the air and I have to wipe his pee off him, my legs, the floor. He's sprayed himself in the face before, which Terry and I both thought was hilarious payback, but William didn't think it was so funny and I notice he hasn't done that since.

He's also peed on Rambo the cat. That was pretty darn funny. Rambo has been the only cat to hang out with us up in the bedroom, since he's claimed the entire upstairs as his territory. And he's curious about William, but mostly leaves him alone. He's empathetic and meows when William cries, he knows something is wrong and wants us to fix it. Anyway, I was pooping William when Rambo strolls into the bathroom and sits next to the pot to observe. When my head was turned to reach over and get a wipe, William starts peeing, and it arcs directly onto Rambo's head. Rambo doesn't know WHAT is going on, it takes him a few seconds to realize that he is getting wet before he tears out of there. Very funny, I wish I had that one on video.

Where was I? Oh yes, so when it's getting close to he time I figure he's done, I start gently cleaning his butt. I mostly use dry toilet paper to daub and absorb the wet spots, then use a spray bottle to wet the paper and wipe his butt clean. If I think he hasn't gone enough, I'll sometimes squirt the room-temperature water directly on his butt, that'll usually make him go. If there is any diaper rash cream still sticking to him, I'll use a small piece of wet gauze or wet wipe to clean that off him, since the toilet paper will shred trying to get the sticky stuff off. Often the cleaning process will make him go again, but since he's positioned with his butt just hanging over the pot, he mostly stays clean, just needs to be daubed off again. When I think he's really done, I'll put some fresh diaper cream on him, slap a diaper on the boy, then take him back into the bedroom to feed him.

He usually starts getting fussy toward the end, because he's getting hungry and is no longer sleepy enough to be fooled by the pacifier. But I'm hesitant to wake him up 20 minutes early, since he's not been sleeping terribly much and I don't want him being cranky when he eats.

Terry has been keeping him diaper-free during his "activity" time (the 30 min to 1 hr he's awake after eating) and also while he naps. I diaper him if there is a chance I'm going to nap during his nap, or if I want to walk away and do something else while he's sleeping. But like yesterday, I guess if I'm keeping him near me (and I'm not in our bed), I can also keep him diaper-free. Then we just prop him up on a stack of clean diapers and put a thin diaper cloth over his dingdong, and when he goes, we just pull the dirty diaper out from under him or pop a fresh cloth on top of him. Not much to clean when he's not sitting in it more than a second. Lots of laundry, but we've got a large-capacity washer so I think Terry just washes the diapers once a day. Less actually, since I don't think he's washed yesterday's yet and we're halfway through the day now.

As he gets older, I think he'll start going less while he sleeps. He's pretty good about waiting until I wake him up to poop him before his feeds, there's usually just a little bit in his diaper, but he goes more once I wake him. But I think it takes a few weeks for their little digestive systems to get in order, and his development there was delayed about a week since he wasn't able to fully breastfeed until he was seven days old, and he didn't have to really digest the fluids they were feeding him before that. So I figure we'll stick with the current method for at least his first month. But I'll be happy to post progress if anything changes before then.