A friend asked me the other day when I’d start EC with Genevieve. I have been struggling with the answer to that question for months, actually, but I think my answer has changed and firmed up in the past few days.
Originally, I was thinking about how i started with W. Lots of naked time for several months, then starting in earnest when he was 4 mo or so. This was for a few reasons – the first of them being that I knew my ocd tendencies would not make for a particularly healthy start with EC, and the second being that I needed time to adjust to taking care of a baby. It worked out well for us – the months of naked observing meant that I knew his tendencies really well by the time I was ready to start doing anything about it. He was born in April, so we were heading into warm weather, and would have spent the summer largely naked regardless of whether we were ECing or not. And at four to five months, we had more success and more two-way communication.
As this post notes, we did largely back off during the winter (we were still ECing, but were very sporadic), but got back to it for the spring again.
So when I answered my friend, I noted that I wasn’t sure, I had waited with W until 3/4 months, and I wanted to wait with G as well, but waiting 3-4 months would put us in the middle of winter. Winter at my house is pretty chilly and not a good time for babies to be scantily clad. You can totally EC with clothes on, but it’s hard to unbundle quickly enough to catch a 3 month old’s pees.
But since then, I’ve noticed that I am surprised by only a few of her pees every day. A good half of them, I know when she’s peeing as she’s doing it. About a quarter of them, I can predict moments before. I already know her pee face and a bit of her pattern. (She’s a mid-nurse pee-r. Unlatch, squirm, pee face, pee, relax, nurse more.) Poops I’m about 50/50 at saying “oh, she’s going to poop” mere seconds before she unleashes her giant (seriously) quantities of poop. (I should weigh her before and after a poop.)
So I think we’ll start differently with G than we did with W. I’m going to leave her in diapers for now. I want to be more confident and into our new rhythm at home before I try any quantity of diaper-free time. (I keep her diaperless for an hour or so at a time three or four times a day just to give her a chance to air out, but that doesn’t really count.) But I’m going to start making cue noises, continue to make sure I change her right away when wet, and maybe take her to a potty place if the whim strikes me.
In a month or two – or three or four – when we’re all feeling more confident and things have normalized around here – we’ll get more serious about it. And by the time she’s six months, she should be well capable of signing and we’ll be heading into warm weather and hopefully we’ll be able to just slide right into full time EC.