As if I weren’t already busy enough, I’ve decided to become a diaper-free mentor. The local mentor in Orange County will be moving to Utah in the next month, leaving a supportive, active yahoo group network, but with no mentor.

In any case, I think the turnover for diaper-free mentors is pretty fast. One of the 15-month babies in the group has started signaling (in sign language) when she needs to go, and another little 20-month boy is now 100% diaper-free during the day. Meaning, that the families who practice elimination communication, don’t need to practice it for very long!

So, I’ll be a link in the community chain and keep a sharp look-out for the next mom to step up.

I’m posting the application here along with my answers.

Child 1: Bella
Gender: Female
Age: 15
Child 2: Christian
Gender: Male
Age: 9 months

Questions:

At what age(s) did you start EC with your child(ren)?
I started EC with Christian when he was three months old.

Was the first child with whom you practiced EC your first child?
No. When Bella was a baby, I had never heard of elimination communication.

What method of backup do you use, if any (i.e.: cloth diapers, disposable diapers, training pants, or no diapers)?
We use mostly cloth diapers. When we are home and it is warm enough, we use cloth diapers without a waterproof cover.

When we go out for long car drives, or for the day in the city where bathrooms are scarce, we use disposable diapers.

At night we use cloth diapers without a cover, and he sleeps on top of a lambskin.

Would you describe your practice as full-time, part-time, or occasional?  Please explain.

I consider myself a full-time EC-er, although we are definitely not diaper-free, because I never intentionally ignore a pee-signal.  We offer him potty opportunities around the clock: during the day, probably once an hour and in the morning more than that. Even when he is in disposables, we offer as many potty opportunities as we are able. I put Christian in disposables (which I think impedes EC somewhat) when we go out for three reasons:

1. We are more likely to miss when we are out and bathrooms are hard to find (but we do carry a baby potty in the trunk).

2. Disposables are easier to put on while the baby is standing on the edge of the sink – in those many public bathrooms that have no changing table.

3. Christian already hates the car, so I try doubly hard to avoid ever having him sit in a wet cloth diaper in the car seat.

Do you practice EC at night?  If so, how long have you been doing nighttime EC?

Yes, we practice EC at night. We started probably when he was about four months old, when I realized that he was waking up and whimpering because he had to go pee, not because he had to nurse. He is comforted when he gets encouragement to release and pee, and falls back asleep easily without having to be nursed. Since he would wake up from his wet diaper and need to be changed, it was just as easy for me to pee him as comforting him after a wet diaper change.

Our nighttime EC practice has gone through many phases, from all catches to all misses. We have been struggling with finding a way for him to pee without him or me waking up too much. Right now we use a potty by the side of the bed with a cozy on it. I bring the potty up to the bed when he needs it. He usually continues to nurse while sitting on the potty, but when he’s peeing he just holds my nipple in his mouth and then resumes nursing and/or simply drops back to sleep.

How would you describe EC to a friend who has never heard of it?

I usually refer to third world or native cultures where babies are constantly worn – without diapers. How the mothers can feel the baby fuss and simply lift the baby up and away to pee.

EC is where he and I work together with increased communication to help him eliminate in the potty. It’s a way of not ignoring his signals; not repressing his instinctual need to let somebody know that he has to go to the bathroom.

How have you dealt with the harder times of ECing?

I’ve found that I need to not be so hard on myself.   I would love to really be DIAPER-FREE, but I still wash almost as many diapers as I did before – simply because I now change him after every single elimination, while before, each wet diaper probably represented 3-4 pees.

The local diaper-free support group has been a great source of support. The moms there always have lots of ideas and suggestions for alternative ways to handle an issue.

Also, I just continue forward. As with many parenting issues of the early years – everything changes with just a little time, since the baby is growing so quickly in developmental awareness.

What do you consider EC success?

When Christian is delighted to pee in the toilet or his potty and is clearly relieved afterwards. Or when he stirs in his sleep, pees, and then drifts back to sleep peacefully. We love catches!

I consider our deeper bonding and understanding to be an important EC success.

What has been your ultimate goal with EC?

My main concern is not to repress his already existing awareness of his own elimination, so that when he is able to physically go the bathroom by himself, he doesn’t have to be “trained.”

I love the idea of using less resources by using less diapers – if not in the immediate present, then in the future when he “potty-trains” early.

The bonding between us has been an unexpected benefit. I feel that I know him better than I would have without practicing EC. It’s as if a whole arena of communication had been closed off to be me before.

Is there anything about EC that does not work for you, or with which you disagree?  Please explain.

My local diaper-free group supports moms all along the spectrum of EC. Judgment about not having enough catches was the only thing I would disapprove of, but that has not been an issue.

Have you ever attended a DiaperFreeBaby meeting?  If so, please briefly describe your experience.

I’ve attended a half dozen meetings and planned a few playdates too, to help support the lone mentor in Orange County. The first meeting I went to was to make baby legs, and the mentor let us use her serger. That was fun and productive. I’ve been surprised though, at how few moms attend the meetings.

I enjoy the meetings where we have a focus or project planned best. Otherwise it’s easy to get off-topic and start talking about life in general, and leave the meeting without ever having mentioned your own EC practice. (Not to say that I don’t enjoy just getting to know these other EC moms!)

Do you have any questions or concerns about DiaperFreeBaby?

Not right now.

Why do you want to be a DiaperFreeBaby Mentor?  What do you how to accomplish?

I’m a natural teacher and communicator and I seem to always want to be passing information along; I’ve been a La Leche League leader, a public school teacher, and blogger, and this seems to be the right avenue for me to express my enthusiasm for EC while supporting other moms. I want to be sure that moms who are even remotely interested in EC have access to real-live EC practicing moms and conversational tidbits of advice.

Finally, it supports my own EC practice to continue to read and discuss EC with others.

We could always use help with the many ongoing projects we have.  What skills or experience do you have that would enable you to contribute to some of our projects (for example: copywriting, graphic design, legal, fundraising, etc)?

I am a freelance writer, and I’d like to write about elimination communication in a few of the local parenting magazines. I also intend to propose a feature article to Mothering Magazine.

Please read the Mentor/Volunteer Agreement on the DiaperFreeBaby website and indicate your agreement to abide by it below?

Yes. Absolutely.

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