Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Our Elimination Communication Experience: Part One

Friends who came to visit Jedidiah and me a few weeks after his birth will know that one of my favorite topics of conversation has to do with his pooping skills. Yes, skills. We have been practicing elimination communication with Jedidiah since he was two weeks old. Elimination communication is defined by Wikipedia as "a practice in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant's need to eliminate waste. Caregivers try to recognize and respond to babies' bodily needs and enable them to urinate and defecate in an appropriate place." We have enjoyed learning EC with Jedidiah and I wanted to describe our experience for others.

I remember having heard of EC long ago and thinking it sounded weird. I had heard that some people potty trained their babies and let them go completely diaper-free, and that sounded really bizarre. Early in my pregnancy a friend sent me a link to an article on EC and I remember being curious about it. Perhaps it was worth a try. Avinash, my Indian husband, also remembers how his mother would take his younger brother to the bathroom and give him a cue sound like "shhhhhh" to encourage him to go, so the idea of an infant eliminating on cue was familiar to him. We decided on using cloth diapers when our baby came but thought we might experiment with EC. If it wasn't for us we could just revert to using diapers only.

When Jedidiah was just a couple weeks old Avinash took him in his arms and held him over the sink for the first time. I was unsure. Wasn't it too early? Jedidiah's head and body were still so floppy. But then he peed and we were astonished and so happy! The first time he pooped in the sink a day or two later we were over the moon! In those first weeks it was kind of a game to take him to poop and pee in the sink. We started to learn his timings and signals. He might grunt a bit, lose interest in the breast if he was nursing, or go about ten minutes after nursing. Sometimes we would give him diaper-free time to kick his legs, feel the air, and pee on a cloth diaper or pad on the changing table as needed.

Now Jedidiah is nearing four months and we are still at it. I like to say that EC has shown me Jedidiah's intelligence more than any other thing we do with him. It is easy for people to think of babies as dumb, since we know they don't remember their early days, they can't talk to us, and their needs are so constant and yet simple (eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop, eat...). But babies are truly intelligent and learn constantly about the world around them. Practicing EC has shown us how quickly Jedidiah can learn. He definitely knows now that the potty is the appropriate place to poop. A couple days ago Jedidiah woke up and was lying happily on the bed. I heard a toot of gas and came running. When I opened the diaper, there was just a little spot of yellow poop. I quickly took him to the bathroom and he let out a very large squirt in his potty. It was clear that he had held the poop until the appropriate time to let it out. After doing so, he relaxed in my arms with a look of satisfaction. Pooping in the potty is a skill that he has truly learned and feels good about. And understanding his needs and cues is a skill that I continue to learn, with satisfaction as I grow closer to my baby and more instinctive about caring for his needs.

In part two I will give more tips and details about our EC journey.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Another blog when I don't write on my other one? Introducing myself.

This is my inaugural blog post for Christian, Crunchy, and Cooking! I'm a new mother with a baby born in October 2012. (The picture above was taken during my pregnancy.) I enjoy cooking and keeping home for my husband and baby, and I'm also a piano teacher. I also have a neglected blog,, on which I used to write spiritual ideas that would percolate in my head. I have not written on it lately, and have more interest in writing mom-blog things, so I'm afraid that is what it's going to be! One more mom-blog out of millions.  But I know I'll enjoy having a place to publish my thoughts and activities, and I hope it will be interesting to my friends.

To explain my title:

My belief in Jesus Christ is very important to me and will inform much of the content of what I write. If you have never read a summary of the core of Christian belief, what is called the Gospel, here's one of the best ones out there.

This is influenced by the book Crunchy Cons (conservatives) which describes how here in America, people who have vastly different belief systems can end up having similarly environment-friendly, health-conscious, frugal lifestyles. On the one side are the "liberal hippie" types, and on the other side are the "conservative homeschooler" types. The author, Rod Dreher,

"introduces us to people who are pioneering a way back to the future by reclaiming what’s best in conservatism—people who believe that being a truly committed conservative today means protecting the environment, standing against the depredations of big business, returning to traditional religion, and living out conservative godfather Russell Kirk’s teaching that the family is the institution most necessary to preserve."
Some of the ways I might classify as a Crunchy Con: I wanted a natural home birth, use cloth diapers for frugality and to help the environment, have a home business, like cooking healthy food (though I am not a vegan or organic freak ... yet), and am interested in how lifestyle choices affect justice issues worldwide (though I do not buy only fair-trade chocolate ... yet.) As you can see, I consider myself to be on the moderate side of the Crunchy spectrum, but I continue to evaluate my lifestyle choices and may someday become more "extreme." :)

I grew up helping my mother cook healthy, from-scratch meals for our large family. I'm not an expert, but I enjoy cooking too. As I said above, I like the real-foods approach. I use Pinterest almost exclusively for food. I don't yet use much organic, due to our tight budget, but I'm interested in moving more that direction. I'm not vegan or even vegetarian and I like eating meat, mostly chicken, but am troubled when I read about slaughterhouses. Every six months or so my husband says he sometimes feels uncomfortable eating meat and would like to be a vegetarian someday. (I teased him last time that this is due to his Indian roots. Generations of his ancestors were probably mostly vegetarian.) But as a nursing mom, I find it hard to get enough protein and find it hard to get filled up enough generally. I'm not yet ready to leave meat, but I'm interested in making my meat usage more infrequent. In parallel, I find the number of varieties of roots, beans and legumes fascinating and want to expand my repertoire there.

I hope this gives you an idea of the inclination of my new blog!