Right after writing my last post about EC, I had a bunch of "misses" with Jedidiah. God has a way of keeping me humble, haha! Sometimes we intentionally let him poop in his diaper, such as when we are out of the house traveling. When we went to my parents' house over Christmas, this disrupted our schedule and communication somewhat and we had to re-adjust upon coming home. Misses are a part of EC, obviously, but even now when we have misses, much of the time it is because I didn't follow a cue, neglected a timing, or ignored my intuition that he is going to "go."
What are the cues like? Cues include grunting, doubling up a bit, looking focused or red in the face, fussing suddenly when he's not probably hungry, squirming, plucking at the nipple or suddenly losing interest while breastfeeding. This may sound like it includes a lot of normal baby activity, but that is where intuition comes in. Usually if I think or wonder "does he have to go?" It is a good time to take him. Of course, there are "pooportunities" where he doesn't go. Those have grown somewhat less as we have gotten better at it.
Timing involves knowing when are likely times that he will poop. Most mothers will easily come to know her baby's natural schedule, including when he needs to eat and sleep. His needs to poop fit in with eating and sleeping, as he usually poops soon after eating or waking up. He usually poops at some point in the night between 4 and 6 am, and I know that is what he wants because he is not interested in the nipple and fusses and squirms. Sometimes at one of these opportunities where he goes a little but is not able to get everything out. When I set him on the changing table and let him stretch and move his legs, this sometimes loosens him up so that when I offer again he is able to go.
Sometimes Avinash and I wonder out loud "does he have to go?" and then we remind each other -- "follow your intuition!" Intuition is part of the whole art of EC. There is no formula for it, but sometimes we can just know when our baby has to go.
The potty that I use is called the the Pourty, which has a nice lip for pouring without dripping. It is too large for Jedidiah to sit on himself and he feels uncomfortable when I try sitting him on it. He is not yet sitting on his own anyway, so I still have to hold him. I hold his thighs with his back against me so he is facing out and rarely get anything on my clothes. The Pourty works pretty well for this except that I have to hold him above those prong-like things. It is not perfect for EC but it is working for us.
There are a couple books out there about EC or Infant Potty Training. I read an e-book from Parttimediaperfree.com. I liked the author Charnda's approach and attitude, though some of the material was repetitive. She shared various tips and perspectives that I found helpful. Diaperfreebaby.org also has help and ways to contact mentors in your area.
The author of Part Time Diaper-Free stresses that you can practice EC in whatever form you choose. Some people try to go all the way diaper-free. We have chosen to focus on poop rather than all his elimination. Of course, sometimes when we give him an opportunity he pees rather than poops, but we don't aim to catch all his pees. Being relaxed with how much you want to practice EC is important. This can become a way to put undue expectations on ourselves as parents and, at a very early age, upon our children. "Getting" the baby to behave and poop where we want him to is not our mentality. When there are misses, of course we wish we had caught them, but they are not his fault and we need to just relax and be ready for the next time.
In line with this, the reason to practice EC is not primarily to use less diapers. Of course I hope this happens, but I think we use a similar number of cloth diapers or even perhaps more. This is because we tend to change a wet diaper whenever we open his diaper and that happens more often when we give him opportunities. It should not be primarily to help Jedidiah be potty-trained early, even though I hope that happens once he can walk. The biggest disadvantage of EC is that takes more time than just changing dirty diapers, and though I hope that time will be repaid if he is trained early, it can't be my main motivation. My purpose and motivation has become the pleasure of communicating and bonding with Jedidiah and of keeping him clean. The satisfaction of helping him go in the potty is enough for now.