Google+ Authentic Parenting: EC From Birth

Thursday, May 12, 2011

EC From Birth

Written by Melissa Kemendo

By the time I reached my third trimester, I felt completely prepared to practice Elimination Communication (EC) with my daughter. After reading about the concept in various places around the blogosphere, I had devoured Ingrid Bauer's Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygeine. I had purchased two little potties and several waterproof pads, both for our family bed, and for my lap. I had a small assortment of cloth diapers to use for outings, which I had chosen over disposables not only for environmental reasons, but also because I wanted to be sure my baby would be aware when she was wet. I had thought everything through, was determined to start practicing EC right away, and fully expected to be in a beautiful rhythm with my new baby by the end of the first month. I was ready.

Then came the birth. I was completely taken with my new daughter the moment she arrived, and also overwhelmed with initiating breastfeeding, monitoring my bleeding, and simply gazing at her incredible face. Caught up in the moment, my desire to practice EC from the very start took a backseat to the more visible issues at hand. I thought about it, but was too distracted to turn that thought to action. It was my husband, who had read no book and formulated no plans, who "caught" the first pee and set us moving on our EC journey.

Shortly after our first 'catch'

Fourteen months in, I am convinced that reading books and formulating a plan is really not all that important. All one needs in order to EC from birth is a desire to communicate with their newborn, and a desire to meet all of their needs in a timely and sensitive manner. EC flows naturally from the connection we instinctually form with our babies, and that connection is all we really need.

For those who like to prepare, however, it doesn't hurt to:

  • Get a little potty. There are even biodegradable options! You can use the sink, or hold your newborn over the toilet, too, so there's no need to stress about getting this right away.
  • Invest in a small stash of cloth diapers. There are the brave few who go completely diaper free all day every day, and that's marvelous. Most like to have backup, however. 
  • Relax. Trust yourself and your baby. There will be misses. Misses are okay. We get busy, cues change, and babies become distracted by other things. This does not diminish the parent-child connection, or mean you're doing it wrong.
Practicing EC from birth did not go exactly as I had planned, and it wasn't the flawless process I expected. At fourteen months, we still have misses most every day, but it's worth it. It has given me a tremendous amount of confidence as a mother, and I don't think it would be presumptuous to say that it has given my husband extra confidence in his fathering abilities. It has protected our daughter from diaper rash and discomfort, and has kept her in tune with her body and her elimination needs. Of course it has saved landfills from many a diaper, too. EC from birth, regardless of how smoothly it goes, can be a wonderfully rewarding experience.

Melissa is mama to a giggly and adventurous toddler who also happens to be her greatest teacher. Having survived the first crazy year of motherhood, she has discovered that being a mom means learning something new every day, and that no matter how much you learn, you will occasionally feel like you're in way over your head. She blogs about motherhood and life with her family at The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones, and Missteps.



  1. That's a fantastic story and a very real one. I was a bit disheartened by Ingrid Bauer's book the first time I read it, she had her child out of diapers by 5-6 months, and that's fantastic, but too full-on for most of us. I practiced very part-time EC with my daughter and it wasn't until about 20 months that we could reliably go without a miss for a whole day every day.

  2. What an interesting story.

    I do however disagree that you don't need to research. In order to successfully do anything you need to have information, if nothing else, to inform yourself and to allow you to trust your instinct. We are bombarded with involuntary information day in and day out so why would you choose to not research this? It doesn't take long to grasp the basics of Elimination Communication. Christine Gross-Loh's Diaper Free Baby is much easier to read.

  3. I'll admit - the first I heard of EC I was full of scorn...but the more I've seen stories like this, the more the idea appeals and makes sense to me.

    Thank you for the recommendations...I think I'm going to have to look into this more (I am the type who likes to do research ;) though I agree with you that in the end it does come down to instinct...)


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