Early Potty Training Method

Elimination communication is a method of early potty training by which a parent carefully watches a baby for signs that she’s about to pee or poop. As soon as the baby “announces” that she needs a potty break (she may squirm in a certain way, for example, or grimace or grunt), Mom or another caregiver gets her to a toilet or potty pronto and holds her over it bare-bottomed so that she takes care of business there and not in a diaper. Some parents begin elimination communication as early as a few weeks, others wait longer, but no matter how old (or young!) a child, early potty training has its benefits. Here are some of the biggest advantages.

EC reduces the need for diapers. Most infants need to be changed from five to ten times a day. And even though babies need fewer diaper changes as they get older, the number of nappies they go through will reach into the thousands by the time they’re toilet-trained. Most parents who do infant potty training use diapers some of the time (overnight, for example, or when they’re on the go), but even so, elimination communication can cut the total number drastically.
EC is easier on the pocketbook. This math is easy: Using fewer diapers means less money spent buying them!
EC is easier on the environment. Disposable diapers eat up resources when they’re manufactured and pile up in landfills after they’re used. Washing cloth diapers uses water and energy. When it comes to the environment, neither option is better than the other, but using fewer diapers of either type by going the elimination communication route is unquestionably the greenest way to go.
EC may be more comfortable for babies. Minus the bulk around her bottom, a baby can kick her chubby little legs and otherwise move more freely than she might wrapped in a nappy.
EC can stave off diaper rash. A sore, red tushie is typically caused by a trio of factors: moisture trapped against skin that’s enclosed in an airless environment and exposed to potential irritants, such as the residue from urine or feces and/or chemicals like the fragrances in a wipe. Most of these rash-raisers are non-issues when a baby spends less time in a diaper.
EC encourages bonding. Elimination communication requires keeping an almost-constant eye on a baby in order to catch her when she needs to pee or poop. Not only does this increase the quantity of time a parent (or caregiver) spends in contact with her child, it can enhance the quality of those close encounters by requiring Mom to really pay attention to how her baby expresses her needs.
EC is natural. At least, it’s natural when you consider that worldwide, most mothers deal with their infants’ toileting needs without using diapers. Particularly in Asia and Africa, babies are toted around with their butts bare. When they show signs of needing to relieve themselves, their mothers simply hold them away from their own bodies.

Baby’s First Sippy Cup


It’s not quite time to say bye-bye to bottles just yet, but the time is coming. At about the six-month mark, you can begin introducing your baby to the wonderful world of sippy cups. Starting now means your baby may accept the cup more readily and will give him plenty of time to master it before you need to completely wean him from the breast or bottle. At first, he’ll do little more than play with the cup (and sputter and spit as you dribble a few drops into his mouth). But soon he’ll learn that his fascinating new toy can be a source of delicious drinks.

To help him make the leap, start with a lightweight, unbreakable plastic cup. You may need to try a few different shapes, sizes, and styles before you hit on the one that he likes best. (Skinny or fat? Handles or not? Sippy, straw, or — if you’re very brave — topless?) If you choose a cup with a spout, remove the spill-free valve before you offer it to your baby. It will be messier, but he’ll get the idea of drinking much more quickly. Most babies can’t yet muster the powerful suck they need to get liquid through the valve (plus studies show that extended use of a sippy cup can lead to tooth decay because of the way the liquid is extracted and then pools in the mouth).

What should a baby’s first beverage be? Start with water — it’s the easiest, least messy option. When he gets used to that (or if he refuses it altogether), move on to formula or expressed breast milk. You can also give diluted fruit juice; if your baby is especially resistant to the cup, the sweet taste of juice might win him over. (Remember, just a few drops of juice is enough to sweeten the water — overdo it and you’ll encourage that sweet tooth.) If all your attempts are met with pursed lips and frustrated cries, put the cups away for a few weeks and try again later. He’ll get there.

Having A a Relative Caregiver for Your Baby

If your mom, aunt, or another relative is available to care for your little one, you may feel like you’ve won the childcare jackpot. The biggest perk of relative care? The peace of mind that comes with knowing that a trusted family member is minding your precious bundle. It’s a win for you and your infant — he gets one-on-one attention, and you get an infant caregiver who’s (usually) much easier On your wallet.               No wonder more than a quarter of all working mothers opt for a relative caregiver.

But as with all options in childcare, there are potential pitfalls to opting for relative care. For one thing, it’d probably be pretty awkward to tell your mom (or worse, your mother-in-law) that you don’t like the way she’s doing her job. Or you might face a relative caregiver (especially if she’s older) who thinks she always knows best — after all, you’re a new mom and she has 20-plus years of experience under her belt. So before you decide to keep it all in the family, ask yourself these questions about choosing a relative caregiver:

Does my relative really want the job? Because you’re family, your mother or mother-in-law may have a hard time saying no to watching your wee one. If she seems hesitant, a frank talk is in order before you proceed. Going down the relative care path without all parties being totally on board isn’t good for anyone, especially your baby.

Is my relative good with kids? Your sister-in-law may love swinging by to visit her nephew, but cuddling a baby for a bit and taking care of one for hours at a time are two very different things. Just as you would if you wanted to hire a nanny, consider your relative’s patience, demeanor, and experience caring for children before you leave your baby with her.

Is my relative physically capable of handling the job? Your mom or dad may be willing — and lobbying hard — for the gig, but are they physically up to the task? Can they lug around a growing baby and crawl around with him on the floor? And even if they can hack it now, will they have the stamina to keep up with your tot as he morphs into a skipping, scampering, high-energy toddler? That happens sooner than you think.

Can I tell my relative what to do? Open communication is key to a successful childcare relationship; some moms, however, find it’s not so easy to bring up issues to a relative caregiver. It’s a point worth considering: For one thing, nannies are childcare pros who are used to working with parents. Plus, you may never see them again once your child’s ready for preschool. None of that is true with a relative caregiver. So given that your brother signed on to watch your baby out of the goodness of his heart, could you call him out if you discover he’s parking your sweetie in front of the TV for hours each day? If the answer’s no, toughen up or reconsider your arrangement.

How flexible is my relative, time-wise and attitude-wise? Is your family member’s schedule really that open for her to make this kind of commitment? And how about her child-rearing beliefs? Even if she disagrees with your take on discipline and naps, would she follow your rules while she’s with your baby? If you suspect not, you may want to rethink “hiring” her so you don’t risk a family feud (or a last-minute search for a backup sitter).

Still want to leave your baby in a relative’s care?


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