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Letter from the Co-Editor

By Caren Polner

Ages and Stages: The EC Journey

Read just about anything on Elimination Communication and it won't be long before you come across the phrase, "EC journey." Beginning with the first experiences of baby eliminating in a potty, and ending with a toddler or child who independently takes herself to the toilet, an EC journey encompasses a full range of methods, choices, leaps and falls along the way. Like any other aspect of parenting, there's no one way to do EC that works for every child or every family. And, like many other aspects of child rearing, what works today may very well not work as well tomorrow.

It's important to remember that as your baby grows and changes, the way you communicate about with her about elimination changes, too. A tiny infant may not give much feedback, and so you rely on timing to know when to offer the potty. As the baby gets older, you may notice she doesn't need to eliminate so frequently, and gives clearer signs when she does need to go. A mobile baby might surprise you by crawling to you or calling for you when he needs to go, and the 10-month old you carried easily to the potty might balk at being pulled away from his toys at 13 months. To your delight, your 18-month old might have three straight weeks of independent pottying, but then may need your help again for several more months.

For each of the examples just mentioned, the choice of potty, pottying place, diaper or pants use, and your priorities may be different. Babies are resilient and adaptable; we can be flexible in the way we help them manage their eliminations. Sometimes it takes time to figure out what is going to work best for EC when the baby is going through a new stage of development. It's ok to change what you're doing or back off and rely on diapers temporarily. Be wary of your own expectations, for often you'll find you're not tuned in simply because you think you know what to do. Often when you relax, the baby himself will be the guide of how best to help him, and you'll find yourself back in least for a while.

No matter what your choices of the moment may be, you can feel good about paying attention to your baby's needs. Some day your baby won't need your help with this aspect of his life, just as he won't need your help to feed or dress himself. But until then, the EC journey is a process that is respectful of your baby and builds your bond of trust through understanding.

In this issue, you'll read about diapering choices and how they help families with EC. You'll read the process and progress of one family from their first introduction to EC to their days with a graduated child. And you'll find out what some families do when taking EC'd babies out in public.

DiaperFree Baby strives to provide information, ideas, suggestions and insights to help you and your baby find ways to stay in tune with each other as baby grows and as situations change. We encourage you to share your experiences, questions and thoughts, whether in person at a DiaperFreeBaby meeting or online.


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