First off was the decision to cloth diaper. People came out of the woodwork to tell us we were nuts. That surely, we’d regret it and find ourselves bleary-eyed in a big-box-brand-name-store at 3 a.m. desperately purchasing disposable diapers within a week of bringing our baby home. “You’ll see…” I heard time and again. Well…here were are…four-plus months later and loving the decision we've made to cloth diaper. It’s super convenient and totally budget-friendly. Not to mention that we’re always just one laundry load away from a new supply of diapers for our little one. It is also better for her health and for the health of our planet.
Second was the fact that my exclusively breast-fed baby refuses to take a pacifier or a bottle. I am fine with her not wanting a paci…but others have an issue with it. She’s keen to suck her thumb instead (although has not fully worked that out just yet) and somehow that’s a bad thing. I dunno. If it helps her to self-soothe, I am all for it. It’s right there, whenever she needs or wants it. And for the record, I sucked my thumb and didn’t go off to college still doing it. Sure, I needed orthodontics, but it wasn’t because of the thumb-sucking. It was due to genetics.
And although we introduced the bottle at the “right time” of four weeks and she initially took it, eventually she decided she wanted nothing to do with it. At first I thought it was because I produce excess lipase and discovered that my stored, pumped breast milk had an “off” taste. But even once we worked that out (via scalding all pumped milk as recommended by Kelly Mom and LLLI) she still refused to take the bottle. And we tried them all. Including this fancy-schmancy one that actually looks and supposedly feels a lot like a breast. So, with the impending date of my return to full-time work looming, we got creative and tried feeding her expressed breast milk from a cup. Well, really the top of one of the many bottles she’d refused. And you know what? It worked! So since she was eight weeks old she gets her “cup milk” from daddy or grandma while I am at work. People still don’t believe she can drink from a cup. Others ask why we don’t just make her drink from a bottle. (As if I could make her?! They suggest, “if you don’t offer her anything by the bottle, eventually she’ll HAVE to take it!”). Why on earth would I do that when she’s already drinking from a cup? People need to learn to drink from a cup. They don’t need to know how to use a bottle. So, she’s just ahead of the game.
Here's a video of J cup feeding Libby when she was 10 weeks old:
Speaking of being ahead, that leads me to our latest “unconventional” choice to use infant pottying in our household. Also known as Elimination Communication or Diaper-free Babies, it basically is learning to read your babies cues to know when they need to potty. And once you notice them, you begin to potty them over the toilet or sink or receptacle of your choosing rather than let them go in their diaper. Sounds pretty down-to-earth to me. After all, people need to use the potty anyway, right? So, very casually, we’ve begun to observe when Libby needs to pee or poop. It’s become fairly easy to pinpoint, especially her pooping schedule, which is just once a day now and usually in the early evenings after feeding. Pee has been a little trickier to catch, but again, she usually lets us know immediately when she’s wet and we’ve been able to figure out her signals just before then, namely squirming and vocalization. So we’ve been able to get her to tinkle on the potty (our household toilet is now outfitted with a kiddie potty seat that I picked up for $3) by offering her “pottytunities” before and after her naps, after feeding, before baths, etc. We cue her with “pssss” and sure enough, she pees in the potty. It’s so cute!
She loves it because she’s not in a wet diaper. And we love it because it means less diaper changes (and laundry) for us. Especially the poopie ones. I’ve only changed one poopie diaper in the past 5 days (and that’s because she surprised me with a early-afternoon poop). We have no intention of having her be diaper-free (she’s still in her cloth diapers) save for the 15-20 minutes of “naked time” she has each day. Nor are we pushing her to “potty train” anytime soon. It’s more about teaching her that she has options when it comes to her personal hygiene. Knowing her, once she really figures out that she doesn’t have to be in a wet or dirty diaper I suspect she will be wanting to use the potty more often than not. She smiles every time we sit her there. And she loves that it’s faster and cleaner than getting a diaper change.
That said, we’ve already gotten the side-eye about it. And of course the lecture that it’s “too soon.” Yes, if we were potty training her, it would be WAY too soon. But what we’re doing is potty learning and offering her options, which is perfectly fine. In many cultures they don’t even use diapers on infants because they practice this method of infant pottying. And it’s not like she’s being scolded if she goes in her diaper (which is an old-school tactic used by parents in potty training). Oh well…I guess to many people teaching your baby to use the toilet is weird. To us, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. It’s a skill she’ll use for life so why not start now? I did have to laugh though when we were asked, “well how does she get to the bathroom?” Um, the same way she gets everywhere else right now. We carry her. Duh.
Finally, I am sure that more eyes will roll in a couple of months when we begin introducing solids to our daughter. We’ve already been asked more than once why she’s not already eating rice cereal. We’ve had to let people know that we’re going with the AAP’s recommendation to wait until she’s six months old before introducing solids. (Oh and I’ve also been asked why I plan to breastfeed beyond six months since she’ll be eating solids by then and will most likely have teeth. I cannot believe how clueless people are about breastfeeding. You should have seen the reaction when I said I have no intentions of weaning at twelve months, let alone six. Oy vay.)
We plan to let Libby self-feed solids (also known as BLW or Baby-led Weaning) when she shows signs of readiness. Most likely that’ll be later this summer. I am sure people will ask why on earth she’s not being spoon-fed jarred baby food or even purees we make ourselves. I am sure they’ll question the risk of her choking. I am already scheduled to take an Infant CPR class later this month so at least I can let them know that if on the remote chance she did choke, we’d know what to do. But I am sure they’ll still roll their eyes. Oh well, I guess that’s okay. It certainly won’t be the first time.