Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bushwalking in D'Entrecasteaux

Spent last week bushwalking on the Bibbulmun Track from Inlet River Rd to Walpole on the south coast. Overnighted in three of the track huts; Woolbales, Long Point & Mt Clare. Highlights included wading through flooded track sections (sometimes up to knee deep); running from the rain at long point and climbing Mt Clare through the tingle & karri forest. It was an awesome walk with my two compadres. Watching the landscape change from jarrah forest to coastal dunes back to forest again was fascinating and the plenty of wet sections as well as river/creek crossings kept the walk interesting.
I've definitely whetted my appetite for walking in the region. We skirted the Nuyts Wilderness Area which i think will definitely be worth an exploratory hike sometime in the not too distant future...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Ever wondered what all the mum’s who can’t afford nappies do to keep themselves and their babies clean?

Before Danika was born Case and I were trying to work out which way to go – cloth or disposable? Both seem quite bad for the environment, both seemed either inconvenient or expensive and I never really felt comfortable with the idea of strapping waste to our beautiful baby girl’s bottom.

Then we stumbled across the concept of ‘Elimination Communication’ or ‘Infant Potty Training’.

Basically when ever we think Danika needs to go to the loo we simply hold her over the potty, and when ever she pees we say ‘psssssss’. Over time she is learning than when ever we hold her in that position and say ‘psssssss’ it is time to pee.

How does it work –

The theory is that whilst babies can’t hold on if they need to go, they can release before they’re busting, so the trick is to catch it before it comes out in a non-controlled way (ie. In their nappy or on you!)

Cues –

For pees the best cue so far seems to be timing. Straight after a feed is guaranteed (with Danika). And then 5 mins later, them 10 mins later then it gets a bit hazy. Sometimes if she’s playing on the mat all happy then does a little grizzle I think she might be telling me she needs to pee, but it’s early days and I’m not certain yet.

For poos, I reckon the smell of her fluffs changes just before she needs to go (they smell more like sweet baby poo) and if I put her on the potty to do a wee and she tightens her hammies it’s a good indicator that she needs a bit longer. Also for the last 2 weeks she’s done one poo everyday at about 11.30.

Generally wees take about 10 seconds and poos take about 10 minutes.

So we’re not completely nappy free yet. She still wears them to bed and when we go out.

Some people have asked if it’s a hassle… not really. Time I spend holding her over the potty is time I would otherwise be spending burping her or talking to her and both of these we do while she’s on the potty anyway. I suppose if the phone rings or I want to sweep the floor or something then it’s a bit of a hassle.

The main advantages are;

· It’s fun! In a way only a mother could understand. I love the way we communicate to one another at such a kinaesthetic level.

· It’s much cleaner for her. Even after poos one little wipe and she’s clean.

· Less nappies. The cloth nappies I use in the day are easy to wash because they usually only have one little pee in them (that Danika did while she was in bed) and we only use disposables when we go out (heaps cheaper). I haven’t washed a pooie bottom or nappy for over six weeks (except this morning when I dropped a clean nappy in a dirty potty!)


· Sometimes I turn the heater on more because it’s easier to have her bare bottomed.

· I have to clean out the potty (but I’d much rather clean a dirty potty than a dirty bottom!)

· Sometimes other mothers give me strange looks.

So it’s so far so good at this stage. I’m not sure what will happen when she learns to crawl. As she’s getting older she does seem to be going longer between pees so I’m hoping it’s only going to get easier, but who knows. I expect that early toilet training will be a natural consequence of what we're doing but it's not really about toilet training any more than breast feeding is about weaning.

I’ve read on the internet that some western parents who use this method don’t use any nappies right from the start, but we’re not quite there yet. I’ve heard that some non-western mothers think teaching a baby to use his clothes as a toilet is disgusting and weird.

It’s funny how in the west a baby using a potty is such a novel idea that the method even has it’s own name… “Elimination Communication”. But for over half the babies in the world this is just how they go to the toilet.