So you've read about EC and have decided to give it a go. But how do you actually physically hold your baby while doing elimination communication?
When I was first learning about EC I was pregnant and found it hard to figure out exactly what it would look like in practise. In this blog we explain some common EC holds/positions we love and found useful on our EC journey.
The positions you and your baby use need to be the right fit for their size, your body and strength, and your little ones current developmental stage. Do what is comfortable and what your baby responds best to. Make sure they feel supported, safe, and the atmosphere is relaxed with zero pressure. An older child doing EC will need all the same things perhaps with a little of privacy thrown in.
If you are new here or to EC, check out our Intro To EC blog to get a bit of background.
HOLD #1: SITTING ON THE TOP HAT POTTY
There are a few ways that you can use a Top Hat Potty making it a super versatile tool for EC on the go. These holds are great for babies of up to one year of age, after which most babies will outgrow the potty.
1. Starting from the big picture above, we have the standing hold. Hold baby with one arm, resting them against your arm and with your hand under their legs. With the other hand, hold the potty and sit them on top. Great for those who like to be able to move and walk around while giving time for your little one to go.
2. The picture above on the left shows the common sit down position where both baby and caregiver are sitting. Sit down somewhere comfy and hold the Top Hat Potty between your thighs. This leaves your hands free to hold your baby and keep them balanced on top of the potty.
3. The ground sit - pictured on the right above. This can be an easy transition if you have a wriggler or crawler who likes to be on the ground. Sit your baby down with their back against your tummy and the Top Hat Potty firmly between your legs. Amazing for night/morning potting as you don’t even need to get out of bed.
HOLD #2: THE CLASSIC HOLD
Hold your baby under the thighs resting their back, neck, and head on your torso. This is the hold that we use most often...it's so versatile! The classic EC hold can easily be done over a sink, toilet, on the side of a potty, or outside. Having your body close to your baby makes them feel safe, relaxed, and the deep squat positioning promotes a full elimination if it's time for number 2s.
HOLD #3: CRADLE HOLD
The benefits of this position are the same as the Classic Hold, but the position is altered. If your baby isn’t rolling over yet then hold the baby by their thighs and rest the neck, back, and head in the crook of your arm. This is a good one to try in younger babies.
HOLD #4: SIDE SIT ON A REGULAR POTTY
Use the classic hold and turn the potty on an angle. Sit down on the floor with your back against something for support if you need it and pop your baby’s bottom on the side of the potty. Have the back support of the potty away from you acting as a splash-back for those wees, particularly handy if you have a boy.
HOLD #5: SITTING ON A REGULAR POTTY OR SEAT REDUCER
This position is good for older babies who can hold themselves up steadily and have full neck and head control. Assist your baby with balance as required and encourage them with cues to do their thing. If your baby is older you can create an environment they love (we are currently using a tradie light that Jasper loves and he has some diggers in sight), ensure it's safe, and then give them privacy.
HOLD #6: REVERSE TOILET SIT
For younger and older babies. I love this hold because it helps distribute the weight of my little guy and there is zero clean up. The only disadvantage is that you can't easily monitor hydration and poops as it goes straight into the toilet (with a younger baby you still may be able to see). My partner doesn't do this one because he doesn't fit on the toilet with him - it won't be for everyone I guess! In this hold you are facing backwards towards the flush button and sit on the toilet with your baby. Hold your baby in the classic hold and their feet will be near the seat cover.
Any other holds you use or would like some guidance with?
Want to learn more? We have created a facebook page called 'Sustainable Babies in NZ' to share more about EC, sustainable baby product alternatives, tips and discussions for raising your gorgeous Pēpi in a natural and gentle way.