knitting for a little bum

wool diaper cover1

I just finished a wool diaper cover for the little-bum-in-residence. The pattern is called "Vanilla", and it's available through Ravelry.

wool diaper cover 2

I adore it, even though it's too big. (I knit a large, and next time I'll stick to the medium.) I've been wanting to switch to wool covers for quite a while now, but I've only recently found myself motivated to pick up my sticks. It's like that with me and knitting - I knit like a maniac for a while, then I need a break. Now that I'm firmly ensconced in my knitting mania, I have plans for many more diaper covers. Just cast on for another one last night, in fact.

the skeptical banana swagger

My friend Grace wrote an excellent post about cloth diapering and wool covers a while back - it's a goldmine of useful information if you're curious.

eating a wool banana

So, why wool covers, especially for an EC baby? Well, as I mentioned before, Finn is currently much more interested in walking (and making banana something-rathers in his wooden kitchen) than in signaling his need to use the potty. We're very cool with it. He's actually begun to sign "potty" right after he goes, which is somewhat helpful. Although he still sits on the potty to do his thing several times a day, we're also spending more time out and about this summer, and we don't EC when we're out of the house yet. We also made the decision a long time ago to not EC at night. Pottying was too much of a disruption of my sleep in a way that breastfeeding while co-sleeping never was. As an added perk, once we stopped EC-ing at night, Finn started sleeping quite well. We use Mother-Ease Sandy's diapers with their stay-dry liners at night. I never loved the PUL covers, though - even though we don't get many leaks, they don't breathe very well, which I makes for an ammonia smell first thing in the morning. Eew.

Plus, did I mention that the PUL covers have four snaps? Not very easy-on, easy-off while getting dressed. My hope is that these wool covers will be easier for Finn to maneuver once he starts showing interest in dressing himself.

baking the banana

Oh. And they're cute. Reason enough to switch, right?

the picnic (& the potty) with mima and papa

When my Mom and Dad were here visiting last week, we took to the park with a blanket, lunch, a little green potty and a cute little babe for an Autumn experience a la North Carolina. Donning short sleeves and sandals, we took in the warm breeze and gently colored leaves.

picnic and ec with mima and papa

picnic and ec with mima and papa

picnic and ec with mima and papa

picnic and ec with mima and papa

picnic and ec with mima and papa

picnic and ec with mima and papa
When days like this one grace you with their presence, you drop everything and go outside. May your weekend be warm, if only figuratively!

sponsor giveaway :: ec wear

I'm happy to have Marija of EC Wear as a sponsor - for those of you unfamiliar with Elimination Communication, you can read about our experience with it here. EC Wear specializes in WAHM-made clothing such as leg warmers, split-crotch pants, and tiny undies perfect for families with EC-ing infants or toddlers who are on their journey to potty independence. Read on to learn more about EC Wear and enter a comment to win a pair of Huggalugs arm/leg warmers that fit from infancy through childhood. Leg warmers are a must for EC-ing families, but any child will appreciate the extra warmth now that Autumn's chill is on its way!


From Marija: I started EC Wear when Jordan was six months old and I was very frustrated by the lack of availability of clothing that were both easy to use and not made in sweatshops.  I found specialty EC products on line but most were custom-made by busy Work-at-Home-Moms and required a long wait or were frequently out of stock.  I started by cutting up the clothing that I had, serging onesies into t-shirts and splitting pants.  I then had my mother, a talented seamstress, start making cute split pants.  I wanted to make it easier for more parents to get excited about EC by making a wide range of products available.  With my background as a labor rights activist and union organizer, I also wanted to create a resource for parents to find easy-to-use products manufactured under fair working conditions. So I started an online store and have been slowly building up a collection of fair-trade or WAHM products that facilitate elimination communication.  It is a work-in-progress-- I work part-time from home, as I am also focusing my attention on my son, who just turned two.  EC Wear now carries over 100 styles of legwarmers, a variety of training pants and underwear starting at newborn sizes, cloth diapers, and the biggest online selection of split pants. 


Thanks, Marija - leave a comment to win a pair of legwarmers (your choice of style!)


Congratulations to Emmalina, who won a pair of Huggalugs! Thank you, Marija and Jordan from EC Wear! Comments are now closed.

baby essentials

Many soon-to-be-first-time-mamas have asked me the following question: What, exactly, do I need to have for my baby? 

This post is for you!

The good news? Most of what your baby (and you) will need in those first few months is free. For example:

baby essentials :: the fan

If you have one of these, you're SET. Oh, how I wish we didn't live in a rental and that we had the money to put in pretty fans, but hey, Finn loves them anyway. He talks to them. He laughs at them. I worry that, instead of speaking human language, he will just click, clack, and whirl in a rhythmic fashion.

But seriously. 

I hesitate to give a laundry list of baby essentials, because what works for us might not work for you. Every family has its own needs and priorities, and ours are highly influenced by my Montessori background, our decisions to co-sleep and practice EC, and our budget. The bottom line? Do what is right for you, your family, and your little one. Follow your convictions, follow your budget, but most of all, (in Montessori-speak) follow the child. What your child needs is YOU - your love, your smiles, your voice - not stuff! Stuff can be nice (and very helpful) but keep in mind that you shouldn't feel pressure to accumulate it. 

Also, do keep in mind that most of these items can be found second-hand. We have yet to buy new clothing for Finn, as we've been pretty determined to hit every Saturday yard sale in our neighborhood. We've found baby wraps and plenty of clothing. You might try looking on for other, larger items.

That said, here's a list of what our family has found helpful in the first four (almost five!) months of Finn's life:

  • the Moby Wrap. I've talked about it before, but this is our go-to option for soothing a tired baby. Daddy wears the Moby, and I wear ...
  • a ring sling. I've found that it's easy to get on and off and great for covering up while nursing out of the house. Our current favorite is the hip hold - we get a lot done in the kitchen and around the house thanks to the sling.
  • at least 50 pre-fold diapers. They are cheap, super absorbent, and perfect for EC backup around the house, worn with a diaper belt (known affectionately around these parts as Finn's sumo belt). Amanda Soule's book, Handmade Home, includes instructions on how to make your own pre-fold diapers from recycled cloth. We don't use diaper covers unless we're out and about (and we used g diapers with much success while traveling) but I'd say you'd need three covers to be safe.

baby care area in our bedroom

  • a dresser with the top drawers reserved for baby diapers and clothing. No need to get a special baby changing dresser - we already had ours, a mid-century-ish find from a thrift store. The above photo is our "baby care station" - a changing pad (with two cotton terry covers - one for the wash, and one for the pad), Finn's Baby Bjorn potty on top of a waterproof mat, a toy or two for potty time, wipes, and two burlap buckets - one for the 20 or so washcloths that we use constantly for cleaning up spit up, drool, milk - you name it, and one for holding my cotton breast pads.
  • a water repellent wool pad, topped with a flannel receiving blanket, for sleeping on top of in our family bed. You can make your own felted wool pad, or buy one here. You'll need lots of receiving blankets. I think we have about ten. You can make your own by buying cotton flannel at a fabric store and simply cutting them to small blanket size - zigzag the edges and you're done.
  • a co-sleeping pillow. This makes all of us feel safe and secure at night. Finn slept in a sleep sack for the first few months.
  • kimono shirts, baby legwarmers, socks and hats. Finn doesn't really have that many clothes - figure that your baby will go through one, maybe two, shirts per day (depending on drool and spit-up) and two or more pants if you choose to use pants. I rarely put Finn in pants because we EC. We prefer to use legwarmers and socks to keep his lower extremities warm. We do laundry every other day, so we only really need about four shirts, two pairs of pants, and a few pairs of baby socks. If you don't want to do laundry that frequently, then you'll need more clothes (and more diapers, probably!)
  • a wool fleece pad or lambskin, for hanging out on the floor, playing with toys, watching mobiles, cats, etc.
  • several mobiles from the Michael Olaf catalog or made by hand. Finn loved his black and white whale mobile.
  • Montessori baby toy set from Pink House Handworks.
  • and, finally, a Svan baby/youth chair. We've just started using it with Finn (because he's just begun to sit up on his own) but we LOVE it. It is an expensive item, but we knew we wanted it and spread the word - several family members went in on it together to purchase it for us as a gift. The chair is so great on many levels - the tray comes off so you can scoot the baby right up to the edge of the table to socialize with you as you eat meals as a family. It's beautifully made of wood. Perhaps its biggest selling point for us was that it converts into a toddler and youth chair which the older child can get in and out of himself with the aid of a step/foot rest.
That's all I can think of for the moment - I'm sure I've missed something. How about this - if you're a mama, think about something that you couldn't live without in those first few months and leave a comment. Let's make this post a go-to resource for mamas-to-be.



Here they are - a week's worth of sleepy nursing knitting. Poor baby has to model wool knitwear in summer-in-the-South humidity ... but hey, at least the air conditioning is on!

I used the free pattern from Never Not Knitting and the recommended yarn, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. Yummy stuff. I have plenty left over for several more pairs, and this is such a relaxing, easy project that I won't hesitate to cast on another pair. I'm sure they will come in handy when the weather cools, especially since we'll be practicing elimination communication and will want to have easy access to whip the diaper off. A boy's gotta go when a boy's gotta go, no time for fiddling around with snaps and pants!


Many of you have asked about how EC is going. Here's a quick update:

We love it. After the first week or so it started to feel like second nature. At first, it feels like you spend an inordinate amount of time pottying. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that little babies pee quite frequently - sometimes even every ten minutes, depending on the time of day and if they just nursed, etc. As he's gotten a bit older, Finn's pees seem to have spread out in their frequency - coming about every 30 - 40 minutes or so. After nursing, though, they can still come every 10 minutes. Which is funny - because after nursing, he is so content that lately he's stopped signaling us in a consistent manner - he's too busy charming us with smiles and coos or looking at his beloved ceiling fan to let us know with the (till now) customary fuss. More and more, his signals are becoming so subtle that it's difficult to pick up on them - it could be anything from a slightly wrinkled brow to a leg stretch. In other words, we've been missing more pees in the past week, but Finn doesn't seem to mind (and I don't, either - I would prefer not interrupting his periods of delight and concentration with a trip to the potty.)

He does, however, love his potty. I should say ... he love to charm the dapper young baby in the mirror in front of the potty. Finn thinks this little guy is so hilarious. Plus, they have the same interests - drooling and blowing bubbles.

Number twos are rarely missed. I can't remember the last time he had a dirty diaper during the day, although about once or twice a week he dirties one (without waking up!) during the night. We aren't EC'ing at night, just changing wet diapers when necessary. We tried to potty a few times, but for now he seems to prefer not being disturbed while in a deep sleep. The diaper changes are easy - I keep a stack of prefolds on the bed and I just remove the wet diaper (he wears the sumo belt at night) and replace it with a dry one without even lifting him up. I barely wake up, and he sleeps soundly through the whole process.

We do have an EC challenge right around the corner - we're heading to New York for a family wedding in a little over a week. Do any of you veteran EC'ers have any advice on what works while traveling?