I find this statistic shocking. Worldwide, 51 million 15-19 year old girls are married and 200 teenagers per day die of complications from early pregnancy and childbirth. Some 200 million women and girls in developing countries do not have access to contraception. This week, the London Family Planning Summit was held to tackle the devastating consequences of inequality of access to birth control.
My baby was very much planned and wanted and we love her to bits. That is not to say that having a baby is easy. On a physical level there is a risk to both mum and baby from pregnancy and birth, particularly where medical assistance is unavailable. I had my daughter at the grand old age of 37 and I cannot imagine how many children I would have had by that point if I had not had easy access to free contraception. Children do cost money. Feeding and clothing them is not cheap. In the countries where women are most likely to not have access to contraception, free education is often not available. Therefore women have large families, but cannot educate their children which leads to a lack of opportunity and an inability to lift families out of poverty.
All the studies show that providing women and girls with sex education and control over their own fertility has massive benefits. Not just to women and their babies, through decreased maternal and infant mortality and better health, but to communities and economies.
There was a landmark announcement at the London Family Planning Summit this week. Leaders from around the globe committed to providing 120 million women from the world’s poorest countries with access to contraceptives by 2020. Hopefully, the appalling statistic that a girl growing up in Chad today is more likely to die from childbirth than attend secondary school will become a shameful memory by the time my daughter is a teenager.
What the hell is elimination communication (EC)? It is parents learning their babies’ cues when they need to do a poo or wee and acting upon them so that the baby doesn’t have to go in a nappy. Because, to be honest, who would be happy to soil themselves if they don’t have to? Babies feel the same way.
I heard about EC when I was pregnant and thought that it sounded like an excellent idea. You can start from birth, but what with our baby being in hospital for a few weeks and then having so many problems with breastfeeding and weight gain, it slipped of the radar a bit. Until a few weeks ago.
I was a bit sceptical, to be honest. However, a month down the line I am seriously impressed. We started off looking for poo cues, as this is a lot easier than wee cues (although actually they’re quite similar in our girl). Our little cheeky chops tends to go red between the eyebrows and pauses for a few moments, looking (and sounding!) as though she is visibly straining. When I saw her doing this, I would very quickly pop her on to our special small potty and as she did her poo I would make a straining noise. Sometimes she would do a wee at the same time as a poo and I would make a ‘pssssssst’ sound too.
Fast forward a few weeks and because of her horrid teething and stealth poo nappy rash, the small one has been mainly nappy-free this week except for sleeps. We have had two small wee accidents, but that’s it. She will do all her poos on the potty and most of her wees. She even cried yesterday when I put a nappy on her before bed. I got the feeling she was trying to tell me something and so I popped her on the potty and she did a massive wee. I just make sure to put her on the potty frequently and ask her if she has a ‘straining noise’ or a ‘psssst’. She then strains a little and if there’s something there……out it comes. Result!
Some people think that EC is about early potty training. It isn’t really. It’s more about understanding your babies’ cues and then training them to associate the sounds you make with doing a wee or poo. Follow this up with giving them plenty of opportunities to do their business on a potty and there’s a good chance they will oblige. I think Rosa really appreciates not being in a dirty nappy so often. You can do EC on a full or part-time basis. I think for us in the day when we’re at home is right for now. Maybe we’ll do more when she’s older. Having a 9 month old baby who regularly uses a potty is astounding, and so much better for her and us!
On Sunday 1st July, our little baby finally cut her first tooth, aged 9 and a half months. Not that we had been worried, or anything. It can be much longer before they get a tooth. The arrival of the tooth was without fanfare. Except for a shocking case of nappy rash, which is something that Rosa has never suffered from before. Added to the teething was the fact that there was a stealth poo in her nappy when she woke up that morning, which normally never happens. Sure that didn’t help either. Thankfully the nappy rash is clearing up nicely.
I only found out about the tooth by accident, when she had been ‘carpet-surfing’ and I noticed she had something in her mouth ( a crumb of toast from that morning – nice!). Trying to fish it out of her mouth, I felt something hard where her bottom incisors will be. The secret tooth! Secret because she, sweetly, won’t let her Mum and Dad look at it. We are just about permitted to feel it, but she covers it with her tongue when we try to look at it. She’ll be cross if she finds out I’ve let the cat out of the bag. Shhhh….keep it to yourself, ok?