I have to say when a book landed on my desk about newborn babies using a potty my jaw hit the ground. What on earth could they be talking about? After reading through Nappy Free Baby cover to cover, I understood what Amber Hatch the author was talking about. It might seem mad to many, but it actually makes a lot of sense. In this article that she’s written for us Amber answers questions to five common newborn problems. 

My baby wees all over the place every time I change his nappy

Babies are born with a reflex that makes them urinate whenever air reaches their nether regions. Why not try holding your baby over a potty, or bowl, or the toilet, when you take his nappy off for changing? If you hold him upright, with his knees slightly above his pelvis, then that will help him release his pelvic floor and encourage him to go. Have everything in place before you take off his nappy. Hold him in your arms, whip off the nappy and hold him over the bowl. The stream should then go in the bowl rather than over your face/curtains/tea.

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Sometimes, my baby poos so explosively that it comes out of the neck of his babygro

If you offer your baby the chance to use the potty three or four times a day (say, for example, every time you change her). It is very likely that she will empty her bowel some of those times. Many parents find that once their baby has learnt how to use the potty (which may only take a day or two), she seems to prefer pooing there as it is much more comfortable. This keeps her going regularly and prevents a build up of the orange stuff. You may find that you hardly ever have to change a dirty nappy again – let alone have to deal with explosions inside the babygro!

My baby seems uncomfortable but can’t settle down to a feed or a sleep

Newborn babies are very sensitive and any discomfort in their body can make them difficult to settle. Most parents quickly learn that “burping” their baby helps them to feel more comfortable. Babies can burp by themselves, but when you hold them in a certain way it makes their bodies work more effectively. Parents feel satisfied and connected to their babies when they help them burp. Holding your baby in an optimum way for them to empty their bowel or to pass wind works in a very similar way. Babies can do this by themselves, but they will be much happier if you help them to do it. Holding them out will help them to pass waste much more quickly and effectively, which will enable them to settle down to a feed or sleep much more quickly.

My baby hasn’t pooed for six days

While we are told that is quite healthy for breastfed babies to go without passing a bowel movement for up to a week, parents still sometimes worry that their baby is uncomfortable with all that poo building up. And formula-fed babies sometimes struggle with constipation too. Many parents find that offering their baby a chance to go outside their nappy helps to keep them more regular. Holding them in the squat position helps their body to work more effectively to pass a bowel movement. Babies learn how to use the potty very quickly so they soon “clock on” to what they are supposed to do, and parents can actively encourage them to go.

I have no idea why my baby is crying

When your baby cries and you don’t know why, you just have to go through the list of possible problems and solutions. Hungry? Tired? Too hot or cold? Over or under-stimulated? Uncomfortable? BLPT offers you another tool to try to soothe your crying baby. Perhaps baby is crying because she is uncomfortable with a full bladder or bowel. Try holding her out in a squat position ­- she weed or pooed? Great – You can tick the box. She didn’t? Just try the next thing on the list. Little babies especially often express discomfort when they need to pass waste, so having a possible solution to that problem discomfort means that you can feel more capable and confident as a parent.

By Amber Hatch, mum of two, and author of Nappy Free Baby: a practical guide to baby-led potty training from birth (Vermilion, 2015).

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About The Author

Amber Hatch
Potty Training Expert

Amber Hatch is the author of Nappy Free Baby; a practical guide to baby-led potty training from birth (Vermilion 2015). Baby-led potty training (BLPT) is a gentle, intuitive method of responding to baby's toileting needs. Drawing inspiration from cultures where nappies are used sparingly, BLPT is a method for keeping baby cleaner and happier in a busy modern world. Amber is a childminder, teacher and writer who discovered (BLPT) shortly after the birth of her first baby in 2008. Amazed by the success of the method, she set up www.nappyfreebaby.co.uk to provide a UK source of information for families. She runs free monthly BLPT workshops in Oxford to support other parents and offers a consultation service. Amber practises Buddhist meditation and uses mindfulness to inform her approach to parenting. She is working to establish the first mindful parenting support group. She and her husband, Alex, live in Oxford with their two children.

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