Kids may not be able to help wetting the bed, and that's important for you to remember, especially on those mornings when you're faced with sopping sheets. And the problem certainly can't be "solved" by punishment. It does help to keep a "dry" sense of humour about the situation, which will undoubtedly pass. And try these techniques in the meantime.
When you're raising a child, bedwetting comes with the territory. In fact, as many as seven million children over the age of six don't heed nature's call during the night. Most likely, your child is not waking up when his bladder is full-and this is only a problem because the child is producing a lot of urine in the night or has a bladder that's somewhat low on capacity.
Keep Those "Wee Hours" Drier
- Restrict your child's fluid intake before bedtime. In particular, cut out sodas or other beverages that contain caffeine, which irritates the bladder.
- If your child usually drinks a glass of milk at bedtime, try discontinuing that practice and see if it helps. Some children are allergic to the proteins in milk, primarily casein and whey, and the allergy can cause bedwetting. This problem is usually present from infancy, and can also cause bloating and diarrhoea, among other symptoms.
- Make sure your child voids before he or she goes to bed. It won't stop the bedwetting, but there will be less stored urine, which means less urine to wet the bed.
- Make her pre-bedtime routine calm and quiet. Rough, active play or even an exciting TV programme increases the risk of bedwetting. Read her a story, or suggest that she read to herself.
- Buy a bedwetting alarm, which emits a loud sound or vibrates silently when it detects moisture. It conditions kids to recognize the need to urinate and wake up before they have to go. Don't give up if the alarm hasn't solved the problem after a week or two; it may take several weeks or even a month or two.
Limit the Damage
- Put a plastic mattress cover on your child's bed. Not only does it protect the mattress, it also ensures that you can treat the accident as just that-an accident, not a tragedy. Both you and your child will sleep better knowing that there's not a major cleanup job to worry about.
Enlist Your Tot's Support
- Have your child assist you with the tasks that go along with bedwetting, like laundering the sheets, making the bed, or putting out a fresh pair of PJs before she hops into bed. Make it clear that her participation isn't a punishment, just a responsibility.
When to consult a doctor
Some studies show that children who wet their beds may have an abnormally low level of antidiuretic hormone (ADH). This hormone helps the kidneys retain water, and if there's a deficiency of it, more urine gets into the bladder. A doctor can prescribe a nasal spray containing a synthetic version of the hormone, to be used before bed. But behaviour modification (with the help of a bedwetting alarm) may be more effective.
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