If your child is still wetting the bed each night you’re in good company, for over 750,000 children continue to wet their beds at night, leaving many parents bemused as they struggle to get their child dry.
What’s not so well known is that eating certain foods can have an effect on the bladder – perhaps you’ve experienced the changes in the smell and colour of your own urine after eating asparagus or beetroot, for example?
Many parents seeking solutions to their child’s bedwetting problems, substitute evening drinks with pieces of fruit – but beware, because this could be causing problems rather than solving them. Water based fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, melon, grapes, celery and artichokes have a diuretic effect and encourage the body to expel water, so it’s best to avoid eating them in the evening.
It’s also known that eating too much wheat can cause a sensitivity in the bladder – whilst the effects are not necessarily noticeable on the outside, the inside of the bladder can become slightly inflamed and as a result hold less urine.
We’ve become a society that’s very dependent on eating a lot of wheat-based products – it’s worth thinking about your child’s diet and if you find that they eat cereal or toast for breakfast, followed by sandwiches for lunch and then pizza or pasta for dinner, consider making some changes or at least keeping a food diary to see if you can make a connection between the food your child eats and those wet nights.
Consider experimenting for a period of two weeks and cutting out all wheat -substitute with more rice or potatoes. Evening meals could consist of jacket potatoes or even chips! Remember, it’s just an experiment and is not a regime that your child will follow forever. But of course, there are many wheat-free alternatives available in the shops nowadays that you could also try.
It’s also been suggested to me by some doctors that milk could be the cause of bedwetting and very often I find that children who come to see me still drink milk at night-time or have had some sensitivity to it in the past. Consider cutting this out of your routine.
Another big culprit is the use of artificial sweeteners for they too can have a diuretic effect. These are often hidden in children’s food and drinks under the guise of ‘healthy’ eating, so it’s easy not to notice if your child is consuming these. Beware of any drinks or fruit squashes that are sugar-free and yoghurts, fromage frais or ice-creams that are low in sugar and labelled ‘good for children’s teeth’ or ‘low-calorie’. Go through all your cupboards and read the labels carefully. It’s worth eliminating these from your child’s diet.
And rather confusingly, real sugar can also be the cause of wet beds. Most parents would agree that sweet, fizzy drinks can also result in a bad night.
Whilst I’m not advising anyone to cut out all the foods I’ve listed above, I do think it’s a good idea to start keeping a food diary to see if you can identify a connection between your child’s bedwetting and certain foods. If your child has a particularly wet night, it’s worth backtracking and thinking about what they had to eat in the previous 24 hours. Should you find yourself identifying any trigger foods, it may be worth consulting a qualified nutritionist who can carry out further tests and help devise suitable menus.
Alicia Eaton is a Children’s Behavioural Specialist – a fully qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Licensed NLP Coach based in London’s Harley Street since 2004. She is the author of the best-selling “Stop Bedwetting in 7 days” book and video programme. You can read more about changing children’s habits and behaviours in her latest book: “Words that Work: How to Get Kids to Do Almost Anything”.