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M&B recently spent the day (and night) with DryNites, learning about how we as parents can help our little ones overcome that common phase of bedwetting. You might have got day time potty training sorted, have all the right equipment and books, but nighttime potty training is a whole other beast. We chat to bedwetting experts to find out more about the causes and treatments of this common childhood problem.
Getting a good night’s sleep
Helen Packham, DryNites ConfidentNites Sleep Expert, explained the benefits of a good night’s sleep for both parents and children.
Sleep is a base need for self-care, preventing disease, helping memory function, boosting health and general wellbeing, and reduces anxiety and stress.
For children, it enables physical and mental growth, resilience, memory consolidation, and life-long skills.
Bedwetting affects more than 900,000 children in the UK, with 1 in 4 children aged four wetting the bed.
Bedwetting is a common developmental stage, and causes include:
- Family traits
- Not having enough to drink in the day
- Sleeping deeply
- Lack of Vasopressin (the hormone that helps the kidneys retain water)
Ways to tackle bedwetting include:
- Boosting knowledge and confidence
- Keeping track of daytime drinks
- Going to the toilet regularly through the day
- Going for a wee before bath and before bed
- Quietly and calmly dealing with any bedwetting in the night
- Celebrate dry nights in the morning
The importance of nutrition
Yvonne Wake BSc MSc RPHNutr, DryNites ConfidentNites Nutritionist, explained some ways nutrition can help your little ones get a good, undisturbed night’s sleep.
Getting a balanced, healthy diet is an important part of ensuring your children have a good night’s sleep. There are lots of things you can do as a parent to give your child the best nutrition, and the right type of food that will encourage their bodies to rest and recover overnight.
Healthy, fresh food is vital, containing all the nutrients, vitamins, and macronutrients to help children grow, develop, and sleep well.
It’s important that your child’s diet contains the amino acid Tryptophan.
Tryptophan is found in protein foods, and enduces sleep. It’s important to combine carbs with proteins in the same meal to make tryptophan available to the brain.
Tryptophan-rich foods include:
- Seeds and nuts
- Soya foods
- Cheese such as mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan
- Rabbit, lean roast beef or beef steak, chicken wings and drumsticks, turkey wings and breast
- Salmon, halibut, mackerel, haddock and cod
- Wheat germ and whole oats, buckwheat, wheat bran, oat cereal, beans and lentils
Combine these healthy snacks to aid a good night’s sleep:
- Whole grain pita with hummus
- Whole grain crackers with organic peanut butter
- Unsweetened whole grain cereal with soy milk
- Rice with lentils
- Rice, black beans, and guacamole
- Hummus on a bed of steamed broccoli
- Eggs on whole grain toast
Snacks before bedtime can help your child if they are struggling to sleep – such as a cup of milk and a few cut-up grapes, or a small banana and a teaspoon of peanut butter.
Beware that snacks don’t turn into a habit, rather than being truly helpful for your child’s sleep.
To reduce the risk of bedwetting, limit drinks in the two hours before bedtime.
Talking about toilet habits is something we aren’t generally good at – but teaching your child from a young age to notice and react to going to the toilet is important. This communication will help to take the stigma away from bedwetting, and enable your child to tell you when there’s a problem.
Selina Sasse, DryNites ConfidentNites Mindfulness Expert, explained how you being in the right frame of mind can help you cope with the difficult phase of bedwetting.
Being mindful means paying full attention to what’s happening around you, without judging or wishing things were different.
Parenting is unpredictable, so having a sense of kindness and compassion around difficulty – yours and your children’s – will help you cope with challenging situations.
When a child is going through bedwetting, this obviously leads to broken sleep and coping with a stressful situation in the middle of the night, when you will be affected by tiredness and physical reactions.
It’s important to ground yourself, realise how you are feeling – physically and emotionally – before trying to help your little ones.
If your child is wetting the bed, be prepared beforehand – try using DryNites and easy-wash bed linen, and have spares close at hand to reduce the discruption in the middle of the night.
For more information about DryNites visit drynites.co.uk
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