After talking to thousands of parents and providers in my years at the Bedwetting Store, when I was due with my first child earlier this year, I felt very equipped to treat bedwetting, should it continue through school age. What I didn’t realize was how my knowledge about bedwetting would help when my son was having trouble sleeping through the night. Below is a comparison of night awakening in older infants and bedwetting in school age kids. The similarities are really surprising!
• I had to ask my doctor for help, as asking about sleep wasn’t part of the usual dialogue! At my nine month appointment, I questioned why my son was still waking up almost every hour! Once I brought it up, we had an open dialogue about what could be going on, and she was able to give me hand outs and talk about a treatment plan. Bedwetting is often the same way – doctors don’t bring it up, but if you do, they have great solutions for you!
• I was embarrassed to say anything at our 6 month appointment, because I thought it was a reflection on my parenting skills. Why was my baby seemingly the only one who couldn’t figure out how to sleep through the night? Was I doing something wrong? I often hear this as a reason parents wait until their child is 9 or 10 to try an alarm or bring up the issue with their pediatrician.
• I also didn’t say anything at my 6 month appointment because I hoped my baby would grow out of it. Night awakening, as with bedwetting, is perfectly normal up to a certain age. I didn’t want to blow it out of proportion or make a problem out of something that wasn’t an issue, so I patiently waited, hoping he would just grow out of it.
• He had slept through the night 4 or 5 times in his life, so I knew he was capable of it. Parents often say their child is able to sleep through the night without wetting a handful of times, too, so they know they can do it. This may be your sign that you need to help your child learn to consistently sleep through the night without wetting.
• Once I spoke to my Doctor, I found out that 10-15% of infants over 4 months old routinely wake up – the same percentage range often quoted for school age children who bed wet!
• My doctor had handouts and a plan ready for situations like my own. Similarly, your doctor should have handouts available for you when you bring up bedwetting! If they don’t, we can send brochures to them, free of charge, so they have a plan to send you home with.
• For us, the recommended plan involved a form of sleep training. It was designed to help train the brain to fall asleep on its own, rather than needing assistance. This works similarly to a bedwetting alarm, which goes off when the child starts to wet, helping to train the brain to wake up when they need to go. In both cases, it’s a learning process, and we as parents are helping our children learn a new skill!
• In order to help my child learn a new skill through sleeping training (or in your case, using a bedwetting alarm), it means in the short term, my sleep will be more interrupted – bummer! I had a routine down where I could quickly “shhh” my baby and get him back to sleep quickly, but it still meant both of us getting up. For parents of bedwetting kids who use Pull-Ups, everyone sleeps through the wetting so no one has to get up overnight. When using an alarm, parents and the child wake up to the alarm, disrupting sleep, getting up to go to the bathroom several times, changing pajamas, bedding, etc. The good news is that this is a short term pain for the long term gain of everyone getting a better night’s sleep! In both cases, most experts report the first two weeks are the hardest.
• Finally, the light bulb moment for me and knowing my family needed a new, doctor approved plan for night time was realizing that I could offer my child the gift of better sleep and the confidence to know he can do it! If you are a parent of a school aged, bedwetting child and are ready to give them the gift of better sleep and the confidence to know he or she can do it, you can learn more about bedwetting treatment plans in our learning center, use our handy alarm chooser to help you find an alarm that works best for your child, or give us a call at (800) 214-9605 for a FREE, custom consultation with one of our bedwetting experts who will help you find an plan that will work best for you!
Guest post by Chelsea Wardach, Marketing Director, Bedwetting Store