Research has shown that breastfeeding reduces a baby's risk of infection, gastrointestinal diseases, allergies, and obesity. Now a study from researchers at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, both in New Brunswick, suggests that breastfeeding kids during infancy may even protect them from bedwetting later in childhood.
Doctors compared 55 5- to 13-year-old children who wet the bed at least two times a week with 117 kids the same age and gender who had nighttime control of their urine. The children's parents noted whether their kids were breastfed, how long they were breastfed, and whether they received only breast milk or supplemented feedings with formula.
In general, kids who wet the bed were significantly less likely to have been breastfed. Among those who wet the bed, about 46% received breast milk, whereas 81% of children who didn't wet the bed were breastfed. Kids with nighttime control of urine were also more likely to have been breastfed for an average of about 3 months longer than those who wet the bed.
What This Means to You. A variety of factors may contribute to childhood bedwetting, including stress and a family history. Some research also suggests that a child's development may affect nighttime urine control. The results of this study may indicate that breastfeeding past 3 months of age could protect kids from bedwetting.
Bedwetting affects 6 million kids over age 5 every year in the United States. If your child wets the bed, he or she may feel ashamed or embarrassed. Reassure your child that many people spontaneously outgrow it, and talk to your doctor about possible treatments or therapies that may help overcome the condition. If you have questions about breastfeeding or its benefits, a lactation consultant, nurse, or your doctor can offer guidance or advice.
Source: Joseph G. Barone, MD; Ranjith Ramasamy, BS; Andrew Farkas, MD, PhD; Emanuel Lerner, MD; Eileen Creenan, RN; Dawn Salmon, RN; Jessica Tranchell, BA; Dona Schneider, PhD; Pediatrics, July 2006.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: July 2006