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Food and Drinks

Food and drink can impact bedwetting

When and what your child drinks and eats can make a difference to whether your child wets the bed.  Here is some useful information about food and drink.

cocktail

Drinks

  • Avoid fizzy drinks, caffeinated drinks, milk and fruit juice.
  • Try not to drink for 1-2 hours before bed. Sips of water are ok – and it is important to stay hydrated.
  • Did you know that bedwetting children can be thirstier at night?!
  • Ensure your child drinks well in the mornings and early afternoon – so that they stay well hydrated.

When to eat

  • Try your best to eat dinner as early as possible.  Preferably 2 hours before bed. I know this is probably difficult to do but aim to eat dinner as early as possible.  Digesting food can reduce quality of sleep.
  • Avoid ALL snacks after dinnertime.  This alone has helped many children become dry at night.  

What if my child has afternoon activities?

If your child has activities late afternoon it can impact bedwetting.  On those days children may drink more in the afternoon as well as eat dinner and go to bed later.  One way around this is to eat a light meal at least 30 minutes before any activity, and then a lighter meal or snack after the activity, instead of having a full dinner later in the evening and just before bed.

If making two lighter meals isn’t possible, try to ensure dinner is light and served as soon as possible after training.  Having a pre-prepared light meal ready can really make a difference.

If they play sports it is likely your child will drink more to keep hydrated during the activity.  In this case, it can help to ask them to drink more before training so they start well hydrated, and take an extra trip to the toilet before bedtime, taking time to relax and fully empty the bladder.

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Foods to avoid

In a study (Effect of diet treatment on enuresis in children with migraine or hyperkinetic behavior. J. Egger, et al, 1992), the following foods were found to provoke bedwetting (in order of frequency):
  • Chocolate
  • Oranges/ orange juice
  • Tartrazine, also known as FD&C Yellow #5 or E102 (a yellow dye found in squash, cordial, cake mix etc…)
  • Black currants
  • Benzoic acid or E210, a preservative found in fruit juices, soft drinks, pickles, barbecue sauces etc
  • Cow’s Milk
cow

Other foods worth monitoring

  1. Watch salt intake and keep it to a minimum – e.g. no crisps whilst on the program.
  2. Some parents have found cutting out the preservative 282 (Propionic acid), often found in bread, has also helped.
  3. Minimise sugary foods.
  4. Minimise processed foods.
  5. Have a diet high in fibre (e.g. beans, broccoli, avocado, popcorn, apples).
  6. And low in refined carbohydrates (white bread, pizza dough, pasta, white rice).

Fruit and vegetable smoothies are a good way of increasing fibre. So are protein/bliss balls.

Please note: If changing to a high fibre diet increases the wetting, start to look at those food groups and see if any one of those foods is causing the wet nights.

For more information on food and food chemicals associated with bedwetting and incontinence, you may find this link interesting: http://www.fedup.com.au/factsheets/symptom-factsheets/bedwetting

Constipation

Make sure your child isn't constipated, as even if they have no obvious symptoms, it can still affect bedwetting

Sometimes children who wet the bed are also constipated (even though it isn’t always obvious).  Parents often assume their child isn’t constipated because they go regularly, however an x-ray or ultrasound can show otherwise.

When bedwetting is an issue, it is important to ensure your child is getting a healthy diet with plenty of fibre.  Here are some tips to have a healthy diet with plenty of fibre.

  • Eat at least two servings of fruit a day.
  • Eat at least three servings of vegetables a day.
  • Avoid refined and highly processed cereals as they are high in sugar and low in fibre. Shredded Wheat, bran and whole grain cereals are better.
  • Limit sugar and increase fibre-rich cereals – read the label to avoid misleading health claims.
  • Eat whole-meal bread instead of white bread.
  • Consider using brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Consider using wholegrain pasta instead of refined pasta.
  • Avoid cake, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, waffles and pizza.
  • According to the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, children who drink large amounts of cow’s milk daily may become constipated. Source: https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Constipation/