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Breast feeding helps prevent bed wetting

Children who wet the bed are less likely to have been breastfed as infants than infants who stay dry at night.

Breast feeding helps prevent bed wetting

Children who wet the bed are less likely to have been breastfed as infants than infants who stay dry at night. Breast milk is the best nutrition for a newborn baby. Fifteen percent of 5-year-olds wet the bed, while 5 percent of 10-year-olds and 1 percent of 13-year-olds do. Failure to stay dry at night is medically defined as bed wetting if a child is five or older. However, parents do not usually seek treatment until their child is six or seven years old. As breast-feeding confers visual, growth and intellectual developmental benefits - probably due to the high long-chain fatty acid content of breast milk compared with that found in formula - the researchers investigated if breast-feeding might protect against bed wetting as well.Researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, compared 55 children aged 5 to 13 years who were receiving treatment for bed-wetting to 117 children who did not wet the bed. The two groups were the same age and gender. Among the children who wet the bed, 46 percent had been breastfed as infants, compared to 81 percent of the non-bedwetters. After the researchers used statistical techniques to adjust for other factors that could influence both breastfeeding and the likelihood of bed wetting, the association remained, with children who wet the bed 72 percent less likely than non-bed wetters to have been breastfed.
The effect was only seen if the children had been breastfed for three months or longer, which is consistent with other research showing that breast feeding must be maintained for at least that long to confer other benefits. Whether or not the breastfed children received supplementation with formula had no effect on the likelihood that they would wet the bed.To confirm that breast-feeding actually does help prevent bed-wetting, further studies to follow breastfed and formula-fed children from birth to childhood is needed. If these studies further support this hypothesis, breast-feeding could be viewed as the first true preventive approach towards bed wetting.
Pediatrics,
July 2006
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