The bedwetting years: there was no way to know how long they’d last.

I have been thinking about the years when my older child was constantly bedwetting at night or during naps….

When my son was still a toddler, I didn’t worry about bedwetting because he was still in the common developmental age range of not waking up to use the bathroom.

In those early years, even thinking about using cloth diapers with the extra laundry was overwhelming.  Anyway, I always believed that any day now we would be waking up to dry diapers and we wouldn’t need any diapers at all.

Child birthday, 6 years old
Each year, I thought that this surely would be the year!

Later as the years wore on, I was more anxious that he was was still not waking up to use the bathroom when he was no longer in that ‘normal’ range of development. Thankfully, our pediatrician reassured us that late bed wetting was a hereditary trait that would work itself out in its own time.

But I was also tired in the mornings from helping him change out of overloaded diapers, wet clothes and wet bedding at night.  We were managing, but it was still a struggle.

By the age of seven, I had spent thousands of dollars using disposable diapers thinking that each birthday would start the year when he wouldn’t use them anymore.  Now he was he was wearing a diaper at night that was significantly more expensive because of the larger size.

And I was personally vexed by the ecological impact of thousands of diapers I had never anticipated adding to our local landfill.  I felt that I was eco-conscious in so many other ways, why had I let this consistent stream of waste slip through?

Unfortunately, I was skeptical that I would find a good cloth diaper system without investing in a lot of inadequate diapers. Despite all of these reasons to try, I was still hesitating to make an experimental purchase.

Then a friend told me her husband had wet the bed until he was 13 years old.  My child was still seven.  I paused to finally do the math for the next possible six years.  I was late in investing in cloth diapers.  But thank goodness not too late to make a difference.

birthday-boy-age-11
Someday you will look back and this bedwetting era will be over.  Making good choices for your child, the environment and your finances can make it more pleasant to remember.

I decided that I had to act in good faith that I was doing the right thing for our future selves. We needed to try a new system. I wanted someone to choose for me, but I didn’t have anyone to ask!  Everyone that used cloth diapers in the early years had long left them behind.

I got online and put the hours in to do the research. After musing over this and that brand, I had to press the button. After seven years of ignoring our issue and wavering on making a decision, I finally made our first cloth diaper purchase!

Thankfully, I was fortunate to find a workable cloth diaper system that would take me through the next year.  When we realized that we had physically outgrown that system, I went back online to do more research and then found an amazing cloth training pant that got us through two more years.

Now in retrospect, of course, everything seems more clear. Now that my child is 11 and is not bedwetting anymore, I feel that I can reflect upon this struggle for answers with a little more clarity and experience and less anxiety and sleep deprivation.

Somewhere out there, I hope that there is a family that can benefit from what we learned on our journey.  Here is what I used to make life easier in the bedwetting years.

Those first days with cloth diapers.

Once I got started using cloth diapers, I did go through a period of feeling a little regretful that I had held off for so long.  I mean really seven years!  But if I do that kind of backward-looking reflection too much, I will miss out on the joy of making the right choice at last.

And that is how I felt, sort of savvy and right with the world.  I was no longer picking up big, bulky packages of diapers only to later escort them engorged and heavy back out of the house in the form of needless trash to be buried in a local landfill.  Score one for team Mother Earth.  Nor, was I forking over the big bucks to keep that system all in place.  A point for us!

The training pants made a circle from my son, to the washer, out onto the line. They were trapped at our address, never to visit a bin or a dump.

It felt independent and complete.

Baby clothes hanging on the clothesline

Continue reading “Those first days with cloth diapers.”

Let’s get through these bedwetting years together.

I have a child who did not wake up to use the bathroom for 10 years.  He belongs to a small section of the population that enters childhood with a delayed awareness of the physical signals that will make everyone else rise up in the middle of the night, tired as they are, to use the bathroom.

Since last year when Aaron turned 10, he began to wake up at least once a night or hold off entirely using the bathroom until he gets up in the morning.  No more dreams of peeing in the toilet only to wake up to find out he was in his bed. Why at ten?  Who can say?  It was physically the right time for his body to start giving and reading the right signals.

But I remember like it was yesterday…

Expensive childcare. A pile of diapers and money on white backgr
It’s painful to remember the wasted money we poured into disposable diapers.

The experience that we had with night time bedwetting was unnecessarily wearisome and expensive.  I never really believed that it would go on as long as it did and I think that I was slow to even ask our pediatrician about it.

By the time, I had got my head around what was going on and that I should develop a logical strategy to dealing with it, seven years had gone by.

So if you are reading this post right now and you have a child that is starting to either outgrow their current diapering system, or you are looking for a new system that saves money, or produces less waste, you are in the right place. I have been where you are now searching and questioning, too.

And if you are looking for social support and communication, welcome to a site where your family’s experiences and needs are accepted and are understood.

I remember what it was like to search out other families in my circle who either used cloth diapers or knew about a world where older children might require them.

It was lonely and concerning when other families had moved on from diapers and all of a sudden it wasn’t as easy to share information when Aaron didn’t want me to talk about it with other parents.   Maybe your son or daughter doesn’t want you to talk about his or her bedwetting with other folks.  They’re older now and things can feel more private to them.

It’s also stressful when your people in your own family don’t understand.  Maybe they think that bedwetting is some kind of choice and the child is just too lazy to get up.  This did happen to me and it was rough to face disapproval from members of our own team.

But you know your kids. 

sleeping-boy
I wished that I could sleep like this; I think that maybe it comes once in your life.

For my son, when Aaron was asleep, he was out for the night.  He slept so deeply that it was rare for any noise or light to wake him up once he was asleep.  He just didn’t feel aware of the physical world.

Now that Aaron is 11 years old and is getting up to use the bathroom at night, I can tell you that this kind of comatose, intense sleep will change when their bodies are ready.

But the years in between can be isolating, embarrassing and expensive.

Continue reading “Let’s get through these bedwetting years together.”

So then I made my first cloth diaper purchases!

FuzziBunz Perfect Size Cloth Diaper vs. Mother Ease Bedwetter Training Pants.

fuzzibunz
Fuzzibunz’s snap closure system was adjustable, but not ideal for Aaron to unsnap and snap on the odd trip to the bathroom.

I first tried the FuzziBunz Perfect Size Cloth Diaper in large ($16.95 each), which was designed to fit kids 25-40 lbs. (this option now discontinued).  I also needed to buy microfiber inserts ($9.99 for a set of three) that fit into a special pouch inside the diaper.

The diaper itself was really just a shell to hold the microfiber inserts in place.  I found that the microfiber inserts really did absorb and the diaper rarely leaked, but having to remove the inserts every time we washed the diaper felt like extra work for me.

The shell has adjustable snaps but unsnapping and snapping them back on wasn’t something that Aaron could have done on his own in the middle of the night, if he wanted to get up to go to the bathroom.  These kinds of systems assemble best when the child is laying down to snap them properly into place. ***

Aaron outgrew this system in one year!  The snaps at their fullest extension were too snug around his waist which is very slender.  Even though we were moving on to another size and system, we saved about $500 that year by purchasing a few sets of FuzziBunz and avoiding the disposable Goodnites.

So then the next year, splitting at the seams, I was forced into into my second cloth diaper purchase and was more thrilled with the results.

training pants bedwetter bedwetting mother ease cloth diaper
A thick microfiber inner layer absorbs 21 ounces of liquid contained by a waterproof outer layer. (Wash it inside out)

I bought the Mother Ease Bedwetter Training Pants in small for kids 40-55 lbs ($29.95).  I noticed that they had very good reviews on Amazon for their super absorbency, which was important to me now that Aaron was getting older and producing more liquids at night.

I liked that this pant was an all-in-one and there would be no more inserts to have to assemble daily.  Any unnecessary step eliminated in the daily routine is appreciated in my house.

The training pants look and feel versus diaper.

But even more importantly, Aaron was happy that they looked more like underwear and he could put them on and take them off as easily as underwear, whether he was getting ready for sleep or if woke up to use the bathroom.

The final test of course was if they absorbed all the liquid and prevented leaks onto pajamas and bedding.  And they did!  They lived up to their reviews completely.  When you actually see the pant on your child you’ll know why.  There is an enormous amount of padding in the training pant that might have you ordering up one size in pajamas to accommodate.  But it works.

Continue reading “So then I made my first cloth diaper purchases!”

I paused to finally do the math for the next possible six years of disposable training pants. 

By the time Aaron was seven, he was beyond the largest size category for commonly found diapers like Huggies, Kirklands Best or Pampers.  I did stumble upon the Goodnites brand which is a good disposable training pant for night time bedwetting.

He didn’t react well at times to something in the Goodnites bedtime pant which would make his skin red where the colored elastic fits across the hip bone.  It might have been the friction of the elastic stretching across the skin that was irritated him. But the diaper itself was very absorbent and easy to get on and off.

We were going through about 40- 60 of those Goodnites a month!

going to the store
Would we ever be able to cross diapers off of our grocery list?

Because Aaron would generally fill the training pant twice a night, we would go through two Goodnites each night, which greatly increased our household waste.

So that meant….

If Aaron continued bedwetting until he was 13, like my friend’s husband had growing up, this was the math for the next six growing years…

info-graphic-6-years

Continue reading “I paused to finally do the math for the next possible six years of disposable training pants. “