OBJECTIVE. Our goal was to test the hypothesis that children who exhibit bed-wetting during childhood were less likely to be breastfed during infancy compared with normal controls.
METHODS. A case-control study was conducted in a pediatric continence center and a general pediatric practice. Cases (n = 55) were recruited from the continence center and defined as children 5 to 13 years of age who experienced lifetime involuntary voiding of urine during nighttime sleep at least 2 times a week in the absence of defects of the central nervous system or urinary tract. Age- and gender-matched controls (n = 117) who did not exhibit bed-wetting were enrolled from a general pediatric practice. Infant feeding practices were measured as breastfeeding (yes/no) and, for those who were breastfeed, by the duration of breastfeeding and the time of formula supplementation.
RESULTS. Among the case subjects, 45.5% were breastfed, whereas among the controls 81.2% were breastfed. The controls reported higher household incomes than the case subjects, and their mean family size (number of children) was slightly lower. After adjusting for race, income, and family size, the odds ratio was 0.283, indicating that case subjects were significantly less likely than controls to be breastfeed. Among all the study subjects who were breastfed, controls were breastfed for a significantly longer period than case subjects (an average of 3 months longer). Although breastfed controls were less likely to be supplemented with formula than breastfed case subjects, this difference was not statistically significant.
CONCLUSIONS. Breastfeeding longer than 3 months may protect against bed-wetting during childhood. Breast milk supplemented with formula did not make a difference in the rate of enuresis.