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Impossible dilemma - am I doing the right thing?....Help please!

(81 Posts)
grant10 Mon 17-Nov-14 16:35:35

I'm extremely concerned about how I should deal with an unexpected problem I have with my best friend's 3yo son, who I am looking after for 3+ weeks while she is away in New Zealand due to a family bereavement. Staying with us was considered to be the perfect solution, as he's spent lots of time at our home, is very familiar with us all and loves playing with my own 4yo son.
His first night with us was last Thursday and he slept right through with no problems. However, the next night at about 11pm I could hear that he was awake and clearly upset so quickly went upstairs to try and settle him back down - only to discover that he had wet the bed and was shivering uncomfortably in wet pj's. Fortunately I had put a waterproof under-sheet on the bed, so quickly had him comfortable and dry again. As he's been dry at night for several months now, I passed this incident off as simply unlucky and probably a result of him feeling a bit unsettled while not being in his own home and bed. While this may well be the reason, the problem continues, with a wet bed on both the following two nights. I'm running out of ideas, as on both those nights I took him to the toilet for a wee before going to bed myself - and I also avoided giving him a drink near to his bed-time. Above all, it is preventing him from having a good nights sleep and upsetting him.

As him mum put so much time and effort in to getting him dry at night, the very last thing I wanted to resort to was nappies, but something had to be done as I couldn't cope with three weeks of bed wetting and I'd exhausted all other options I could think of. Having decided there was no alternative to a nappy, I thought it sensible to at least avoid the suggestion to him of having a nappy on for bed, so instead referred to it just as "big boys' bed-time pants". This idea seemed to be working well, but only until he saw me unfolding a disposable ready for him - then all hell let loose....a very grumpy and upset boy, who clearly had no doubt about what was about to go on his bottom! I was by now at my wit's end and desperate to find a way to take him up to bed feeling relaxed, happy, and above all, in a nappy. Terries to the rescue!!...and thankfully I'd kept everything required from when my ds was last in nappies. I was certain he'd never experienced wearing a terry nappy before, so was hopeful that he could be cleverly persuaded to try on some "really special pants for bed-time" Woohoo! worked a treat - and to my relief he was almost excited to see how I could magic a couple of terry squares to become some pants for him. He was even more intrigued by the two nappy pins that I'd explained were needed to help make his pants! He was so fascinated and engrossed in the whole procedure that he was quite oblivious to me putting a boosted nappy on him, complete with plastic pants, with no more than a minor protest when he realised he could no longer close his legs!. And was it all worthwhile? Well, he slept comfortably through the night, woke up this morning in a nice dry bed - thanks to a nappy which most definitely wasn't dry!

So, I've thankfully overcome the bed wetting problem and have decided to keep nappying him at night for now, but I am worried sick that this might lead to him relying on a nappy at night once again and therefore be undoing all his mum's painstaking hard work to get him dry at night. She could be understandably very angry with me and it could even spoil our friendship.

Please tell me if you think I've handled the situation as well as I could - and give me any advice or better ideas you may have. I am so worried about telling this little boy's mum that I've been putting him back in a nappy, but I just don't know what else I could have done. I'm desperate for reassurance!

Many thanks.

Purplecircle Mon 17-Nov-14 16:43:17

I think you're doing your friend a massive favour by looking after him. She doesn't have to worry about him, she knows he's safe and cared for.
If she needs to put in some work to get him dry again at night then that's a small price to pay. You shouldn't beat yourself up about it, if he's happy and you're not changing wet children/bedding then it doesn't matter in the short term.
He could be doing it because he's anxious about being away from his mum for such a long time and could be fine when she gets back.

mymummademelistentoshitmusic Mon 17-Nov-14 16:55:23

I think you just have to do what's best for you all at this time. He can learn to be dry at night again in the future. Poor little sausage has a lot on at the moment. Deal with the here and now.

BarbarianMum Mon 17-Nov-14 18:14:12

You're doing brilliantly. 3 is v young to be dry at night so not surprised he's regressed now he's at yours.

AlwaysDancing1234 Mon 17-Nov-14 18:18:11

It sounds to me like you have done the best thing for the child in difficult circumstances. You are doing his mother an enormous and generous favour so I hope she has the sense not to be cross with you.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 17-Nov-14 18:21:52

I wouldn't worry about it. Your doing her a massive favour and of course it wasn't going to be given his age and length of time he's going to be staying.

Your either dry at night or your not. There's no working at it.

Please dont worry

Jaffakake Mon 17-Nov-14 18:28:47

My ds is 3. He's gone for up to a month dry at night then we'll have a spell of him wetting his 'dino pants'. My understanding is that you either have the hormone that enables you to stay dry, or you don't. Therefore you can't know if this wouldn't have happened if was at home with his mum.

As with anything childcare related, all we can do is what feels right at the time. If I were your friend I wouldn't be upset with you.

Goldmandra Mon 17-Nov-14 21:37:31

If he's with you for three weeks, you may find that he settles during that time and starts waking with a dry nappy anyway.

The most important thing is that he is feeling as safe and secure in your care as he possibly can be.

Any half decent friend and mother would be very grateful that you've put so much patience, thought and effort into making her son as comfortable as possible at a very difficult time.

Blackpuddingbertha Mon 17-Nov-14 21:44:20

My DD had been dry for 6 months; then we moved house. She wet the bed the first few nights so we popped her into night nappies and a month later she was dry again no problem at all. She was just unsettled by the change even though she seemed perfectly happy in every other way. I'm sure he'll be fine again in no time.

5madthings Mon 17-Nov-14 21:50:56

He is three and you are being an amazing friend by having him to stay at what is obviously a difficult time for your friend.

He is little and is staying over away from his mum so bedwetting is totally understandable and you are doing the right thing by putting a nappy on him.

Honestly I am sure your friend won't mind.

KnockMeDown Mon 17-Nov-14 21:59:59

I second and third what everyone above has said re you doing a brilliant job helping your friend out. However, I would add as a suggestion that instead of a nappy you use a pull up - those that look much more like pants? When dry these are quite thin, and he can still pull them up and down if he wants to go himself. Worth a try?

BlueGreenHazelGreen Mon 17-Nov-14 22:07:56

Just another suggestion in case he starts refusing the nappy, did you try lifting him? One of mine occasionally reverts to bed wetting (eg if ill) I just lift them out of bed just before I go to bed myself, stick them on the loo and then stick them back in bed. They don't wake up and it lets them get through the night.

Tips, keep the room and bathroom dark and don't speak other than to say it's Mummy/Auntie x we're going for a wee.

odyssey2001 Mon 17-Nov-14 22:26:41

You definitely did the right thing.

And you cannot train a child to be dry at night. It is hormonal. Plain and simple. It will return when his body is ready.

grant10 Tue 18-Nov-14 09:55:11

Hi BGHG, many thanks for your helpful response. I did try lifting him for a wee initially, but either found that he'd already wet - or then still wet in the morning when he woke up. I also tried a pull-up, but he used to wear them and so associated it with being a kind of nappy and became upset when I tried to put it on. I'm continuing to put him in a terry and also now engaging him in "helping" me to fold it ready for him, which seems to occupy his mind and avoid any fuss. He's still showing no signs of realising we're putting a nappy on him, so good old terries are an absolute godsend! Incidentally, last night's nappy was wet again this morning, so I think we're stuck with this for now.

Thanks to all your kind comments I at least feel that I'm not doing anything wrong by nappying him, which is a great comfort to me....and him too!

grant10 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:54:03

Hi All!

As I think more about about this situation, there's another point I'd appreciate your advice on: As it looks like I'll need to nappy him for bed throughout his stay with us, do you think I should quietly check his nappy before I go to bed myself at about 11pm - and if he's already wet, should I change him and risk disrupting his sleep? The reason I ask this is because I'm now dreading that he may develop nappy rash through being wet for the whole night - and that would take my embarrassment to a whole new level when his mum returns! I am boosting his nappy with another one pad folded, so this will hopefully prevent him from becoming really wet at least until the morning when the nappy's coming off anyway. I really would prefer to just let him sleep through, so should I do this? (Perhaps a nappy liner/cream would help?)

gourd Tue 18-Nov-14 13:43:26

Bless you! Sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. Making him more comfortable (in nappy) so he can sleep properly is the most important thing. Just reassure him that it doesn’t matter, so it doesn't become an issue which worries him to the point he wont settle for fear of wetting the bed/nappy. It may be simply that he gets up in the night for the toilet at home but in a new environment he isn’t doing that. Any kind of change could make it more difficult; not wanting to get you out of bed to help him go to the toilet, a dark house if he is used to having a landing light on etc. The most likely cause though, is that he is having more REM sleep (light sleep) and dreams which is when he is likely to wake up very briefly and empty his bladder whilst in that sleepy state. Sleep disturbance/sleeping lightly is linked to being a bit unsettled, anxious or excited, so it is quite likely the cause. Eventually he will be able to make himeself fully awake from REM quickly and out of bed to toilet rather than wet the bed, but that can take time, especially in a new environment. Tell your friend what is going on so she knows and is prepared when she comes home in case it continues but it is probably just a blip caused by new environment/different routine and will hopefully resolve when he is back at home with Mum anyway.

SparklyReindeerShit Tue 18-Nov-14 13:49:49

I just wanted to say, if you were my friend doing this for me I would be beyond happy with everything you've done. You are doing an amazing thing for her and her son thanks

funambulist Tue 18-Nov-14 13:57:10

My three year old DS, who had been dry at night, wet the bed every single night that my DH was away on a work trip for a week. When DH returned he went back to being dry at night. I think that it is just anxiety / missing his mum and will sort itself out once his life is back to normal. Poor little mite.

grant10 Tue 18-Nov-14 17:33:41

Hi All! Thanks again for all your continuing helpful advice and support. I am still eager to know your thoughts on whether I should change his nappy and risk disrupting his sleep if I've found he's wet when I check him before I go to bed at about 11pm? I'm so worried that if he's wet and I just leave him to sleep he may develop nappy rash and I would be beside myself if his mum were to find that on her return in 3 week's time. Do you think a terry boosted with a second one pad folded should be adequate to last right through the night? So far he's been very damp rather than wet when I check him, but by the morning he's really quite wet. Do you think I should perhaps use a nappy liner to help prevent him getting a sore bottom - and can you recommend a cream that might prevent it?

Thank you all so much.

funambulist Wed 19-Nov-14 00:22:49

I don't know about whether you should wake him to change the nappy or not, but I always found Sudacreme excellent for preventing and dealing with nappy rash. You can slather it on pretty thickly. It's probably an idea to give him a good wash in the morning after you take the nappy off.

grant10 Thu 20-Nov-14 02:17:19

Hello Gourd,

I felt I should say how grateful I am for your lovely reassuring and supportive words of advice - you're very sweet! His mum phoned today to check that he is ok, so I did what you suggested and made her aware that I'm having to nappy him for bedtime. I feel happier now that she knows, but although she responded positively, I did sense just a tiny disappointed tone in her voice. Anyway, I'm telling myself I must deal with the problem in the most appropriate way - and if that means he goes to bed in a nappy for the whole 3 weeks, then so be it. You may have noticed that I'm writing this at 2.00am?! No, I'm not a crazy insomniac, but am having a quiet coffee having been woken by a rather upset little boy who was complaining that his pants weren't comfy! No prizes for guessing he'd yet again wet his nappy, but tonight, rather than sleeping through it, I'm guessing he either woke and then wee-ed, or maybe discovered he was already wet. Either way I initially tried a quiet cuddle to settle him back down in what was actually nothing more than a damp nappy, but eventually gave in and changed him. At least he was soon back to sleep.
He is being a real little dear for me - and even goes and fetches the nappies for me now when I say it's time for bed! I do feel a bit mean, as he still believes they are special pants, rather than a nappy - however last night he did try to resist a little when I laid him down on it, so I hope this isn't an early sign of refusal? I'll keep you posted on any significant further developments - and thanks again for your kind support. x

AlwaysDancing1234 Thu 20-Nov-14 14:37:40

I think you are doing a fabulous job of caring for the little one and as others have said he may go back to being dry once he is back home with mum. It's good that you have told his Mum, if I were her id be very grateful!

grant10 Thu 20-Nov-14 16:05:32

Thanks for that, AD1234. I'm certain she's grateful that I'm looking after her ds, but I did detect a definite tone of disappointment that he's back in a nappy for night time. She's been so proud of her achievement in getting him dry at night and now I'm afraid she's thinking I've undone all her hard work. I really pray that she accepts I did everything I could to avoid having to put him in a nappy and am telling myself that five successive wet nights is a clear indication that I'm doing the right thing. But I still can't stop worrying about it and am beginning to wish I'd never offered to look after him.
I'm even paranoid that he might now develop nappy rash for good measure - and have no idea what I'd do if that happened. I'm checking his bottom very carefully each morning when I take his nappy off, and so far so good.
Is there a really good cream I could use to help stop him getting a sore bottom? OMG,!

funambulist Thu 20-Nov-14 16:10:39

grant10 honestly, you are doing your friend a massive favour and most importantly doing everything possible to keep that little boy happy whilst his mum is away. The bed-wetting and hence need for the nappy has been caused by the fact that his mum is away (I'm sure) so I can't see how she can blame you in the slightest for handling it the best way you can. If it's been 5 nights in a row you can't not put him in a nappy. I think that you have been amazing in the sensitive way that you have dealt with it.

Sudacreme is great for prevention and treatment of nappy rash. Use generously.

grant10 Thu 20-Nov-14 17:06:08

Funabulist, thanks for your reassurance. You've all been so supportive to me over this. I just can't stop beating myself up about the whole scenario - and am not only worrying about annoying his mum, but am now also feeling really bad that I'm deliberately misleading him to believe me that the pants I'm pinning on to him each night are not a nappy... the little dear trusts me and it just seems so unfair. Quite frankly is all becoming a bit too much for me at the moment, as this isn't the way I normally deal with things.

I feel awful!

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