The Consequences of Co-Sleeping for Couples
In this article, we’ll look at what it means to share your bed with your baby, and the consequences of co-sleeping for your relationship with your partner.
From the first time we hold our baby in our arms, we don’t want to be away from them, not even for one second.
Without a second thought, we dedicate all of our attention, energy and time to our child. We forget about our other roles as a professional, a daughter, a sister, an aunt – and often our role as a partner, too. But is it right to leave our partners on the sidelines?
Attachment parenting is becoming increasingly popular in western countries. It has to do with the bond between mother and child, and promotes demonstrating unconditional love by attending to your child’s emotional and physical needs.
This term was coined by William and Martha Sears, a pediatrician and registered nurse, who published a series of books highlighting the benefits of a parenting style based on strengthening the emotional bond with our child.
The supporters of attachment parenting insist that moms dedicate themselves to their children in body and soul. And of course, we don’t need to be told that we should give our children love and attention.
We can see the influence of attachment parenting in the method known as kangaroo care, in which the parents carry their baby instead of using a stroller.
The attachment approach calls for both mother and father to get involved in raising children. But perhaps its most important impact has been the rising popularity of co-sleeping: that is, sharing a bed with your baby.
We know and enjoy the benefits of attachment parenting, which for many parents includes co-sleeping. However, mom and dad also deserve to spend time together.
What are the consequences of co-sleeping?
Given the rollercoaster of emotions that a mother experiences during the postpartum stage or puerperium, the six-week period of recovery after giving birth, her libido is likely to drop significantly. She puts her relationship with her partner to the back of her mind.
Caring for a baby takes up most of the couple’s time, day and night. There is no time for anything else.
Once the puerperium is over, however, you may start to feel your libido returning. Now, you and your partner can start to be intimate again.
But with a baby in the bed, rebuilding your relationship is an uphill struggle.
Putting co-sleeping into practice and giving your baby a space in the bedroom should therefore be a decision that both of you make together.
If one of you does not agree with this practice, it’s best to stop for a while. It’s important for mom and dad to enjoy a little privacy in a space as important as the bed they share.
The momentous task of not neglecting your relationship
If you and your partner decide to welcome your baby into your own bed, you should avoid the potential negative consequences of co-sleeping by making an effort to renew your relationship in other ways.
- Intimacy is not limited to the bedroom. There are chances to strengthen the bond between you during the daytime.
- Make sure you can talk over dinner, or while cleaning up. Showing interest in each other is critical to maintaining your relationship after the birth of a child.
- Turn off the television and share a glass of wine or a cocktail. If you are breastfeeding, you should avoid alcohol, but an alcohol-free cocktail for you and a glass of wine for him are ideal for a romantic evening, once the baby has gone to sleep.
- Share activities whenever you can. Taking a bath together after a long day can be comforting. A massage or even just reading the papers together are simple gestures that strengthen the relationship.
- Keep on dating each other. There is no reason not to spoil each other, not to walk hand in hand or buy each other flowers.
- Marriage or children should not spell the end of courtship, and should not change the way you treat each other.
Starting a family can be a challenge. By bringing children into the world we take on a huge responsibility to care for them and raise them as best we can. But they can’t become the center of our universe.
From time to time, it’s good to seek solace in the arms of your partner. There, you will always find the peace and love that you need to feel like yourself again.