CO-SLEEPING AND UNWELCOME CELIBACY
I stumbled upon this Blog Post today and felt compelled to comment, as no-one of 47 other commenters had broached the subject of the impact of co-sleeping on sexual intimacy and overall marital happiness.
MONDAY, MAY 14, 2007 – Co-sleeping with toddler.
As the title suggests, my wife and I share our bed with our daughter, who is currently almost 21 months old. First, just to clear the concerns, no, we did not do this from birth. We are well aware that newborns are in great danger of crib death or suffocation if they are in bed with you, and in fact, know that you are supposed to not only put them in their own space, but without blankets, sleeping on their back, until they are old enough and mobile enough to turn themselves over if they need to. So our daughter stayed in a basinet next to our bed for her first three or four months. Then we moved her to her crib. And she was fine there until about six months. Then grandma (my wife’s mother) came to visit and help out for a month when I went back to work as part of the transition to day care. She would help with the baby at night, but it turned out that our daughter would refuse to cooperate, and so grandma would take her to bed with her and then just let her fall asleep there. So by the time she left, she absolutely refused to go to sleep by herself in the crib. And my wife absolutely refused to let her cry for even one minute, much less the hours that would be required (at first) for her to settle into the whole sleeping alone routine. Not wishing to fight over this, and rather just wanting to sleep so I could get up and go to work, we had her sleep with us. It was very easy, because she would just fall asleep without much effort at all when she was with us, and she was also extremely happy to have both mommy and daddy with her. She’d wake up at night and check to make sure we were still there. I’d sometimes feel her hand on my shoulder checking, or see her cute little eyes in the dark looking at me before closing again.
Now we are well used to it, since it has been this way for over a year. Moreover, ultimately, I don’t think there is any real problem with it, beyond the logistics of fitting three in a queen-sized bed. For the first 200,000 years of our existence as a species, co-sleeping was the norm. You don’t leave a toddler alone to sleep – they might get eaten by a lion or something. The phenomenon of sleeping alone at such a young age is a very very very recent one, and as such, I wonder if it is even a particularly good idea.
Of course, at times my wife would like her out of the bed, but at the same time, worries that she’ll roll out of her own bed and she’s worried she’ll climb out of her crib. So we are sort of where we are by default, perhaps buying a King-sized bed soon to at least make more room. We’ve also put the bed off of the frame so it isn’t quite so far for our daughter to fall, as she decided to do last week, twice.
Also, I admit, I rather like having her there with us. I can keep an eye on her, see that she’s breathing (though not as fanatically as I did for those first months – any parent can tell you about that), see that she’s safe, and enjoy when she cozys up. Plus, she is just so darn cute. Another bonus is that when she loses her binky, which she still needs most of the time to fall asleep, we can quickly help her locate it if she can’t find it, as opposed to hearing her scream from across the house, have to get up, go to her room, find it, then go back to bed and try to get back to sleep after such a trek.
I figure when she is old enough to carry on some semblance of a conversation, we can have the discussion with her about her sleeping in her own bed. I also figure that she’ll eventually want to assert her independence and sleep on her own. I’m not sure when that would be, and that would be a great milestone. I certainly don’t want her there forever. She needs to grow up eventually. But for now, I admit, I enjoy having her there and it always brings a smile to my face to wake up in the morning and see her there, usually totally out, her mouth open, her arms above her head, sleeping like she’s dead to the world, and looking darn cute while she’s at it. And some mornings she’ll wake up and then see me and my wife and have this huge smile and she’ll start talking with us (who knows what she’s saying) and that is just so pleasant as well, though it only happens on the weekends, since we usually have to get our little zombie up ourselves on weekdays when we get up rather early. Then, we have fun dressing her while she’s trying to stay sleeping on the bed.
I’m sure some will have comments pro- and con- about co-sleeping. For us right now, it just sort of “is.” Posted by DBB at 1:39 PM
Posted by OZSHRINK. 10th July 2013
“Just a word of caution from a father, husband and psychiatrist. Few people mention that co-sleeping profoundly changes the marital relationship, often already under pressure from perpetual exhaustion and the stress of a new baby. The year following childbirth is a high risk period for marital failure, separation, separation & divorce. Studies show that co-sleeping acts as a barrier to the re commencement of intimacy and sexual activity and can turn a previously active sexual relationship into a celibate one. Many sexless relationships begin with the first pregnancy and co-sleeping. Beware that co-sleeping itself is not being unconsciously perpetuated as a means of sex avoidance by one or both parties. Co-Sleeping should be enquired about by health professionals dealing with new parents and couples need to be reminded of the primacy of the marital relationship to the health, happiness and well-being of the entire family, especially children.”