My spouse and I never anticipated sharing a bed with our child. After the birth of our daughter, all of our plans went out the window, and we found ourselves co-sleeping – a decision that nearly destroyed my marriage.
My husband and I never expected to co-sleep with our baby when we began planning for her arrival. We attended parenting programs that educated us on the dangers of bed-sharing and how to safeguard the safety of infants when they share an adult’s sleeping space. We got a bassinet and a crib for our baby so that she would always have a safe place to sleep.
Then, our daughter was born, and our plans were discarded.
Emma has been a terrible sleeper since the minute she entered this planet. She nursed her infant every hour at night for several months and sometimes even more frequently. I immediately began searching for solutions. We experimented with bottle feeding, formula feeding, and, ultimately bed-sharing. The first night I allowed Emma to sleep in my bed, she slept for six hours straight. Next night, she slept four hours. Eventually, she began sleeping through the night, provided she was snuggled up next to me. Perhaps co-sleeping might not be so horrible; it has worked for others, most notably Kourtney Kardashian.
The Effect of Co-sleeping on My Relationship
As the months passed, Emma and I continued to co-sleep with my husband, who typically received the least amount of my attention and affection. Although we attempted to make time for each other, intimacy and romantic nights were infrequent. We were both tense as we attempted to acclimate to becoming parents, and between that and our restricted physical interaction, we went through a number of tough patches that left us feeling like we were slipping away. Despite these obstacles, I became pregnant and gave birth to Emma’s brother Liam when she was 2 years old.
Emma struggled with sleep after Liam’s birth, and we shared our bedroom with both children for several months. While we eventually taught Emma and Liam to sleep at least part of the night in their own beds, our parenting approaches continued to strain our marriage. Even though we were eventually able to spend a portion of the night in our bed alone, our son developed significant separation anxiety, and our daughter began to experience nightmares. After many nighttime awakenings, we usually gave up and brought both children to bed with us.
Liam became scared of being separated from me throughout the day. It was impossible to leave him with a babysitter, and our occasional date nights and alone time disappeared entirely. If Liam was teething or otherwise out of sorts, I could not leave him alone with his father without him having a major breakdown.
I was, needless to say, exhausted.
I became irritable and emotionally distant from everything other than my children, including my husband. My husband and I began to argue about everything, from how to properly sweep the floor to how to discipline the children. In addition to being irritated toward each other and our children, we lost our spark and romantic moments and our sex life began to fade. It was our own fault that we were rarely alone. After several months of walking on eggshells around one another, we realized that something needed to change.
Changing Our Co-Sleeping Ways
After recognizing and admitting to ourselves and each other that there was a problem, my husband and I discussed our difficulties openly and critically. We realized that our arguments had a bad impact on our children and were likely the cause of their nightmares and separation anxiety, which kept them and us awake at night.
In addition, we recognized that our schedule was way too flexible for the children. We established a rigid evening regimen consisting of a short, nutritious snack, a bath, and a bedtime tale. Additionally, we stayed in their room until the kids fell asleep, but we did not share their beds. We made it plain that if they awaken during the night, they can phone us, and we will check on them. When this occurs, we sit by their bed until they go back asleep, as we do at bedtime.
My spouse puts Liam to bed more frequently than I do to alleviate his separation anxiety. It offers them time to bond and has helped Liam adjust to the fact that he is secure with other people besides me. We’ve also requested assistance from our parents, who occasionally watch Liam overnight. It takes him some time to adjust after we drop off the children, but it has become better each time.
While we’re still working on preserving a feeling of normalcy and adhering to our new routines, we’ve observed a significant change in our children and our relationship. We are gradually spending more time alone, and Emma is experiencing fewer nightmares. If we had known that co-sleeping would be so difficult for us, I’m not sure we would have ever tried it. Although it has undeniable benefits, its drawbacks have been monumental for our family and nearly caused irreparable harm to our marriage.
Meaningful Related articles you might like: How To Keep Your Baby Sleeping After You Put Them Down, 10 Common Sleeping Errors That Parents Make, How to Monitor Your Child’s Meals, Diapers, and Sleep