General Question

knittingandcanning's avatar

When do you find time to be intimate with your partner after the birth of your child?

Asked by knittingandcanning (346points) April 12th, 2009

My partner and I have been finding it more and more difficult to be intimate now that our daughter is getting older – 11 months. Our daughter still sleeps in our bed and we know that she is not quite ready for the transition into a crib. We don’t mind that she sleeps in our bed except that it makes our intimate relationship very tricky. We don’t want to leave her unattended in her bouncer while we have sex but we also don’t want her to right next to us. Parents who have been in this situation, do you have any advice?

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34 Answers

miasmom's avatar

Where does she take her naps?

knittingandcanning's avatar

She only sleeps when being held. She falls asleep while nursing, then sometimes I can pass her to her dad or lay her down but she doesn’t sleep for very long when not in someones arms.

asmonet's avatar

Sounds like a needy kid, she’s gonna have to learn to sleep somewhere else eventually.

knittingandcanning's avatar

We are prepared for that but I don’t want her to be forced into it when she is still so dependent on breastmilk and cuddling close in order to fall asleep.

miasmom's avatar

Our daughter was like that for awhile, she would only sleep when I or someone else held her, but we kept trying her crib and she eventually learned to sleep there. It doesn’t seem like the most fun task, but I’m with @asmonet on this one, she needs to learn to sleep there eventually.

I’m not against cuddling, my daughter still falls asleep in my arms for her naps, but she does let me put her in her crib and she has finally learned to fall asleep on her own at night, but we’ve always put her in her crib.

asmonet's avatar

Okay, but breast milk isn’t going anywhere, and sleeping alone is an important step in development.

And besides, how does putting her sleep ahead of her family’s relationships benefit her?

elijah's avatar

I didn’t have this problem, as my kids were not allowed to sleep in my bed. It’s too dangerous.
I guess the only solution is for you and your partner to leave the bedroom and go to the couch.

miasmom's avatar

Does she nurse at night still? Because she is probably ready to make it through the night without food.

miasmom's avatar

I think you just need to be persistant and work on getting her to sleep in a crib. It might take a few weeks, but it will be worth it in the long run.

lrhar487's avatar

Yes you should start trying to get her to sleep in a crib now or you will have a permenant roomate. This would help you also be able to be with your husband. Until then a quickie in the bathroom always works.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

At eleven months, she needs to learn to sleep through the night on her own, and self-soothe. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get her out of your bed at all. She needs to be sleeping in her own bed, breast feeding or not (I breast fed both of mine until 15 months, while working full time, returning to work both times when they were 8 months old)

YARNLADY's avatar

Have you considered a co-bed? This is a bed with one side that can be slid under the mattress of the adult bed. When the child gets used to being in her own bed, you simply close up the side and move the bed away from yours, gradually getting her used to being in her own room.

I used to wheel ours into the baby’s room after he fell asleep for about two or three weeks, then he was used to it, and could just go straight to his own bedroom. I kept a rocking chair in there for nursing.

hannahsugs's avatar

I disagree with what many posters have said here. It is totally a cultural value that an 11-month baby “should” be able to “self-soothe” and sleep alone. We Westerners are one of the only societies that expects so much independence in our babies; by far the most common pattern of sleep world-wide is to have baby sleeping with (at least one of) her parents until age 3 or so. People from other cultures who hear of our cultural practice of putting babies in their own rooms to sleep often view this as a horrible cruelty, akin to child abuse.

@SarahMacaulay: if you think this is what your baby needs, listen to your gut. Don’t put her in her own room just because other people say she “should” be able to sleep there. “Should” is all relative.

That being said, our culture also values romance between parents (also cross-culturally unusual, by the way) as a key component of a healthy family, and your baby doesn’t benefit from you and your partner losing that sexual connection, if it is important to your happiness. Get a babysitter or family member to take your baby to the park for a while if she won’t sleep alone, or use one of the other creative solutions offered by the other posters.

Darwin's avatar

@hannahsugs – You beat me to it. I was going to say we would get a babysitter or, once daycare started, take a long lunch hour.

As to kids sleeping with parents versus sleeping on their own, my only concern is that no one be able to accidentally roll on a baby and injure or smother it.

And children have different needs. My daughter never wanted to sleep in our bed. She wanted to be held until she fell asleep but then had no problem being placed in her own bed as long as her tummy wasn’t hurting (she had a problem that wasn’t diagnosed until she was two).

My son, OTOH, still wants to sleep near us, preferably in the same room and he is 14! He has some developmental delays that affect him so we are still working on getting him to sleep in his own room all night. We can generally get him to start off there, but 9 out of 10 nights he ends up in our room sometime around 3 am.

MissAusten's avatar

All of our kids (three of them) slept with us for about the first year. We found it was the best way for us to get a good amount of sleep, especially with breastfeeding. Our middle child was colicy and even after that stage passed, would only sleep while being held. Our youngest was almost as bad about sleep, and I can completely relate about not wanting to leave the baby unattended in a bed.

We used to make use of the baby monitor and the spare bedroom (or the couch!). If the baby woke up, we’d hear right away. We were close by, and never had any problems. Another option is to throw some blankets and pillows on the bedroom floor and have some quality time down there. You’ll hear her start to stir before she wakes up enough to get a good look at what you’re up to. However, you know your baby best. Our kids never woke up quietly—they were always crying before they really woke up.

As a side note, our kids started sleeping in their own rooms as young toddlers. We’d have a few rough nights, and then they’d get used to the new routine. Now they are 10, 5, and 4, go to bed easily the vast majority of the time, and stay in their own beds all night. As our pediatrician always said, “If it works for you, it works for you.”

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I believe that children need familiarity with their own sleep space, even if they don’t stay in it most of the time. Family beds are great, but only if both partners agree to it. There is a fine line between a child-centered household and a child-controlled household.

hannahsugs's avatar

I understand the worries about safety, but the risk of smothering a child or SIDS from co-sleeping has been greatly overemphasized by the media, IF, and I emphasize IF, co-sleeping is done safely. That means no drugs or alcohol imbibed by parents, safe bedding (few pillows, no heavy blankets or comforters, a firm mattress), a non-smoking household, and plenty of fresh air in the room. Obesity also raises the risk factor for co-sleeping.

In general, many studies have shown that sleeping parents (especially mothers) tend to be very aware of where their babies are sleeping and are not in danger of rolling onto them. Additionally, the most dangerous time for babies to die from smothering is when they are around 3 months old. If you have slept with your baby from birth and she is now 11 months old, I doubt that there is much danger.

miasmom's avatar

I like what @Darwin and @hannahsugs recommend…getting a sitter to watch your child at times. But, I remember what it was like to have to hold my daughter when she napped and it was so nice when she finally slept in her own space for naptime because it gave me a tiny bit of free time, so I would encourage you to work on that at least for her naptime.

casheroo's avatar

@asmonet you little brat, don’t get me started on the benefits of cosleeping! i’ll cut you!

Sarah, don’t worry about still cosleeping, and still breastfeeding. We coslept until out son was 14 months old, when we felt it was time to transition to the crib. We had plenty of sex still.
We would have sex on the couch, on the living room floor, shower…uhh just about anywhere. Yeah, it has to be quick, but you have a child..get used to getting interupted when you have sex.
Also, seriously, do not worry about leaving her alone in the bouncer. We’d turn our son around in it, and leave him in the same room lol.
I think the cosleeping isn’t the issue, it’s the fact that she needs to sleep in your arms. You need to work on her sleeping just next to you in the bed. I suggest sleeping in just your nursing bra, or naked, so she can find your breast herself. She’ll get used to not being held, but can still feed. I personally just slept in my nursing bra, leaving it open for my son.
I hope you figure something out! I know how hard it can be!

mattbrowne's avatar

When you have supporting grandparents.

funky_princess's avatar

I think that although all the other posts are right in saying the baby does need to learn to sleep alone but your the babys mother, you know whats best for you child and if you think the baby isnt ready to sleep alone then dont do it.
You know your child better then anyone so go with your own thoughts.
As to having more alone time with your partner well as said before get a baby sitter for a hour or so or just use any time you have i.e when baby is sleeping, you dont always need to have sex in a bed there are other places :)

bananafish's avatar

@SarahMacaulay, How long do you plan to co-sleep with your kid? Now’s the time to make a plan. Can’t go on forever, so where do you draw the line and decide that your kiddo needs to find some strength and learn what so many of her peers have already learned: Sleeping without mom and dad is a piece of cake?

My husband and his coworkers (a bunch of scientists) sit around at lunch and laugh everyday at the one guy who’s still co-sleeping with his18 month-old. He and his wife are sexless and miserable. They mock his clumsiness and grumpy face as sexual frustration. All the other guys come in to work with smiles and their faces and springs in their steps. Not this poor bastard. My husband and I laugh about this, and then go have sex and high five. Not co-sleeping rules!

All the evidence I need for crib sleeping is that:

A.) My baby is very affectionate
B.) My baby is very attached to both of us parents
C.) My baby is very confident and secure
D.) My baby is very well-rested and healthy
E.) I have wild, wild sex 6 nights out of the week.

Need I say more?

Buy a book called “The Sleepeasy Solution”. You will thanks me later with chocolates, jewelry, and flowers.

casheroo's avatar

@bananafish I find your post extremely condescending towards people who actually want to cosleep.
People who believe in cosleeping don’t think crib sleeping babies grow up any differently than cosleepers. I can’t walk into a bank and point out the people who coslept or crib slept! That’s ridiculous.
Cosleeping does have emotional benefits, both for parents and child.
The fact that you and your coworkers sit around mocking another coworker is quite pathetic. Nice way to pass your time, huh?
I had sex all the time with my husband, and we coslept, you just have to be creative. It made it more fun, in my experience.
“Find strngth and learn what so many of her peers have already learned” hahahahah. Okay, you got your kid into a crib, wow, great job. You deserve a cookie. Seriously, the US is one of the only countries that is fixated on making our babies be independent as soon as their out of the womb. It’s extremely disturbing the views on cosleeping, when they’re the social norm everywhere else.

bananafish's avatar

@casheroo – Wow, sensitive aren’t we? Did I strike a nerve?

1.) I was pointing out that I don’t see any emotional benefits that my baby has missed out on by not co-sleeping. And clearly this author isn’t seeing so many benefits for herself. Depriving yourself of sex is not what I’d call emotionally fulfilling.

2.) My husband and his coworkers mock another coworker because it’s a male ape jabbing session at the lunch table. They mock him for being sexless – not for co-sleeping. Because sometimes that’s what boys do. My point stands.

3.) You’re right, I do deserve a cookie. You may make it for me and deliver it at the earliest possible convenience. Why do I deserve a cookie? Because I researched and chose a sleeping solution for my baby that has resulted in a happy and healthy family. It sounds like not all on this board can say that (and for those who can, they deserve a cookie too).

4.) I didn’t make my answer a personal attack on anyone. My tongue-in-cheek take on the whole dilemma was honest, witty, and attacked no one. Your answer cannot say the same thing, and can at best be called classless.

bananafish's avatar

By the way, to Sarah – and Sarah alone – I apologize if I hurt your feelings. I was being very tongue-in-cheek with my answer and did not mean to slam you in any way. :)

knittingandcanning's avatar

@bananafish Stop being tongue-in-cheek and start being polite.

bananafish's avatar

Nevah! There are some pearls of wisdom in my answer, and I suggest you take a long, hard look at them. I offered my apology, if you choose to stick nose in air and not accept it, that’s your option. Now excuse me, I’m in the middle of having sex with my husband and must finish.

funky_princess's avatar

your husband cant be that good in bed if you find the need to write something on fluther while he is trying to have sex with you!!

casheroo's avatar

@bananafish witty? i think you think too highly of yourself.

knittingandcanning's avatar

@everyone I just want to state that I did not ask this question because I am unsatisfied with co-sleeping with my daughter. And I also really enjoy holding her as she naps. Sure maybe I don’t get as much done around the house as some stay at home moms do, but so what. She’s more important than house work. My partner and I are not deprived of sex either. We have sex on average 2 days a week, which is not great but also not horrible. And who says that you have to have tons of sex, 6 times a week in order for it to be wild and mind blowing. In my experience it can go both ways. I am only interested in learning of new creative ways that my partner and I can have sex without our daughter watching, preferably from parents who have also co-slept with their children.

We would like to leave our daughter in the care of family members or friends but all of our family members live at least 60+ miles away and none of our friends have or know how to take care of babies. So that’s not really an option for us yet.

@bananafish Having your child sleep in a crib works for you and your family and that’s great. However, a lot of babies prefer sleeping with one or both parents, like my daughter does. You have your way and we have ours. You would probably benefit from being open to and respectful of families who make decisions based on what works for them even though they may not be decisions you would make. Also, the way in which you went about crafting your response was tactless. I think you pissed a lot of people off, including my partner and me. Even your apology was rude! You should think before you type.

Thank you to everyone who didn’t immediately suggest to make the transition from co-sleeping to crib. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter. Everything that has been suggested here save for moving our daughter into a crib or having someone watch her for us is something that my partner and I have tried – we just need to start doing it better than we have been. If anyone has something new to suggest I’d still like to hear you thoughts.

funky_princess's avatar

@SarahMacaulay I think your question was a really good question and one im sure alot of new mothers would like to know aswell. I see nothing wrong in sleeping with your child if everyone is happy. Sleep with your child as long as you feel fit!
And wow sex 2 times a week with a new baby!
Im impressed, i congratulate you!

knittingandcanning's avatar

@funky_princess Thank you for your kind words.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

When they’re sleeping, I was going to say but they sleep in their crib or the swing…have you considered a baby swing?

cinddmel's avatar

I would say try to get her to sleep maybe like @Simone_De_Beauvoir mentioned in a swing or bouncy seat. After you’re done with your partner you can move her to bed to sleep with you.
You can try that during the day to see if it works, for her naps for example, let her fall asleep in your arms and try to put her for a few minutes in the bouncy seat, swing, or crib – that way you’ll know how long she’ll be asleep for so at night when you and your partner are together you know how long you have (roughly) so she doesn’t wake up while you are still busy.
Enjoy your baby sleeping with you for as long as you feel you and her are benefiting from it – they grow up so fast and you’ll missed those moments when you got to cuddle with her and just watch her sleep.

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