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Dads and Co-Sleeping - Page 2

post #21 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by josybear View Post
noah's mommie, squirrelly said that the wives wouldn't listen when the hubbies tried to talk about it.
Yeah I read that but I was thinking maybe it was more of a heavy discusion rather then a heart to heart KWIM?

It was just a thought.
post #22 of 87
Um... Asking men to deal with things they don't like - such as cosleeping, although what's wrong with them (with the way our society has told them men are supposed to be, would be my bet) that they don't like it? - IS asking them to be involved parents. Men have to change diapers, like it or not (or to potty the baby if they're doing EC). Men have to take care of sick babies. Men have to "give up" some of their accustomed habits - such as sleeping in a bed without a baby. Those are some of the responsibilities that go along with being a parent.

The other issue you're talking about - moms yelling at dads because they're not "doing it right" or not allowing the dads to get to know their babies - has NOTHING to do with cosleeping. Absolutely nothing. That happens in families who cosleep, in families who don't, in any kind of family. It has nothing to do with that particular parenting style. In fact, I think the family bed has great potential to decrease that kind of behavior, because dad and baby spend MORE time together, fostering attachment between them. I'm not saying it's not a real issue: it is. I've seen it repeatedly, and it always makes me really sad. But to combine that issue with cosleeping is completely missing the point.
post #23 of 87
I'm going to take a stab at this one.

I have to say I agree with all the pp's and their comments on the subject. Before I had children, I swore they would sleep in a crib....however, I had NO idea what caring for a baby involved. We became a co-sleeping family from the start and were all better off for it. That was four years ago and we're now sleeping with our baby (8 months) and our 4 year old when he needs to climb in bed with us.

I suspect that these men are going through a sort of male version of postpartum depression/shock/adjustment. Having a new baby is such a HUGE adjustment and change to the relationship. I don't think anyone can really prepare for that. Everyone talks about sleep deprivation, but you really can't get it until you experience it. Breastfeeding is also a really big thing to get used to for everyone. What looks so natural and seamless is actually a really tricky skill and in the beginning takes a lot of work to figure out.

I guess I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt to these guys as the original poster sounds genuinely concerned about what they're going through. It sounds to me that they are going through their own major adjustment...life is NOT going to be the way it used to be for these guys. Having the baby sleep in a different room will not change that...it will probably make it harder on everyone.

Here's what I'd do...I would remind them that a 5 month old is still a very, very young baby. However, in the flash of an eye these babes will be toddling around and they won't remember what life was like before they were here. Remind them to give themselves and their partners time to adjust to this major change in their lives. Remind them that their partners are a sea of hormones and really need their support right now. The first year is often about survival (for everyone!)...these guys have 18 years ahead of them to make joint parenting decisions...it becomes much more of an issue as kids get older. Right now, their wives are focusing on the survival of these tiny beings that are entirely dependent on their milk and nurturing.

I guess the bottom line is that this time of life with a newborn is not representative of how their parenting decisions will go in the future. The women are going through so much with this little life 100% dependent on them for survival. As the babies grow older, joint decision-making will be necessary. For now, I think these guys might want to consider doing a bit of research, talking with other dads about what they are going through and remembering that this time of life with a new baby will pass.

I have to agree with everyone else that the bottom line here is that these guys are going to have to get over it for now. If they have trouble with that, I would be concerned about these relationships and how strong they really are.
post #24 of 87
Thread Starter 
Some of my husband's friends have talked to their wives about this, and were yelled at--one had to stay at our house for a few days. I had no idea that this would be such a huge issue, but wow! It's THE thing within our group of friends and family.
post #25 of 87
I promise I'm not trying to be rude, but it really ISN'T a huge issue for most people I don't think. I know a lot of parents, some crunchy and some not, who have coslept for at least the early months of infanthood and I have never heard of it erupting into an argument like that.

I have to wonder how the hubby brought it up if he got kicked out of the house over it. Again, I ask, what is their issue with cosleeping beyond just not "liking it?" Because as many PP's have mentioned, there are a whole lot of things you do that you don't like as a parent. (and as a human being in society, for that matter) And are they willing to put the work in to make another arrangement easier on the mom. And I honestly have to wonder what kind of foundation that marriage has if that kind of discussion warrants a father leaving the house for several days. Let me tell you, my marriage is not perfect and we have had some serious, serious arguments in the past, about things way less trivial than where people were sleeping...and I have never, ever wanted DH out of the house, nor has he ever wanted to leave. that seems beyond strange to me. If I were you I'd offer very little advice...there are clearly issues beyond cosleeping at hand.
post #26 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrelly View Post
Some of my husband's friends have talked to their wives about this, and were yelled at--one had to stay at our house for a few days. I had no idea that this would be such a huge issue, but wow! It's THE thing within our group of friends and family.
Sorry that your husbands friends are torn about this issue.
post #27 of 87
i think it's kind of sad that these dads can't figure it out on their own, by being involved in their babies' lives, that the baby NEEDS mom a whole lot at this time in their life, and that co-sleeping is the easiest way to help mom cope with this incredibly exhausting duty. and that both parents are certainly making sacrifices.

i've known a few parents who solved the problem by having dad sleep in another bed for a while.

i'm not trying to be mean. i just really don't understand how this can not be totally obvious.

i must say, i can see why some of these moms got mad when the topic was brought up. i could see myself feeling very defensive if i was questioned about this.
post #28 of 87
Thread Starter 
Yikes!!

I never intended for this to be so...um...zesty, and for that, I'm sorry. I just wish both mothers and fathers would be equal partners in raising a kid, but I doubt that will ever happen. The friends I first mentioned are just getting a bit touchy about everything, which is why I thought I'd post here.

I really do want to know how to talk to the fathers, since the mothers of these babies I mentioned seem to know what they're doing, but the fathers don't. Does that make more sense? I just want to be able to give good advice, and I'd personally like these guys to be good and involved fathers.
post #29 of 87
Let them read what was written here. Forewarn them that we mean no harm we are just passionate about co-sleeping
post #30 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrelly View Post
There are fathers out there who probably love co-sleeping. That's really great! I wish all men felt that way. I'm just saying that there are some fathers who are afraid to say what they think, and feel terrible and trapped by their feelings--what they think no longer matters. They love their babies, but they don't like co-sleeping, and don't want to upset their wives. They don't want to hurt anyone, and so they play along. I've heard this from several of my husband's friends--I'm not making anything up.

My brother-in-law is a developmental pediatrician, and I've heard many stories from him about this issue. If both parents are in total agreement, then nifty! But, he's told me that rarely happens. He emphazises that a strong marriage is the best thing for any child.

Wanting the best for your child is only natural. To exclude your husband in the raising of your child is almost spiteful, in my very humble opinion.
He's excluding himself. All he's doing is asking for a wife to be his mother first, and be a worse mother to his child. AND put her out even more by making her get up, get out of the room several times a night. Probably expects the house to look nice too. AND after having her get out of bed to go to another room to sit up for 45 minutes several times, THEN wants her to be fiesty and amourous at the end of the next day.

THEN, when all those expectations aren't met he'll still feel martyred and sorry for himself that his wife isn't meeting his needs.

There is some spite involved, but I think you've missed the mark on who has it.

When one is expected to function in a situation in where there is no "right" answer, something has to give. Since Mommy is already in full out given out mode with an infant, and the infant cannot give, Daddy is going to have to tie an extra set on and be a good husband.
post #31 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrelly View Post
I really do want to know how to talk to the fathers, since the mothers of these babies I mentioned seem to know what they're doing, but the fathers don't. Does that make more sense? I just want to be able to give good advice, and I'd personally like these guys to be good and involved fathers.
Well, to be honest, if a dad came to DH and I complaining about co-sleeping, we would probably tell him to grow up and go home and talk to his wife about it some more instead of complaining to us. And maybe to grow up and stop putting himself ahead of his baby. But neither one of us are all that tactful.
post #32 of 87
How old are these guys? I'm not presuming that age has everything to do with it, but it does sound like a bit of maturity issue.

I would redirect them to do some research on the subject. Do you have children yourself? If not, I think the most you can do is listen. They really need to figure this out on their own if they can't talk about it productively with their partners. There is SO much information out there on the subject...loads of books, forums like these and other websites. I think they can certainly find support out there if that's what they are looking for.

It sounds like you are feeling in the middle of this and aren't sure how to handle it. I would try to stay out of the details because this is very touchy and personal for these couples. Maybe just listening and suggesting that they search for their own answers will help.

I have to say that getting kicked out of the house is pretty big. Moms need extra hands and if they felt their partners were more of a hinderance than a help that is a real shame. I don't know what I'd do without my DH...he is invaluable to me with nighttime parenting.
post #33 of 87
And I have to say again that the whole issue of joint decision making and being a team about parenting is not the issue here. These moms are just trying to get through the nights with as much sleep and as little stress as possible. This is not really a parenting issue in the way you are implying.
These guys can be a bigger part of thing when their wives boobs aren't the main attraction.
post #34 of 87
The main attraction to the babes, I mean.
post #35 of 87
I too think that when there are multiple parents in a child's life, they should, in general, be equal coparents. The family bed is part of that - it's part of how a dad can be an equal parent to his child at night. There's no conflict between those ideals. It sounds like the conflict is entirely in the relationship of the people in this situation - cosleeping is just the issue they're fighting about, but it's not the real issue. The real issue is the fighting.
post #36 of 87
I agree with what you've said about the family bed being a joint decision. But sometimes it isn't in the beginning. It sounds like in this situation, the mothers want it and the fathers don't. Since the mothers are doing the majority of the work in these early months, mom wins out. I can't imagine a husband insisting on having the mother get out of bed numerous times a night when she's rather just roll over and nurse that baby.

I still really don't think that your worries about these guys being involved as parents is an issue in this particular situation. I think they just don't want to have their beds turned upside down with a newborn...I can understand that but it is often what is done to make life a little easier on the mom and the baby. Maybe these guys should invest in some good ear plugs or sleep in another room from time to time.
post #37 of 87
I haven't read this whole thread but just wanted to share our situation.
Dh started napping with dd in the day and he got hooked on co-sleeping that way. Now he is a strong advocate for co-sleeping and room sharing.
post #38 of 87
I think my husband has more of a "problem" with co-sleeping than I do (our child is a toddler, now, nearing three) and it's because of the physical challenges. It is harder on him (than on me) to have his sleep interrupted. I often will have more of our daughter's head oriented toward me, and he'll have her feet. She is not a kicker, particularly, nor does she typically sleep sideways, but she does sometimes push her feet into his abdomen. Anyway, if she wakes/stirs with the upset of a dream or some disturbance, it tends to wake him completely. And he's less able to fall back asleep immediately than I am. And he is less physically resilient than I am, generally.

When our daughter was a newborn, and just a young baby (nursing often), he almost always woke when she'd nurse. Partly because I am not super-quiet (when not fully awake; I'd talk, or make noise) and partly because he is a lighter sleeper. He had to wake me up to nurse the baby more than once, for example.

So I'd guess that he's a bit less enthusiastic about the prospect of co-sleeping than I am, but we both accept that this is the way we chose to raise our daughter. We didn't even buy a crib, though we did have a pack-n-play and thought we'd see what we ended up doing/using before investing in a crib.

We did arrive at the decision together, I think, in the sense that I shared things with him as my knowledge/opinion was developing. My bro and SIL coslept, and so I read a little bit about it (assuming it was somehow "bad") way before we were having our own baby, and our sense of it evolved together.

He does agree that, despite the logistical difficulties, it has been very good for her and for us. My point has been to convey that it's not all warm fuzzies in the day-to-day scheme, nor has it ever been (for us.) It's been great, but it's been hard. And harder on him.

Now...

Reading your first post, and the reasons these fathers give for their negative feelings, I can understand why people here posted what they did. When a man is "feeling less important than the baby," there's not going to be a whole lot of sympathy for his position. His needs and wants ARE less important (as are the mother's, as several pointed out.)

It seems like a mix of things....feeling less important, feeling unimportant (to the wife.) Also feeling like his opinion doesn't count (or not as much as the mother's), which is a different thing. I agree that these men should clarify (through soul-searching) why they are resistant to co-sleeping. No meaningful discussion can come without that effort. Are they wanting an equal say in parenting decisions, or are they wanting their wishes (for themselves) to be as important a priority as what is best for the baby? Honestly.

Also, it's not a surprise that their wives would react defensively. Particularly since we don't know how the issue was broached.

I agree that it's not good for one partner to feel resentful or shut-out, but I don't agree that that means they have to change their arrangement "for the good of the child." That argument can be used for so many things, including the "happy mother" is more important to a baby than having her breastmilk, or when a man is resentful about breastfeeding, the "health" of their marriage is more important than what food the baby receives. (I'm just saying...This logic feels roughly parallel to me.)

That's not to say that there cannot be change as a result of discussion, but what is going to make him/them feel like they've "been a part of" the decision? If they stop co-sleeping? That's not fair! Are they going to remain resentful if they share their discomfort and the baby is still in the bed with them? Like nothing "happened"? Only one result (change) will make them feel okay/heard? Where does that leave their partners?

I would agree that there probably are a lot of things at work here. If it's the issue of intimacy, I'd wager that many new mothers are too tired/too "touched out" to be very interested in sex, whether they are co-sleeping or not. To some extent the reduced interest is biological (hormonal, a result of lactation, etc.) and to some extent it's simple exhaustion.

As far as your question about how to talk to these fathers....

I'd say that helping the men to understand why their partners would feel defensive about this issue is a key piece. Contextualize her fierce attachment, (and how that's actually a gift to his baby), and why she reacts when she feels threatened or pressured. Another useful thing would be to clarify all the reasons that a woman would want to co-sleep, and how it benefits her (specifically how it supports the nursing relationship and how the proximity actually helps to establish a good supply--and how many people struggle with this issue, end up supplementing, etc.) and helps her to be more rested/able to care for the baby during the waking hours, as well as how it benefits the baby (attachment, SIDS) and benefits the development of attachment between father and baby.

You could seek to couch it in a way that does not sound like an ambush, or like you're taking "her side." It's obvious you're sympathetic to the guys, anyway. But if you want to help, perhaps offering some information to enlighten their wives' position would do just that.

People here have made excellent points about the percentages involved in nighttime parenting...who is doing the work, who "gets the say"? I wouldn't make the point that they logically shouldn't have a say, but I'd make the point that it's a tremendous trade-off if they DO put the baby in a different bed, and that the wife should not have to shoulder the extra legwork. If the complaint is that their sleep is interrupted, they should mull over the fact that putting the baby somewhere else is not going to change that, and it's not fair for them to expect their wives to shoulder the burden of going to the baby when they're the ones asking for the change.

You could recommend that they come up with a viable plan, basically what a previous poster laid out, in how they'd shoulder the extra legwork involved if she'd agree to try out a different nighttime scenario. The point would be helping him to see what that change would entail (for him.)

Reading about these conflicts, I wish these people could read Penelope Leach's The First Six Months: Getting Together With Your Baby. (Didn't double check the title, but I think that's it.) Not just for the segment on fathering (and adjusting to a new baby, and to the fact that you'd best get over the idea of waiting for things to "get back to normal"), but also for the sensitive portrayal of what a mother's bonding experience is like.

If these guys can understand what is involved, emotionally/hormonally/physically/spiritually/biologically, in their wives' nurturing of their children, perhaps they could be in a different space as far as nurturing their wives, supporting that mother-child bond. Even just in understanding why she would react defensively when feeling threatened by his dissatisfaction or objections.
post #39 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrelly View Post
Yikes!!

I never intended for this to be so...um...zesty, and for that, I'm sorry. I just wish both mothers and fathers would be equal partners in raising a kid, but I doubt that will ever happen..

I think this is one issue, and there are very few, where the parents are not equal. The father is not up all night breastfeeding. The baby is really not being put first, as I see it, but the breastfeeding mother. When my dh complained a bit, I told him (truthfully, not just being sarcastic) that if he was willing to get up with the baby 50% of the time to bottle feed bm to the baby, then he could have 50% of the say. But a sleeping husband does not get to vote on where I breastfeed.
post #40 of 87
I really liked these comments, too.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrelly
Wanting the best for your child is only natural. To exclude your husband in the raising of your child is almost spiteful, in my very humble opinion.
He's excluding himself.

When one is expected to function in a situation in where there is no "right" answer, something has to give.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barb36 View Post
And I have to say again that the whole issue of joint decision making and being a team about parenting is not the issue here. These moms are just trying to get through the nights with as much sleep and as little stress as possible. This is not really a parenting issue in the way you are implying.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barb36 View Post
I agree with what you've said about the family bed being a joint decision. But sometimes it isn't in the beginning. It sounds like in this situation, the mothers want it and the fathers don't. Since the mothers are doing the majority of the work in these early months, mom wins out. I can't imagine a husband insisting on having the mother get out of bed numerous times a night when she's rather just roll over and nurse that baby.

I think they just don't want to have their beds turned upside down with a newborn...I can understand that but it is often what is done to make life a little easier on the mom and the baby. Maybe these guys should invest in some good ear plugs or sleep in another room from time to time.

Demeter9 also makes a very good point about the diminishing returns if he is looking for more physical intimacy, and thinks that having his wife get up to tend to night feedings is going to impact that favorably. And also that he'll still end up feeling "martyred and sorry for himself that his wife isn't meeting his needs."

Maybe helping to make the point that it's unsatisfactory to them that their beds are "turned upside down" with a newborn, but the alternatives are not satisfactory, in the sense that it is still going to be affecting them (if they shoulder their part of the burden, as they should.) The issue is not so much having a say in parenting decisions, but coming to terms with what they've done and how it (the change) reaches into every area of their lives. They've had a baby.
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