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#1 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 12:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, all--

I'm writing this out of concern for some friends. My husband and I are friends with three couples who have had babies within the last five months. All the wives wanted to, and thusly do, have their babies sleep with them.

As time went by, my husband and I heard from the husbands regarding this situation--and they were not happy at all. They felt their wives saw them as less important than the baby, they felt isolated, they felt they were not part of the decision, etc. They also felt that every time they tried to talk about this with their wives, they were shut down. These are all really nice guys who love their wives and kids, and I feel for them.

I guess what I'm asking is this: is there a way for the men in these situations to have some kind of meaningful discussion about where the baby should sleep? I think they're all resigned and, even worse, embittered by this.

I'm a woman, and I can understand wanting to have your baby near you, but I also think that a strong marriage between parents is crucial to the development of a child. Also, I think a couple should decide together how to handle the raising of their child. Parents should have equal say--fathers are too often absent from their children's lives these days, and to discourage them from participating is a shame.

I just have no idea what to say or do--I can see both sides to this, but it does seem as if the father's opinion is often secondary.

Any thoughts would be very much appreciated! My hubby and I are kind of in the middle of this whole thing, and we really wish we could help!
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#2 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 12:31 AM
 
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I honestly think that if dads want to make a big stink about cosleeping, they need to shoulder their load of the nighttime parenting. Too often I hear of breastfeeding families where the dad doesn't want to cosleep...what sense does that make?? He is not the one doing the work.

If these men want to open a dialogue about this, they need to begin by offering to make it as easy as possible on the mama, by going to get the baby when they wake in the night (and that means AS SOON AS they wake up, which is sometimes tough for men I think because their instincts aren't as in tune as mom's), change the diaper if need be, and bring baby to mom to nurse, or take baby back to their room when they're done eating, at every. single. feeding. Honestly once they do that a few nights most dads seem to feel like cosleeping is not such a bad idea.

Also they need to acknowledge how their wives might be feeling. I know I was very, very, very anxious in the first few months after my baby was born and when she was not in bed with me I was checking on her several times a night when she started sleeping through.

I kind of fundamentally disagree with you and the guys on this one...I can see when a baby gets older and dad doesn't want to continue to cosleep with a 3 year old that kicks him all night...but a nursing baby needs to be close to his/her mama, and usually mama needs to be close to baby. It's how we're designed. I think it's being way overdramatic to think that your marriage is coming in second or going to be damaged by 6 months-1 year of cosleeping. I also don't think that all parenting decisions are 50/50. Like I said, it's way more work for the nursing mother to have baby in another room, so I do think her opinion holds more weight. There are also a lot of benefits, like a reduction in SIDS, to cosleeping that these dads should consider IMO.

I know my DH and I were sort of freaked about cosleeping with our first DD, but this time around we are seasoned enough to know that you do what works. I guess I am just lucky that I have a DH that knows and trusts our marriage is strong enough to spend a few months on the couch so that we can ALL get a better night of rest. It's not just about considering the needs of the couple or the marriage to me...it's about considering the needs of the whole family, and I also think that if baby needs to be in bed, dad is in a much better position to understand and sacrifice a little than the baby is.

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#3 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 12:49 AM
 
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My partner took a few months of warming up until he was sold entirely on the cosleeping idea. After a few weeks, I asked him to put the giant eyesore of a crib away - due to lack of space (old house, small rooms.)
He kind of freaked. "What do you mean put it away, isn't he going to use it soon??" I cried. How could anyone think I would ever put my son in a crib? He agreed - a few more months, and then we'd talk again about transitioning. Until then, the crib could reside in the basement.

I believe it's just part of my partners loving nature - but now, at 16m he's a hardcore cosleeping activist.

As PP said - babies and mothers are designed for closeness.
I suppose the mothers could either take a stand, and because of the fragile relationship egos of their partners - they may end up in a big conflict.
Or - they can approach it in a babystep type ideal as I did - a few more months....and then we'll talk about it, kind of thing. Make them feel more comfortable - spend more time with them, reassure their virility - the first 5-6 months are so hard, I tend to forget how much they threw our relationship into wacky limbo.


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#4 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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Ya know what? Dad's wants ARE second to baby's needs. So are mom's. That's part of being a parent. Any man who isn't ready to face that, isn't ready to be a dad. I think it's largely a maturity issue.

-Angela
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#5 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 12:56 AM
 
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Encourage the men to do some looking into the subject. They probably are feeling cut out because they aren't the centre of their wives world anymore AND they haven't a clue what they are talking about.

As in, I imagine their wives have looked into the issue and their husbands have not. They are attempting the do the one thing that men tend to castigate women about the most - they are making an issue and a decision based solely on their emotions. Not on data, only on how THEY feel about it. And because that simply doesn't cut it with their wives they are angry - at their wives.

They need to grow up, go look into the information sort out their reasons. That way they are approaching the thing from a position of knowledge. As it is, I imagine that they are embittered because they KNOW that they are being little pouty boys and want their wives to fix the situation for them. But they also know that their wives are being excellent mothers, and doing the best they can for their off-spring and so feel extra pouty since they know they ARE NOT as commited as their wives and feel guilty about it.

Asking their wives to be worse mothers to make them feel better isn't the solution.
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#6 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 01:04 AM
 
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Ya know what? Dad's wants ARE second to baby's needs. So are mom's. That's part of being a parent. Any man who isn't ready to face that, isn't ready to be a dad. I think it's largely a maturity issue.

-Angela
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#7 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 01:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Babies are entirely dependent on their parents--that's not even an issue. But why do some mothers marginalize their husbands, when they are only trying to do what they're told? Yes, a baby needs his or her mother. But what about the father? I cannot understand why a mother would ignore and trivialize her husband about something they both created, and thusly both have responsibility.

Women have been trying to get the fathers of their children to be more attentive and more involved for years--by maginilizing them, how in the world does that help? If both the mother AND the father of a child would equally bear the roughness and joys of raising their child, society might be a bit better off.

Why do we assume men cannot understand the bond between mother and child? Why do we think men are incapable of understanding women and what we feel with our children? That is where the fundamental problem lies. Many women assume their husbands are not equipped to care for babies, and so they refuse to help their husbands to get to know the role of a father.

My sister, for example, has a husband who tries his darndest to help raise their son, but she constantly yells at him because he's not doing things the way she would do them. The poor guy loves his son, but is afraid to do anything. My other sister has a husband who is very attentive to his kids and has been from the start because he and my sister decided they were equal partners, and would always decide on their children's upbringing together.

And that is my point--the mother and father should agree on every point. If we continue to chastise and marginalize men, what good are we doing? Yes, they obviously can't breastfeed, but why would they be unable to do other things? By saying they are useless, we are making them useless. I think a lot of fathers would help out if we would allow them to. I've seen it happen, and it's incredibly natural. Both partners can figure out a way to equally raise their child.

I should probably add that my sisters and I were raised by my father, and he was a wonderful parent!
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#8 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 01:23 AM
 
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Yes, mothers want fathers to be more involved. But not more involved in making decisions that are selfishly motivated, like kicking baby out of bed. What reason do these dads have for not wanting to cosleep? I'm willing to bet they're getting shut down on these discussions because they don't have a leg to stand on. When I think of all the sacrifices and pressures having children has put on our marriage, cosleeping is WAY off in the distance on the list of Important Discussions to Have.

I really don't get your last post at all. Yes, mothers and fathers should bear the load of parenting equally. Night and day. Are you saying these dads are willing to do all that I mentioned in my previous post just to not cosleep? Are you aware that even the AAP recommends nursing babies sleep close to their mothers (they fall short of recommending actual cosleeping because some idiots will do it unsafely) to establish and maintain a healthy milk supply?

I think what mothers want from fathers is active participants, in the research and reading and the practical day to day work.

I just think your basic assumption--that cosleeping somehow is a hardship on dad--is wrong. Any man that can't buck up and deal with a little cosleeping, ESPECIALLY since among your friends the oldest baby is 5 months old? is far from ready to be a father, the kind of father you're describing, an active participant. Is his need to sleep in the same bed alone with his wife every single night on the same level as the baby needing to be there? That makes absolutely no sense. We're talking tiny babies here. Yeah, their needs come first, far and away, before anyone in that house. I could really use 8 hours of sleep right now, but guess what? I ain't gettin' it because baby NEEDS to nurse every few hours.

I don't really understand what you're getting at here. Are you saying these dads are going to their wives with information on why cosleeping isn't good for their babies, and offering to shoulder their part of nighttime parenting to get baby out of bed? What motivations do they have for opening this dialogue? I think women trivialize men on this issue because they're arguing it for trivial reasons.

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#9 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 01:35 AM
 
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1. I don't really see how to compromise. (It's not like you can do every other night, or half-in-half out).

2. In my book, the one who is up at night makes the final call. If dad can give bm to babe all night, then, sure, it is his call. But, dad can't say that baby is in a crib, then expect me to get up and bf in a rocking chair or something.
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#10 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 01:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Squirrelly View Post
Babies are entirely dependent on their parents--that's not even an issue. But why do some mothers marginalize their husbands, when they are only trying to do what they're told? Yes, a baby needs his or her mother. But what about the father? I cannot understand why a mother would ignore and trivialize her husband about something they both created, and thusly both have responsibility.

Women have been trying to get the fathers of their children to be more attentive and more involved for years--by maginilizing them, how in the world does that help? If both the mother AND the father of a child would equally bear the roughness and joys of raising their child, society might be a bit better off.
Of course, but if the dads aren't the ones getting up in the middle of the night to breastfeed, then why do they have equal say in where the baby sleeps?
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#11 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 01:38 AM
 
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Squirrelly, I don't understand what you mean by saying that cosleeping is "marginalizing" fathers. Cosleeping gives fathers a chance to be close to baby all night, just like it does with mothers. Fathers can cuddle with the baby and take over some of the night time parenting. From watching my DH interact with our child, it's clear to me that cosleeping has helped him to feel close and involved.

Maybe there is something else going on in your friends' marriages. Are the husbands' complaints really about sex? Or do the husbands feel that they are not getting enough attention from their wives and the babies are getting all the attention? A lot of times that's what husbands mean when they complain about cosleeping.
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#12 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 01:40 AM
 
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Babies are entirely dependent on their parents--that's not even an issue. But why do some mothers marginalize their husbands, when they are only trying to do what they're told? Yes, a baby needs his or her mother. But what about the father? I cannot understand why a mother would ignore and trivialize her husband about something they both created, and thusly both have responsibility.

Women have been trying to get the fathers of their children to be more attentive and more involved for years--by maginilizing them, how in the world does that help? If both the mother AND the father of a child would equally bear the roughness and joys of raising their child, society might be a bit better off.

Is it more of a intimacy issue? Maybe the husbands needs in bed are not being met because of the baby and feels it's an introsion?

Just a thought. My hubby loves co-sleeping I guess I am lucky, But I also make sure his needs are met too!
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#13 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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Squirrelly, I don't understand what you mean by saying that cosleeping is "marginalizing" fathers. Cosleeping gives fathers a chance to be close to baby all night, just like it does with mothers. Fathers can cuddle with the baby and take over some of the night time parenting. From watching my DH interact with our child, it's clear to me that cosleeping has helped him to feel close and involved.

Maybe there is something else going on in your friends' marriages. Are the husbands' complaints really about sex? Or do the husbands feel that they are not getting enough attention from their wives and the babies are getting all the attention? A lot of times that's what husbands mean when they complain about cosleeping.
My thoughts exactley!
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#14 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 01:47 AM
 
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Is it more of a intimacy issue? Maybe the husbands needs in bed are not being met because of the baby and feels it's an introsion?

Just a thought. My hubby loves co-sleeping I guess I am lucky, But I also make sure his needs are met too!
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well said Noah's Mommie. There must be something else going on. And they are not the ones to be awake all night, so they do not get to decide.

p.s. I too am lucky-- DP loves to spoon DS-- that's where they are right now, snuggled up in our bed. Neither would have it any other way, It's just so sweet

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#15 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:03 AM
 
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It was a big issue when DS was born but now we just make time to be together whenever it is possible. It really has helped out alot. Talk with them about it and see if this is the case I willing to bet that this is the underlying issue. Had I not talked to DH about it we would still be battling with this ourselves. However, I am the one who has to BF and has to get up and change diapers but I do not mind at all I love being able to be close to my DS. Before too long he won't be little anymore


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well said Noah's Mommie. There must be something else going on. And they are not the ones to be awake all night, so they do not get to decide.

p.s. I too am lucky-- DP loves to spoon DS-- that's where they are right now, snuggled up in our bed. Neither would have it any other way, It's just so sweet
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#16 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#17 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:24 AM
 
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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. 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.
I am not trying to be rude at all but do you think that it is strange that they are not talking about it with their wives? I think it could be good to have a heart to heart about it and if he feels he is being selfish more reason for him to talk about it. Because not communicating about it on a healthy level is not good for thenm either. I hope your friends can get this worked out. Also it doesn't last forever
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#18 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:27 AM
 
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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. 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.
See, there are some dads who hate diaper changes too- so? Goes with the territory. Baby NEEDS to be with mom- day and night- simple biology. If dad doesn't want baby to breastfeed does he get to veto that too?

-Angela
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#19 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:28 AM
 
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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. 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.
Maybe I'm cold-hearted, but I'm just not all that moved by this. Part of me wonders what kind of man would be so self-centered that he would want to interfere with a co-sleeping, breastfeeding baby and its mother. And part of me thinks that if a man can't suck it up and have an actual conversation about it with his wife--one where he's REALLY willing to listen--he's lost his right to complain. And part of me thinks that just "not liking" something isn't reason enough not to do it--not when you're a parent. Heaven knows I don't "like" taking care of three sick children, but I've done it because I believe it to be best. And part of me is thanking God that my husband loves cuddling our babies and children in the family bed.

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#20 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:33 AM
 
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noah's mommie, squirrelly said that the wives wouldn't listen when the hubbies tried to talk about it.

imo, if one parent isn't happy with something, communication needs to occur. if dh ever stopped liking cosleeping, i'd want to know why. is it because we're crowded? is it because he feels it's unsafe? is he tired of having ds between us so we can't snuggle? is it the nighttime interruptions? there must be a reason.
as the parent that does the nighttime parenting 90% of the time, i have the stronger vote on how we sleep. but i don't want dh upset or feeling pushed aside, either.
so these friends of yours need to sit down face to face and talk about the issues at hand. the wives may not feel like talking, i know i didn't feel like facing issues in the first 9 months of ds's life, but for the health of the relationship, communication is vital.
wow, that was a long sentence.
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#21 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:43 AM
 
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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.
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#22 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:44 AM
 
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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.
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#23 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:47 AM
 
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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.
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#24 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 02:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#25 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 03:02 AM
 
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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.

mama to 3 girls: Abigail 2.12.05, Eliana 8.26.06, Willa 1.9.09
RN-BSN 5/11, CBE, former doula
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#26 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 03:06 AM
 
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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.
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#27 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 03:08 AM
 
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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.
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#28 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 03:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#29 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 03:12 AM
 
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Let them read what was written here. Forewarn them that we mean no harm we are just passionate about co-sleeping
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#30 of 87 Old 01-02-2007, 03:20 AM
 
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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.
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