Co-sleeping with our baby creates so many beautiful memories and bonds that will be cherished forever but it can also have an impact on the relationship between husband and wife. As much as we love to cuddle our wonderful child, we need cuddles too.
Pre-baby, we have the time and space to enjoy each other’s company at bedtime over cuddles and lengthy, normally random conversations. Hugs and kisses are tactile ways to connect with the one we love and many people need that physical contact. Research suggests that hugging is a powerful tool that helps boost self esteem and conveys a message of safety, love and connection. It’s also thought to help lower blood pressure and anxiety and to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Allah has placed this beautiful way of connecting for a couple to simply bring peace to one another.
When baby comes along, all of these cuddles and kisses we take for granted are no longer so easily accessible, especially at bedtime with a child sharing our space. We already have so many adjustments to make when a baby comes along. Sleep deprivation, round the clock babysitting, tiredness, lack of routine, nappies and the constant cries create a situation which easily places a strain on the most upbeat couple.
Women by our very nature are emotional creatures. We are the ones who love a good hug and seek out affection. So our need for regular tight squeezes from the other half is actually very important for our mental and emotional well being. Many of us don’t realise that while tending to the baby, we often forget to take care of our emotional needs and that of our husband. There will be mums who will be laying in bed at night feeding the baby and just wishing they could get a little hug from the hubby but alas, that might wake the baby up. Sometimes we think about maybe moving the baby into their own bed so we can have a little of the old life back, but then guilt sets in.
Sometimes we feel angry that hubby isn’t taking the initiative by initiating and showing affection, does he not need it as much as we do? We are tired and drained and just want affection, especially at night when we have woken up for the 10th time to feed/change/console/burp the little one or just because insomnia has set in. A hug will fix everything you think to yourself but the baby is in the way.
It’s important for us if we feel like this to let our other half know. We can’t let these feelings fester or let any resentments or insecurities grow. We CAN tell hubby that we are missing his hugs, his man-smell and how safe his hugs make us feel. We CAN let him know that not getting enough alone time is making us feel sad/upset/angry and we don’t like that feeling.
What we also CAN do is offer solutions.
Maybe we can initiate a routine that’s works for everyone. Maybe we can have 5 minutes of cuddles on the sofa before bedtime? Or how about we make an effort to touch in some way each time we cross each other in the house? Maybe we take the plunge and move our baby into a crib at the side of our bed so we become ‘mummy in the middle’?
The most important thing is that we are sharing our feelings and working together to find a solution. A time will come when our baby moves out of our bed and then we will feel its emptiness. But that’s a discussion for another day. For now, let’s just have a big hug.
How do you remain close with your husband after having kids? We would love to know!
Mum to a little girl who is the apple of my eye. Busy balancing my love to socialise and integrate with my community with learning to seek stillness and contentment, especially in a world which seems like a rat race with no sight of the finish line.