29 Days to Great Sex Day 25: Sex when you have Kids

We’re in the final stretch of our 29 Days to Great Sex series! I hope you’ve been enjoying it. And as we near the end of the series, we simultaneously near the date when The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex will be released (update: Available now!)

We’ve focused on how to get more enthusiastic about sex, how to have fun as a couple, how to make it feel great, and how to negotiate some of the more contentious issues, like frequency or what you do. But there’s one other thing that is likely to come in the way of a great sex life. I’ll let this video speak for itself:

Do you like it? Zondervan’s making a series of them for me to promote my book, and this is the first one! (Please hit the Facebook share buttons and Pinterest share buttons below to tell other people about the video!)

Anyway, my husband’s a pediatrician, and he often talks to parents who co-sleep with their babies, and often much older children. The interesting thing about these conversations is that almost unanimously it is the woman’s idea. The man would rather that the kids go elsewhere, but the mom is insisting on the kids being in the bed. That may not be the case in your marriage, but it’s very common.

When you’re a parent, your marriage is now even more important because others are depending on you. Do not allow children to come between you and your husband! Babies in the bed while you’re nursing? I can see that (though my husband would insist that I point out that the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages it because of the increased incidence of SIDS). But at a certain point the best thing for the children is to learn how to go to sleep on their own, in their own bed, so you can have couple time.

I know a substantial number of couples let their kids sleep in bed with them. I am not saying that this always wrong. But I have had those same women tell me “we just have to be more creative about sex.” That’s fine, but as a woman, I know that if I had to be more creative about it, I’d make love less frequently. I just would. Some nights we make love when we’re both tired simply because we’re lying in bed together talking and then stuff happens. If we had to go to a different room, or try not to wake the kids, it wouldn’t happen.

If the kids are putting a damper on your sex life, you owe it to your spouse to have an honest discussion about how he or she feels about it.  Many spouses, especially many men, let kids sleep in the bed because they feel as if they don’t have much of a choice. She wants them there, and the kids won’t go to sleep elsewhere.

If bedtime routines are nightmares, because the kids won’t settle to sleep, then get the Ferber book (or just watch any episode of Supernanny on YouTube. She does tons on bedtime routines!) You do not have to live with that kind of chaos forever! And once children learn how to settle themselves and sleep on their own, they are often much more settled children. It is not fun to be a child and to not be able to settle yourself to sleep. It leaves a child very nervous and agitated. Learning to sleep on one’s own is a skill that we give kids, and once they have that, they are much more peaceful.

But what about sex when teens are in the home? That’s even more difficult! And you’ll have to buy the book for my advice on that… (I can’t give you everything here, you know :) ).

Great Sex Challenge 25: Have an honest talk with each other about how much the kids are hampering your sex life. Commit together that your marriage comes first, and figure out ways to find some alone time, no matter what the ages of the kids! If you’re the one who wants the kids in the bed, or who insists on putting the kids to sleep yourself, then honestly ask your spouse if he or she is on board. If not, listen to their side, and plot a course together which will help all of you get more sleep, and both of you get more intimacy!

Tomorrow: Rekindling Sex After a Drought

Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.

31 Days to Great Sex
New! This 29 Days to Great Sex series has been turned into an ebook, the 31 Days to Great Sex (only $4.99!)

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29 Days to Great Sex:

Day 1: The Act of Marriage
Day 2: Starting Fresh
Day 3: Loving the Skin You’re In
Day 4: Pucker Up!
Day 5: Reawaken Desire
Day 6: Why Your Hubby Wants You!
Day 7: Moving in the Right Direction
Day 8: 14 Ways to Play as a Couple
Day 9: Prepare for Sex throughout the Day
Day 10:16 Ways to Flirt with Your Husband
Day 11: How to Find Your Hubby Attractive
Day 12: If you’re Having a Hard Time with these Challenges
Day 13: Getting Your Head in the Game
Day 14: What if You’re Not “In the Mood”?
Day 15: What is Foreplay?
Day 16: How to Orgasm
Day 17: The Pleasure Center
Day 18: Foreplay Can Be for Him, Too!
Day 19: How to Come Alive Again
Day 20: Deciding on Boundaries
Day 21: 5 Ways to Spice Things Up
Day 22: How Often is Enough?
Day 23: Quickies Are Great!
Day 24: Initiate, Baby!

Day 26: Rebuilding Your Sex Life
Day 27: Experiencing Spiritual Intimacy When You Make Love
Day 28:
Overcoming Selfishness in the Bedroom

Please spread the word about this series by sharing on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Tumblr below! Thank you!

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  1. I completely agree with you, Shiela. We never let any of our children sleep with us and they all were great sleepers. We needed our sleep and we needed time together. I always ask women if they are better wives or mothers and they have all answered that they are better mothers. The funny thing is that if they worked on being better wives, they would end up being better mothers!
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    • That’s a great thought at the end of your comment there.

      I always ask women if they are better wives or mothers and they have all answered that they are better mothers. The funny thing is that if they worked on being better wives, they would end up being better mothers!

      I’m going to remember that and use it!

    • Hear hear!!!

  2. I agree that wives need to keep their relationship with their husbands a top priority once children enter into the picture. I admit that I approached that all wrong, and it was in part a reason why my marriage exploded two years ago (praise be to God for restoring and rebuilding it).
    However, I do have to say that I completely disagree with the Ferber approach to sleep training, and also with the “babywise” approach. For the sake of not getting completely off the marriage topic and on the infant/child sleep topic, I won’t get into it, but I just had to say that I disagree with “sleep training.”
    We are very strict about bed time, though we have never made our children cry to sleep, and we are very protective of our “mommy and daddy time” once the kids are in bed.
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    • All I can say is that we used it on both of our kids, and they went from fussing a lot about sleeping to going to sleep easily for naps and bedtimes in just two days–and they were very peaceful about it! But not everyone has to use it, and if you have a better way, more power to you. Our babies were not good sleepers from the get go, and we have to do something to break the cycle, but some kids really are good sleepers. But if you have other ideas of how to help babies and toddlers go to sleep on their own, that’s great.

  3. I am truly enjoying this series and getting a lot out of it, however I have to agree with Megan that the Ferber Method of putting children to sleep is outdated, harsh, and HEART-WRENCHING for all involved. It did not work with our first daughter, and all it did was create a large amount of anxiety, guilt, and strife between me and my husband. We did find another method to help our children learn to sleep in their own beds that was much less severe and I felt so much better about it as a mom! Our girls (3 years, and 5 years) now and sleep from 7:30pm to 6:30am and hubby and I have OUR TIME to nourish our marriage. People (friends) usually can’t believe we “force” our kids to go to bed at 7:30pm, but they really do NEED the sleep, wake up happy and hubby and I can get some “me” AND “us” time without being up all hours to get that time in! I am usually asleep by 10pm and a much happier mommy and wife when not sleep deprived!! It’s a win-win-win-win…(and one more baby on the way!) 😉

    • That’s great that you got your kids to sleep! I think that’s so important. I really do feel for people who never have any time alone because the kids just won’t go to bed. And if the Ferber method doesn’t work for everyone, that really is okay! Like I said, for us it was 20 minutes for two nights for both kids and all was fine. (And we didn’t just let them cry, either). The main thing is that you find something that works and you do it consistently–which is what Supernanny shows every week on her show, too (I don’t agree with everything she does, but I do agree with that!).

  4. We co-clept with our children. We are VERY much attachment parenting parents. (Or have been with our youngest 3) They sleep with us until about 12mths, then we gently transition them by putting them in a crib in our room, and eventually their own room. I agree with previous posts…. we did try the cry it out with the oldest of our 4, and it was a DISASTER! He cried until he threw up…. he also had CONSTANT ear infections the first year of his life, and it was simply painful for him to lay down! (I was a young mother with him… too young, and stupid!) Anyway…. I say all that to say, our marriage was screwed up from the beginning….. I don’t think that not co-sleeping would have made a difference one way or the other…. we have not had a child in the bed with us for almost 4 years, and if we had sex once every 6mths… then we were doing good. We are now working on things…. so maybe that will improve.

    • Leanne, glad your marriage is looking better! If you’re both committed to going in the same direction, it’s amazing what God can do.

    • I don’t think you’ll sway him, Karen, when he’s seen the stuff he has! Pediatricians see all the disasters, and it makes them super-careful.

      For me, speaking as someone who isn’t a physician, the issue isn’t safety as much (though don’t tell my husband I said that :) ) but the quality of the marriage. Parents who co-sleep, in general, have sex less often than those who do not. If you can honestly say that this is equally your choice and your husband’s, and that he’s happy about it, then by all means, go for it. But what I’ve usually seen in talking to couples (and what Keith sees constantly in his office) is that the dad wants the kids out of the bed, and the mom doesn’t. I just think that moms need to be far more in tune with what the dads are thinking, and far more concerned about the marriage. If he’s fine, then more power to you! But most decisions to co-sleep are made by women, and the men go along with it. And that, to me, is a big potential problem if it’s not really talked about.

      • I definitely agree with you there!

        We kind of progressed – I actually co-slept with my babies at the hospital, and while the girls were tiny we had a bassinet by the bed and I’d bring them in to nurse, then we’d both fall asleep. Most of the time DH didn’t even know they’d been awake because I was able to respond so quickly – he loved that!! LOL

        At about six months they got their own rooms, and I’d either go to them or DH would bring them to me to nurse. Sometimes they’d stay for the night, other times not, depending on how tired I was. As they got a little bigger we did a lot of sleepy nursing that we were all barely awake for. One weaned at 19 months, the other at 23, and they definitely used snuggling/nursing as a “sleep crutch”, but it worked and we all got more sleep. :o) Now they are four and seven, and about 3x/week the four year old comes into our bed around 4 am to sleep, but overall they are great sleepers who go to bed by 8:00 and sleep 10-11 hours straight.

        We didn’t and don’t co-sleep full-time, though. We would need more than a queen-sized bed for that to be comfortable!! LOL

      • hippie4ever says:

        Hi Sheila,

        I just had to respond to your first paragraph, that your husband couldn’t be swayed because he’s seen all the disasters. I know that to be true because my husband’s a physician too (not a pediatrician) and in his field he’s wary of everything too – because of what he’s seen. But that’s the caveat, he’s seen the disasters NOT all of the successes. I also think there are a lot more husbands who support encourage co-sleeping than you would suppose. I’ll just have to agree to disagree with you on this one.

      • I can’t find a way to post a new comment so I’ll just reply, here. Hope this works.

        These posts are AMAZING and I do believe I’m going to have to hunt do the book! Thank you for putting this out there. We so desparately need help in this area! :-)

        Anyway, as a professional who works with mothers and brand new babies, I know the importance of not being too “black or white” on things that can be perceived as “gray” for fear of mothers either feeling judged, inferior, or turning a deaf ear to what I have to say.

        All of that said, I’m sad and dissapointed that perhaps the most important article on here is so lacking in ideas besides basically having the kids “suck it up” by leaving them to cry alone. Babies are babies for such a short time. It is truly a season where they are so very needy. What about the dangers of crying it out? A study was conducted not long ago showing near toxic levels of cortisol spiking in babies while crying. These levels did not show a reduction by the AM. Also, I consisantly hear mothers saying that their children still cry at night, they have just learned to tune it out. Dr Ferber has since revised his sleep training methods, admitting CIO isn’t for every baby.

        Further, Dr. James McKenna is a leading sleep researcher here in the US. He has much, MUCH to say about the regulating benefits of at least sleeping in the same room as baby. Babies in the same room as mom have more regular breathing patterns (I believe this is now a mainstream recomendation), cycle into lighter (SIDS preventing) sleep more often and more (so much more). The COOLEST thing is that when mom and babies sleep in close proximity, the mom/baby dyad go through sleep cycles TOGETHER. This means baby will arouse to nurse when mom is in light sleep. Incredible! He also conducted studies that showed the 100% of infant cosleeping deaths were in formula fed babies (google for more info). And SIDS would happen whether or not the baby was in bed with mom and dad or not. “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” is not the same as suffocating.

        It is only in the last 100 years, and only in America where we see babies sleeping solo. This is a new thing. But I do understand that some families aren’t able or simply choose to not cosleep. There are other options. The are other methods, books, ideas to help encourage babies to sleep through the night, GENTLY. The No Cry Sleep Solution is one I regularly refer my new mothers to.

        We have two children. One of which we cosleep with, one of which we didn’t. We both get sooooooo much more sleep with our cosleeping child. It leaves daddy and mommy with much more energy and sanity. We have a 3 sided crib attached to our bed, “Side car” style. It allows us the best of both worlds.

        There has GOT to be more options to fit a wider variety of readers.

  5. I would love to find a Christian woman’s blog that talks about sex in marriage that doesn’t recommend not co-sleeping and/or not bed-sharing as a requirement for a good sex life!  (Do you know of any?!)

    Sorry, but I automatically get turned off to any blogger that has a one-size-fits-all approach to a good sex life that includes banning infants/toddlers from the bed/room.  

    Please, please be careful on what info you share in regards to breastfeeding mothers who co-sleep/bed-share. Breastfeeding infants who bed-share do not have higher incidence of SIDS.  It can actually help prevent SIDS!   There are safe ways to bedshare.



    I feel like it’s really easy to come to the conclusion that children in the bedroom *must* be the reason for a less-than-ideal sex life but in my opinion, that’s just an easy scape-goat.  There are plenty of bed-sharing/co-sleeping, attachment parenting-style couples that have fantastic sex lives!

    If you are having trouble in the bedroom, I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why and not just bc you bed-share.

    And recommending the Ferber method and any kind of baby wise sleep training is absolutely not what’s in the best interest of babies!

    Grr.  I’m all worked-up now.  I hate that you are encouraging parents to do the unnatural and unsafe thing when it comes to sleeping arrangements.  

    Having a great sex life and strong marriage is absolutely very important.  But it certainly should not be at the expense of your children and their needs as well.

    • Megan, I’m sorry that you feel that way, but I’ll just respond again with the answer that I gave earlier: is this truly both your decision and your husband’s together? And can you truly say that your sex life is as good with the children in bed as it is without the children in bed?

      I’m not saying you can’t do it; what I am saying is that a husband’s opinion should matter. And if your sex life is suffering because the kids are in the bed, that’s a problem. Do you see the point?

      Can people have a good sex life while they’re co-sleeping? Perhaps. But it’s rare, and it requires a lot of work. And given that it does require work, sex is far less likely to happen than when it does not require as much work. Things that are harder will happen less often than things that are easier.

      Yes, we are moms, and we have to take care of our kids. But we are also wives. And the kids will always do best when the marriage is strong.

      So if you can honestly say that your husband is as much on board with this as you are, and that your sex life is as good with the kids there as it is without, then that’s great. But I do think it’s a discussion that many couples need to have, because many women assume that their husbands are fine with it because the women themselves are very passionate about it, and the husbands feel as if they don’t have a choice. So please, whether you love co-sleeping or not; whether you’re committed to it or not; whether you’re sure that what you are doing is great or not; do the challenge today. Just honestly talk to your spouse about it, and ask if they think your sleeping arrangements (or the chaos leading up to bedtime) is getting in the way of your love life. And if it is, then that should matter to wives.

      Do you understand? Your husband matters. That’s what I’m saying. Don’t put the kids before the husband. It doesn’t work out well in the long run.

    • One other thing, Megan. I think if you were to read all 25 days of this 29 Days to Great Sex, you’d see that I’m not saying that the reason that people have a bad sex life is because kids are in the bed. I’ve been talking about so many different things! But each little thing can play a part, and being chronically exhausted, or having a husband feeling uncomfortable or left out, can definitely play a role. I’m not saying it always will; but if we do put the kids ahead of our husbands, it is a problem that will grow over time, so we have to be very careful.

      Also, in the post, I did distinguish between breastfeeding an infant in the early months and letting toddlers sleep with you later. When you’re breastfeeding, you’re going to be exhausted anyway! The problem, to me, comes when this is a perpetual arrangement.

      • You don’t seem to have a very positive image of breastfeeding?!  You say if you’re breastfeeding you’ll be exhausted either way.  Truth of the matter is, you’ll be exhausted with a baby no matter what probably!  Breastfeeding/bedsharing allows a lot of moms to get better sleep (not all).  Research shows formula feeding moms are just as exhausted if not MORE exhausted than BF’ing moms.  So why call out “breastfeeding moms” as being exhausted?  Some women will read that and be discouraged and not even want to try if they think it’s so much harder and more exhausting.  

        I totally agree that older children don’t have a place in the marriage bed.  My 3rd child got transitioned to a crib in her own room at 14 months when she night-weaned.  My 2nd was a great sleeper and was in a crib by 4 months or so.  All babies are different and parents obviously need to assess each child’s needs.  The same thing doesn’t work for everyone.

        You make the assumption that night time for families that co-sleep is chaotic.  Ha!  For us, nothing could be further than the truth!  Co-sleeping is what makes bedtime for them easy-peasy.  My 2.5 year old falls asleep each night in our bed (takes a matter of minutes) and gets moved to her crib where she sleeps til 9am.  On the rare occasion she wakes up in the middle of the night (due to sickness or something) she comes to bed with us to make it easier for all of us. My 9 month old falls asleep best nursing to sleep in bed.

        My 9 month old is a horrible (correction…”normal for most 9 month old nurslings”) sleeper.  I have tried switching her to a separate sleeping space and we both get bad sleep.

        As seasoned parents of 4, my husband and I know that this stage will not last forever.  When she is a little older, we will make the switch.

        But in the mean time, my husband fully understands that if he doesn’t want a sleep-deprived wife, the best arrangement for *this* baby is to bed-share.

        My husband is not ok with children in the bed.  He *is* ok with nursing babies.  

        The world health organization recommends nursing until at least 2. That is the goal for this (my last) baby.  I don’t plan on bed-sharing necessarily for 2 years but I’m positive that bed-sharing will absolutely help me reach the 2 year recommendation.  

        My husband and I have been together for 11 years and I can say with certainty that the hard times in our sex life have happened when there were NO children in the bed!  

        On the whole, I agree with you. Children have no place in the bed. In my opinion, and what has worked for our family, between 12-18 months is the right time to move them to their own room. I get the vibe that you think they should be out after the first couple months, but that just doesn’t work for our family.

        • Megan, I did breastfeed both my children–one weaned herself at 11 months, and one I weaned when she was a year and a half. And night feedings ARE exhausting! I’m glad you didn’t experience that, but most mothers do, whether they breastfeed or not. Just being woken up throughout the night is tiring.

          I didn’t mean to imply that it was the co-sleeping that was chaotic; I’m sorry if I didn’t say it properly. What I wrote was:

          Just honestly talk to your spouse about it, and ask if they think your sleeping arrangements (or the chaos leading up to bedtime) is getting in the way of your love life.

          I meant it as an “or” thing: if the sleeping arrangements (meaning having the kids sleeping in the bed) OR the chaos leading up to bedtime is getting in the way of your love life. Some parents just can’t get their kids to sleep, and getting the kids to bed takes hours. That’s the chaos. So I’m just saying that if either chaos or sleeping arrangements is getting in the way of your love life, then talk to your husband and work out a strategy together!

        • One thing I do want to make clear: you can nurse your babies without having them in bed with you. That’s what I did, and that’s what several other commenters have said as well. That’s what the majority of breastfeeding mothers do. So I just don’t want people to think that breastfeeding means that you HAVE to have them in bed! Some people find that they sleep better with the child in bed while they’re nursing because the child can latch on and you can stay asleep. However, many women can’t sleep like this anyway (I certainly couldn’t). And I still want to point out what the various pediatric societies say (especially concerning having an adult male in the bed) just because it’s important to put the disclaimer here! :)

    • I would disagree with co-sleeping meaning less sex. As a mom of 3 under 3 and currently cosleeping infant number 3, if I *weren’t* co-sleeping (and thus not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time) we would have NO sex… Co-sleeping allows me to get a decent amount of sleep.. And we get a decent amount of intimacy.. At least once a week, which is a miracle considering he works nights, on top of our 4 kids (3 under 3, did I mention that??) My husband knows and encourages me to co-sleep, simply because it’s in his own best interest – me not being a grouchy wife and momma, who tells him hand-soff! He has told me that cuddling the both of us (baby and me) while he and I chat is probably the most connecting times we have, and it wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t co-sleeping!

      Of course, maybe I should rethink this co-sleeping thing — we might not have had 3 in 3 yrs the, LOL. (Not complaining.. I adore my kids!).. And I’m sure we will have more, sponteneuity being what it is…
      You take the opportunity whenever it comes up, with young kids!

    • Megan, if this was Facebook I’d “like” your comment!

  6. My husband and I knew *I* wouldn’t be able to relax enough to make love if our kids were in the bed. When they were very young they slept in their own crib in our room, but once they started sleeping through the night they moved out. Much as I loved their little baby coos, it was awfully distracting for me to relax and focus on my husband when I could hear them grunting in their sleep and wonder if they are going to wake up to feed soon. I also don’t sleep well with them in bed next to me, so co-sleeping just wasn’t a reasonable option for us. I need my sleep!
    (As for sleep training, we read Babywise and processed it to work for us and our kids’ personalities. It isn’t all evil, but it does need to be read, interpreted and applied for each family’s situation. All my kids- 5,4, &2 -go to bed between 7:30-8pm and hubby and I have that time for us afterward. )

    • I’m the same way! I couldn’t sleep with a baby in bed with me, because I wouldn’t sleep soundly. And I really needed my sleep, too!

  7. I’m sure children sharing the marriage bed would make it difficult to have sex as much…but recommending Ferber sleep training and saying that co-sleeping increases SIDS risk? Oof. You lost me there.

    • Katie, co-sleeping is significantly implicated in higher risks of SIDS, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Pediatrics Society, and various European Pediatric Societies. A few doctors (such as Dr. Sears) disagree, but when you take all the studies together, they do show an increased risk of SIDS, especially if there is an adult male, and not just an adult female, in the bed.

      • Co-sleeping is only an increase in risk for SIDS if baby is formula fed. In fact, the ONLY way that co-sleeping is safe is if the baby is breastfeeding.

  8. Rockin the boat today huh, Sheila? Our son never slept in our bed, when he was nursing I went in his room in the rocker. Those were our bonding moments… I couldn’t sleep if I was worried about rolling over on my baby or my husband doing it, he’s a very heavy sleeper. My son is a super sleeper now and I am SO glad we never did the family bed thing, I have friends who canNOT get their kids out of their room and they are pre teens… you’d think they’d want their own space…parents and kids…

    Keep up the good posts…Happy Weekend!

  9. Husband & Father says:

    Am I missing something here?

    A couple of women have disagreed with your post saying you shouldn’t be recommending against co-sleeping (and quoting Dr Sears as their source for how safe it is). Well then why do both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society recommend against co-sleeping?


    But to me, this seems to be entirely beside the point you are trying to make which is that having a four month old baby in the bed with you is quite likely to cause your sex life to take a total nose dive.

    Perhaps they aren’t arguing against that point, though, because they have no argument to make? That “plenty of people who co-sleep have fantastic sex lives” is as ridiculous an argument as saying that cigarettes are safe because “plenty of people who smoke don’t get lung cancer”. I don’t know any guy who is going to feel comfortable making love to his wife with a baby in the bed. I wouldn’t even be abl;e to SLEEP I’d be so worried! In any case, whether you agree with the experts or not about how unsafe co-sleeping is, there is certainly no way co-sleeping makes your sex life with your husband BETTER!

    Thanks for writing this post.

    • Thanks for that! And thanks for posting the links to the statements by the medical societies so I didn’t have to look them up.

      Again, I’m not a doctor, so I don’t really want to debate the medical point of it. To me is exactly what you said in your main paragraph: the sex life suffers. And women just need to be aware of that and TALK TO THEIR HUSBANDS to make sure that this is something the husbands totally agree with, and not just something the women are passionate about and pressuring the husbands to agree to. That’s all!

    • hippie4ever says:

      @Husband & Father

      OK. I understand Sheila, bringing up the point and asking spouses to speak with each other and be honest (done that!). But really, there are more interesting places to enjoy each other and generally more than one bed in the house, and depending on the age of the infant and the size of the bed… So how about not making comments in one size fits all – I know you don’t know my husband or me.

      Very inflammatory statements!

  10. I’m a pragmatic gal. When my kids were infants and nursing every few hours, they slept in a bassinet next to the bed or in bed with us. When their sleep stretched out closer to a full night, we moved them into their crib. When they were toddlers or preschoolers, they at times came in and wanted to get in bed with us. I did not ignore their desire for mommy & me time, but followed them to their room, laid down in their bed, and helped soothe them to sleep. As soon as they dozed off, I returned to my own bed where a loving husband and a good night’s sleep awaited me.

    I doubt that couples with children sleeping in their beds for extended periods of time are getting adequate sleep or sex. Is it possible? Yeah, sure. Is it likely for most? No, I don’t think so. Also, you start to teach your children at a young age that there is a special affectionate relationship between mom and dad, that husbands and wives share a marriage bed. I think the kids should leave the parents’ bedroom before they have a strong memory of being there. And if your sex life is struggling, you should definitely look at all potential casual factors — including co-sleeping.

    P.S. We had one child with huge sleep issues. Ferber and Babywise did not help, nor a myriad of other suggestions from well-meaning parents. My personal favorite expert on this subject is Marc Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child). That’s not to knock what worked for others, but to add another possible resource for those who don’t want to use the methods mentioned.

    Thanks, Sheila! You have covered so many topics in this series.
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    • Thanks for those other resources, J! Really, if sleep is chaotic in your house, get your hands on everything you can until you find something that works and fits with you! You need the sleep, your kids need the peace (and it is much more peaceful for them when they learn how to settle themselves), and you need your alone time!

  11. The family bed. Or co-sleeping, or bed sharing. Sigh

    On our message forums I’ve discussed this with easily 100 men or women doing it. Of those, I can identify two women who seem to have some sense of balance between the needs of their relationship with their children and the needs of their relationship with their husband.

    I’ve only talked to two husbands who were really okay with it. It is probably not a coincidence that they were also the only two husbands who said they were getting enough sex. Most men in family bed arrangements tell me they have very, very little sex, and much of what they have is rushed and more about shutting him up than real love making. Beyond the sex, men complain about the lack of private intimate time to cuddle, talk and just be together. (Yes, men want those things.) More than a few of these husbands have told me they think that the bed-sharing is a tool used by their wife to limit sexual contact!

    Good studies over the last decade have shown that other than infant death (which happens) co-sleeping shows neither benefit nor harm in the long run. What I can’t find is a good study of how co-sleeping affects marriages. My evidence is anecdotal, but substantial, and from what I see long term co-sleeping marriages are not nearly as healthy as those that do not co-sleep past six months. It may be that the problems in that marriage and the desire to co-sleep arise from the same base issues, rather than co-sleeping causing marraige problems, but even then the co-sleeping gets in the way of resolving the problems.

    The bottom line for me is along the lines of something Sheila said – caring for your marriage is even more important when you have children because they depend on that relationship. Studies have found that parent’s divorce has life long ramifications for children, up to and including short lives! Anything that puts kids at a risk of having their parents divorce is VERY bad for them. If family bedding increases the chances of divorce even a small amount, then it’s a bad plan.
    Paul Byerly recently posted…Being the headMy Profile

    • Thank you, Paul, for another man’s perspective, especially one who has spoken to as many guys as you have. Great thoughts!

  12. I have to respectfully disagree. We have had 4 pregnancies in 4 years and have 3 children 5 and under. We have co-slept with all of our babies while they nursed (1 yr at least per child) and it has NEVER put a damper on our love life. We are creative and passionate and in love. We make it a priority to remain connected. We have many other places in the house to make love. Why limit it to just our bed (pretty boring:)?

    I would encourage all parents to safely co-sleep (which, definition can mean simply sharing the same room, but not the same bed) and keep your marriage alive. It is not mutually exclusive in the least.

    Check out any books by Dr. William Sears such as “The Baby Book”, and “The Attachment Parenting Book” and many more, for more clinical information!


  13. I have done a lot of reading on co-sleeping and the family bed and I know a number of families that this arrangement has worked for. There are a number of studies showing how co-sleeping can not only be safe but be extremely beneficial for family relationships all around. Also, I have a hard time listening to suggestions based on studies that were sponsored by crib manufacturers. That’s much to big of a conflict of interests for me. Many cultures co-sleep and it wasn’t until recent generations that “western” children were made to sleep in a seperate bed and in a seperate room. It has also seemed that around the same time the value of marriage has declined and the incidence of sex outside of marriage has increased. During the many generations when co-sleeping was a normal part of life (and we’re talking well into a young child’s life) there was a much greater emphasis on the importance of and committment to marriage in general. (I don’t have all my referances in front of me at the moment or I could cite some interested research and third parties studies to back this up).

    That being said, I totally agree that having a baby in the bed can make sex more difficult for a couple but the same can be said for having a baby in general. So does it make sense to say that having a baby in general negatively affects a marriage? I think it is a little silly to say that just because a certain acts makes things more tricky that it shouldn’t be done. My children have meant that my husband and I have needed to make more of a concentrated effort to strengthen our marriage both in and outside the bedroom. In spite of that, having children has greatly enhanced our marriage. And I truly believe that the decision to co-sleep is the best decision we could have made for our family. We currently have an almost 4 year old and a 14 month old with us. It was a decision that my husband and I made together (a couple should study pros/cons and figure out what works for them and make a united decision) and we have reevaluated along the way to make sure it was/is still working for us.

    In regard to our sex life, we certainly don’t have sex as frequently as either of us would like. I think that many couples with young children could say the same thing though so I don’t believe this is neccesarily because we practice a family bed. I don’t believe that a lack of frequency in the bedroom is an instant sign that your marriage is weak. My husband and I are closer today than we were a year ago and closer a year ago than the year before etc. The strength of a marriage is built on so much more that frequency of sex. Are we thrilled about the limited frequency? No. Are we thrilled about the stresses and frustrations that our children bring to our lives? No. Are we completely committed to eachother, our marriage, and our children? Absolutely. We have learned to be content in this stage that we are at. We are willing to make small sacrifices for our children because we know that they will pay off in the long run. I think it would be selfish of us to send our children to the other room when they need us now. We are adults, we are willing to wait for our turn. We understand that our turn will come.

    As for the Ferber method, we will have to agree to disagree. And I’ll leave it at that.

    • Tessa, I really value you, and if you don’t agree with the Ferber method, that’s perfectly okay! :)

      And I know that your marriage is getting better, and that you’ve been taking great strides with your hubby, and playing with him more, and learning to get along with his family, and lots of stuff! So you’re doing great. And it sounds like you went about this the right way, too, talking to your hubby about it.

      I’d just say that at 4, your child really doesn’t NEED to be in bed with you. They may like it, and you may like it, but they don’t need it. My kids were really quite happy in their own rooms at a far younger age than that, and they are both such secure and happy teens.

      I’m just worried because you’re saying that frequency is less than it otherwise would be, and frequency isn’t everything. I completely agree. but if your child is there, and he’s 4, and you’re going to have the other one in bed until he’s 4, then you’re looking at almost 7 years of low frequency.

      If your husband’s really okay with that, fine. But just do the challenge with him today, okay? Really talk about it and ask him if he thinks this is best for your marriage and your family. And if he agrees it is, that’s great. But just make sure he’s on board with it, because 7 years is a really long time. That’s all I’m saying.

      • You are right in saying that our (almost) 4 year old does not “need” to be in our bed anymore. But he loves it and we love it (and he is the best snuggler in the world!). We actually just talked about our sleep situation a few days ago and came to the point that none of us are really ready for our older son to move into his own room so we made arrangements so he doesn’t have to and we are not cramped in our bed anymore. Plus the littlest was needing his own space. So anyway, after some shuffling around we have a way that we can keep up with our family bed for a while longer. What we are guessing will happen is when the baby is ready to go into another room then him and his older brother will move together. Our theory is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

        And what I said about frequency, I think it is less than it would be whether our baby was in bed with us or not. We have a high need baby and that means his needs often trump either of ours. Before he was born and it was just our older son then our sex life was different. And as our baby ages we will head into a difference phase again. That is just the ebbs and flows of parenthood. But then baby #3 will come at some point (Lord willing of course) and #4 😀

        I think that in our society we often forget how abnormal sleeping in seperate rooms really is. To most of Western society is seems strange to sleep with your children but other cultures wonder why we put our babies to sleep in little wooden cages away from their mothers. So I think the controversy about this post comes over the fact that you make it sound like a blanket statment “this is the way you should do it because this worked for us.” In reality, it’s so much more complex than that. (For example, my high need infant would have screamed for HOURS if I tried to let him cry it out because he is just that persistant whereas my easy going first born probably would have fallen asleep within 20 min of crying, had I let them cry it out.) A lot of moms find mothering and breastfeeding easier if they sleep share but not all do.

        Many couple sleep share and have great sex lives. Many couple don’t sleep share and have terrible sex lives. So I really think it is irrelevant as to whether a couple sleep shares or not. I think that, as you said already, if it isn’t working then change something. But at the same time I think that it would be more fair to also add that if it is working then continue to do it. So I will definately read this to my husband when he is done working and I’ll come back and fill you in on what he says.

        • Tessa, as long as you have your husband read this post, and then discuss it together, I am totally fine with everything else!

  14. My cousin’s cousin ( but true I swear!) lost a baby to co-sleeping. The mother fell asleep and rolled onto the baby. Absolutely heart wrenching. To be honest, my first son slept with us until he was one. My husband hated it. Frankly I didn’t care because my baby’s needs were first and foremost. Guess how well my marriage did that year? So he slept in between us. Sex?? When and where?? I think the points you make are logical and sound. Of course women who choose to co-sleep have less sex. You should put your spouse ahead of your children. That statement alone is enough to send most women into a fight, I mentioned this once in the lunchroom at work and you would have thought I stated that I was thinking of sacrificing my first born. Your husband AHEAD of your child?? My next child slept a little better, but finally, by child three I had to try the cry it out. It was amazing! He and his sister who came next were amazing sleepers. I slept better. They slept better. My husband was so much happier. My primary responsiblitiy is my relationship with God. Then I am to be a loving and responsible wife. THEN a mother. Kids so better when they know mom and dad love each other most, first and foremost. Sorry I went off there. Good job Sheila. I appreciate your honesty and approach.
    Theresa recently posted…True LoveMy Profile

    • Thanks, Theresa! I’m glad you understand my main point, too: it’s about what your husband and you agree on, and putting your relationship first. Your husband trumps your children, as I’ve said before. And the kids are actually more comfortable and secure when they know that!

      I’m sorry for your cousin’s cousin. I’ve lost a baby, too (though to entirely different circumstances) and I know how hard that can be.

  15. A couple other thoughts:

    Spouse before children? Those who don’t do this have real problems when the kids all leave home. Statistically the most divorces after the first few years or marraige are in the one year after the last child leaves the house. If a couple can co-sleep and make each other a priority over the kids, then I have no argument. I have seen that, but it’s the rare exception.

    I’ve heard plenty of women assure others that their husband is all about co-sleeping. If I talk to the husband I usually find something far less enthusiastic than that. One fellow told me his wife let him know the children would be in the bed for as long as she felt was right, and if he didn’t want to sleep with the kids he could move to the couch. Several others have basically shared their opposition to the idea got them mindless anger and horrible accusations about being selfish monsters. I fear more than a few men “agree” to the kids in bed just to stop the endless fighting over the issue

    I can’t say that all men in co-sleeping households want it to stop, but I am sure that the majority feel they have no real choice. Even if co-sleeping has proven benefits, that would still be a major problem in my mind.

    As to the lady who asked about “a Christian woman’s blog that talks about sex in marriage that doesn’t recommend not co-sleeping and/or not bed-sharing as a requirement for a good sex life” I don’t know of one – and I know of a lot of blogs that deal with sex and marriage. I think the lack of such a blog is instructive. A very few couples manage to have a good sex life despite bed-sharing, but the vast majority do not. That is the cold hard facts.
    Paul Byerly recently posted…Sexual submissionMy Profile

  16. Shelia,
    I think maybe a lot of people missed your point today. I think they saw the “co-sleeping” issue & went after you on that. Instead, the focus should have been on “When you’re a parent, your marriage is now even more important because others are depending on you. Do not allow children to come between you and your husband!”

    As a young married woman, this point was driven home to me as I watched marriages of several friends implode. In one, the wife basically shut the husband out after the baby was born. No sex, no kissing, no nothing. Plus he had to check with her on everything concerning the baby. His opinion in child rearing didn’t even matter. At that point, I told my hubby if I was ever like that as a mom I wanted him to sit me down & remind me of this friend & their failed marriage!

    My Hubby did a wonderful thing for me when our oldest was 11 months old. He arranged for my mom to keep her overnight & we got a hotel room close by. He told me we could go to my parent’s house as often as we needed to over that time period. We went twice in the first 6 hours & then I stayed w/my Hubby for next 8 hrs. It was wonderful to reconnect with him & yet not feel like I was leaving my baby.

    I highly recommend monthly date nights with your Hubby without the kids! I also recommend at least twice a year going away overnight without the kids. You need that time to focus on your marriage. If you don’t have family who can watch your kids, consider doing a swap with another family. You watch their kids one night & they watch yours in a few weeks overnight. That way you are helping to strengthen each others marriages!

    Also, when my Hubby is home, he has taken over the bedtime routine. I use this time to shower/relax and most importantly transition out of “mommy” mode & into “wife” mode. It was one of the greatest gifts my Hubby has given me & us! It would take me 1/2 hour or longer to transition out of mommy mode at night after the bedtime routine. It only takes him a few minutes to get out of Dad mode. It works out wonderfully!

    By the way, my oldest is almost 12. We also have 8 & 6 year olds. My Hubby & I just celebrated our 21st anniversary in December!
    Lea recently posted…FreedomMy Profile

    • Lea, beautiful comment! And yes, I think I may not have been clear enough on what my main point was. Sigh.

      I absolutely LOVE that your husband has taken over the bedtime routine. I think I recommended that in a few previous posts, especially the one about getting your head in the game. Sometimes we need that “transition” time, or just time on our own, so that we can be actually present once the kids are in bed. That’s great that you could talk to your hubby about it and come to an arrangement that worked so well.

      And to any guys reading this blog: listen to what this woman said!!! When you help with the kids, too, everybody wins!

  17. I breastfed my 7 yr old for 6 months. We never co-slept those first weeks until I had to go back to work. Id come home in the morning, take him to bed with me and sleep. One day my husband came home for lunch & noticed aid rolled over onto him and was partially smothering him!! HUGE wake up call there! My cousin lost her newborn girl two yrs ago as shed fallen asleep while nursing the baby & baby was smothered to death! So im not a fan of co sleeping and I knew my husband didnt want our son in the bed with us. He slept in his crib until 30 months old.

  18. Sarah DeVries says:

    I had better not get into the whole co-sleeping / SIDS / Ferber issues, as I am skeptical of western medical associations and other $$ based interest groups as a whole… But I will say that my husband enjoyed (and still enjoys) having the babies / kids in bed with us while I do not. He found my nursing in bed to be quite arousing, and it sure didn’t hinder either of our sex drives or frequency. I, however, resented the baby or kids because I felt like I had no personal space. So co-sleeping is now only for special occasions or absolute necessity. Sheila, YES to your point that parenting styles should be mutually decided through thorough discussion with husband and wife, and both partners should always put their marriage as top priority after their relationship with God. :)

    • Sarah, your comment made me laugh (about the arousing part)! At least he had fun with it! :)

      Yes, it really is about the marriage, and about the wife not assuming that she knows what is best. Everything should be talked about out in the open!

  19. First of all, this series has been great. Thanks, Sheila, for what you do.

    Second, I’m not arrogant enough to think that I know the best way or my way is the only way, I just know what has worked in my house.

    We have two boys, a three-year-old and a 9 month old. Neither of them have slept in our bed longer than an hour or so after breastfeeding. My wife and I both have someone in our respective families that had kids who went into their TEENS and had to have a parent in the room to fall asleep because of cosleeping. Obvious these are extreme cases, and not normal, but it was enough to make us draw that line before having kids.

    I’m not sure if this is the method mentioned above, but both of our boys learned to sleep on their own by letting them cry for 10 min at a time and then we went to soothe them a little. Around 7 or 8 months I think. Now they both go to bed easily whenever we declare bedtime, whenever they need it in a two-hour window.

    Neither of them have suffered any trauma, they’re both extremely happy and healthy boys and our marriage bed is a just that.

    We have talked, and still need to decide, on what happens when they get older and get scared in the middle of the night. If they do end up in our room it will be on the floor by the bed. We intend to keep that boundary.

    • Thanks for a guy’s perspective, Ross, and for your kind words! We let our babies cry, too, and soothed them at the same time, and the crying didn’t last very long. They both slept so much better once they learned to soothe themselves, and didn’t need to nurse first or be rocked or anything.

  20. I have never co-slept, though (of course) when my girls were babies, I’d sometimes get up with them in the night and end up sleeping the rest of the night on a couch (just out of exhaustion after feeding them). And occasionally now one of them will need me to be with them for part or all of a night – in their beds, though, not mine. However, though I haven’t yet read all these comments, I can imagine you’re going to take grief from co-sleeping fans…and one point would be, “What about all the cultures historically and even now where co-sleeping is the norm?” Those families continue to generally have large families so sex happens somehow! I personally would not want to “be creative” either, but I can definitely see where some people are going to say you have a cultural bias against it by pretty much insisting it’s not the best policy. And I think comments to that effect wouldn’t be totally out of bounds.
    Tina H. recently posted…Listen and DoMy Profile

    • To tell you the truth, I don’t find cultural arguments very persuasive. Yes, other cultures sleep with their children, but they also live in one room huts (as did we historically). Even in the Middle Ages in Europe strangers slept in the same bed if you were at an inn. Few of us would want to do that! So you really can’t compare.

      The other difference is that in other cultures (especially eastern ones) the primary bond is mother-child (and especially mother-son) not husband-wife. In polygamous cultures, for instance, the children sleep with the mother because that is the only true bond. In most sub-Saharan African cultures, the woman moves in with the in-laws and raises her children there while the husband goes to the city to find work. When he is home, he moves into the bed where the wife and children already are. The real test, to me, then, is taking cultures where married love is considered of primary importance, and where the nuclear family trumps the extended family (which is also a Western phenomenon, based on Judeo-Christian principles), and then looking at what they do. After all, God called us to be separate. He was constantly telling Israel NOT to be like other cultures. So the test should be: what does God want us to put first, and how should we do that, not “what do most other cultures do?”

      Besides, other cultures do HORRIBLE things, like mutilating children or marrying off little girls! The question isn’t “what do other cultures do?”, but really, “what is best for marriage and family?” And taking cues from cultures which have unhealthy ideas about gender roles or marriage is not really a good idea. Every culture throughout history has also practiced slavery; we could say that therefore slavery is natural and we should do it. But we don’t because we know it’s not right. We make decisions not based on what other cultures do, but on what we think we should do individually.

      So again, I’d say, talk to your husband and discuss what is best for your marriage, and decide together. As long as you are fully communicating about it, and letting him have his say, then I’m okay with it. But claiming that you should do it because other cultures do it I don’t believe is being fair to your husband. We are called to listen to our husbands and make decisions with him, not to decide based on what other people do. So that’s why I don’t like the cultural argument!

      • By the way, that last paragraph wasn’t meant for Tina! Sorry, I was getting carried away and just typing. I just meant it as a general thing.

      • Sheila, that is the best answer I have ever heard to the whole co-sleeping cultural issue! I’m ashamed to admit that although I was taught from a very young age to see the Bible as the answer to all questions, I never once considered this particular question from that perspective. I never accepted the whole cultural reason for co-sleeping, but neither did I have a solid reason why. Thanks so much for your Scriptural answer here.

        We co-slept in the sense that the cradle was in our room, and the babies slept in there until they were too big for it. The oldest moved into a crib in his own room around the age of 4 months, and the other was about 6 months. Both were more or less night-weaned by the time they went into their own room. My husband was OK with the cradle being in our room because he recognized the ease of night-time feedings, but I can tell you he was counting down the days until they were in their own room! I personally would have loved to kept them closer a little while longer, but I understood his need for “us” time. It did make me a nervous wreck the first few times they slept in their own room, but I got used to it pretty quickly!
        Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy recently posted…Super Simple Yogurt {with a Machine}My Profile

        • Anne, my husband (a pediatrician), says that the safest thing is for a baby to be in a crib or bassinette or something in the parents’ room until about 6 months when they can be moved to their own room. So you don’t have to apologize for your kids being in the room when they’re little! It does make feedings easier, and it reassures you because you can hear them!

          Oh, and thanks for your thoughts on the cultural issue! I’m glad it made sense to you.

  21. Concerned Dad says:

    Wow Sheila, looks like you’ve got yourself a world class “cat fight” here! Who knew that if you write a blog post about getting your kids out of YOUR BED so that you can enjoy some ALONE TIME with your spouse – in the room that is supposed to be YOURS AS A COUPLE, not YOURS AS A FAMILY – would cause such a general panic to start quoting random, new age doctors and throwing “I can’t believe you said that” and “it just feels right to us” remarks your direction. It’s funny to me how hard people try to defend something they are doing that they know is’t right. If they can just get enough people to agree with them, they all make each other feel better by encouraging each other to keep doing what they know is wrong in the first place. You might look out your window to see if there is anybody picketing outside your house yet. Maybe check your mailbox for envelopes of white powder.

    So here’s the deal. I have been a husband for 7 years, and a father for 4. My wife and I have 3 kids age 6 months to 4 years. They have never so much as spent 1 night in our bed. We always agreed from the first day we got married, that OUR BED is OUR BED, and that’s how it would stay. Have we ever let the kids hop in our bed and cuddle with us on a Saturday morning? Sure! Have we spent the night on the couch with them when they’re sick? You bet. Have we let them come into our bedroom in the middle of the night after having a bad dream and stay in bed with us? Not a chance. Have they ever asked to sleep with us? No! It’s not their bed. Are we a little stricter on this than some? Yes we are. But let me tell you, it’s hard enough to find time to have a sex life being the parents of 3 young children. The last thing we need is them following us into our bedroom. We love our kids, and they are a blessing from God, but we are much better parents, and much better examples to them of a loving marriage, if we make time for sex a priority. We were husband and wife, before we were parents, and while we now have to parent, train, and nurture these crazy little humans until they reach adulthood, we have to keep our spouse the priority OVER our kids! I don’t know about yours, but my wedding vows didn’t have any kind of a clause at the end that said “These rules apply the kids come, and then you can let it all go to pot”.

    I had a co-worker of mine (who doesn’t like the co-sleeping thing, but puts up with it because his wife wants it that way) try to make it sound better by half heartedly saying “but we get to cuddle with the kids I guess”. Excuse me?! Cuddle with the kids on the couch or anywhere else all you want, but in the marriage bed, you’d better be cuddling with your wife. There’s plenty of time to love on the kids, but there are only certain times of the day that you can be alone and together with your spouse in your bed. I’m pretty sure the Song of Solomon doesn’t mention anything about kids in their bed. Or maybe I’m just reading an odd translation.

    And to the girls on here saying that you can have a “great sex life” even when your kids are sleeping in your bed, and “doesn’t affect it” makes me wonder if they’ve even been married. Really? Are you really saying that having a kid(s) in the bed with you at all hours of the night doesn’t kill the mood at all? Nothing like trying to reach over the little body in the Buzz Lightyear PJs, to have any physical contact with your wife. Give me a break. That’s like me trying not to laugh when I tell somebody that “they can redo their entire yard just as easily with a hand shovel, as they can with a Bobcat”. Maybe if you keep saying it for long enough, you’ll start to believe it – who knows – but I sure don’t. And if you don’t have your husband too scared to death to even mention it, or hasn’t finally just “given up” on getting your bed back – I’d bet he doesn’t believe it either. Now is having kids in your bed a great way for you to avoid your husband touching and being sexual with you? Sure is! But you’re doing it at the cost of hurting your husband deeply because he now feels that the kids are priority over him. He can no longer come up behind you in bed and be close to you and touch you like he used to before kids came along. Seems like that would “effect” your sex life.

    So, that’s my view on the subject. Keep up the good posts Sheila, and you ladies can argue over the sleep methods. Just had to weigh in on the kids sleeping in bed topic. It was getting a little out of hand. ?

    • Thanks, Concerned Dad! It’s interesting that every male who has chimed in has agreed with you….

      I do think it’s possible, though, to have a good sex life is the kids are in bed. But I think it’s EXTREMELY RARE. And even if you do have a good sex life, I do not believe that you have AS GOOD a sex life as you would if the kids were not there. :)

    • I just want to reiterate something Concerned Dad said:

      [H]e now feels that the kids are priority over him. He can no longer come up behind you in bed and be close to you and touch you like he used to before kids came along. Seems like that would “effect” your sex life.

      That’s what we hear from guys at marriage conferences who ask us, “how can I convince my wife to get the kids out of the bed?” It’s that same thing: he can’t touch or snuggle anymore. It’s not JUST the sex; it’s the fact that the physical intimacy of all kinds is greatly diminished.

      So, same conclusion as I’ve been saying all day: have an honest discussion with your husband, and truly let him give his opinion without getting mad at him. And let his opinion count!

    • Wow, harsh! It sounds like you have a very negative experience with this and I understand that it didn’t work for you but there is no reason to say that all husbands feel that way. And yes , I’m one of the “girls” you assumed must not be married at all. I have been married for about 8 years and we are growing in our marriage every day. My husband is actually the one who insisted for a long time (and still does) that our son is not ready to move out of our bed yet. We discuss it often because I want him to know that his views on the matter are just as important as mine.

      I read this post to my husband and he said, “well I guess that we solved that problem didn’t we?” (in referance to some changes we recently made, with both our kids still sleeping “with” us). So no, I am not risking hurting my husband deeply and he does not feel like our sleeping arrangement puts the kids in priority over him.

      It’s okay to have a different opinion but it’s NOT okay to insult and assume things about everyone who holds an opinion different than yours.

      • Tessa, I’m glad you read it to your husband and that you’re positive you’re both on the same page! That’s wonderful.

      • Concerned Dad says:

        Sorry Tessa, didn’t mean to offend. If it works for you guys, great. I just wonder how honest he is being if he says that it doesn’t matter. Or I guess maybe he doesn’t have as strong of a need for the stuff I mentioned. That’s great!

        I’m glad you guys aren’t part of the 95% of couples who are affected by the kiddos in the bed. Maybe I should have mentioned that my response doesn’t apply to everyone. I was just trying to cut through all the “catty” and bring some realism to the conversation.

        Sorry for the misunderstanding…

    • hippie4ever says:

      @Concerned Dad

      “It’s funny to me how hard people try to defend something they are doing that they know is’t right. If they can just get enough people to agree with them, they all make each other feel better by encouraging each other to keep doing what they know is wrong in the first place. ”

      REALLY! I just don’t understand this attitude. From what I’ve read on this post, most people are expressing their views that Co-sleeping is beneficial for their families. The only people I have read this far that are trying to get someone to agree with them are those who are attacking co-sleeping.

      My husband (though it really isn’t anyone’s business) is very encouraging of co-sleeping. I ask him many times, he ALWAYS tells me it is the best thing for him (my son) right now. We are doing smashingly in the other area in question too. AGAIN, I understand why Shelia brought this up, but I suggest the co-sleeping bashers consider that other people may have and our entitled to other views than them.

  22. Sheila, thanks for the great posts you’ve been doing this month! I’d just like to add my 2-cents worth to this topic. My husband and I co-sleep (his idea, then we researched it and I am now sold on the idea!) and certainly still have lots of sex. :) But I think the main point of your article was to consult your husband and consider his needs/wants. Thank you for being willing to encourage women to make their husbands a priority. God bless.

  23. Just adding my 2 cents here Sheila!

    1. My husband and I established while I was pregnant that we would not be co-sleeping IN OUR BED. We did however agree that he would sleep in a crib in our room for probably at least the first 2 months. As it turned out (and you know this Sheila) our son was born very prematurely and spent almost the first 2 months of his life in hospital. But when he did come how he spent the next 4 months by our bed. Having him that close was very convenient I will say, but at no point did we make the move to have him right in the bed with us. I do not for a second feel that I am any less attached or bonded with our son than those who do co-sleep. Our son at one year is an absolute snuggle freak who absolutely adores and feels secure in the love of his parents. 😀
    Having our son in the room with us DID dampen our sex life considerably and would have made it nearly non-existent had he been in the bed with us.

    2. Concerning the Ferber method; I resent anyone who would imply that I am outdated or cruel for allowing our son to cry himself to sleep. I spent almost every waking our and then some by his crib in the hospital for almost 2 months (even driving through blizzards to be there to spend time with him even after the nurses called me to tell me I shouldn’t), to the point where the nurses and even some doctors MADE me leave to get some proper rest for HIS sake. It took almost 11 months of being up every 2-3 hours with him to finally realize that babies/children are manipulative. He didn’t NEED me, he WANTED me. But his being up that frequently was not good in any way for EITHER of us. I stopped feeding him to sleep after realizing he wasn’t even hungry, it was just what he was used to and expected. AND I let him cry himself to sleep. Within 2-3 nights (yes it was heartbreaking… but not nearly as heartbreaking as 11 months of being sleep-deprived, DEPRESSED and feeling like a useless mother who didn’t know what to do to help her son sleep when many of her other friend’s babies were ‘sleeping through the night at 6 weeks’) But in those 2-3 nights our son and I both learned a difference between NEED and WANT. Which is a lesson he is going to have to learn repeatedly throughout his life. I set time limits on how long I allowed him to cry and would go in to comfort him IN his bed at intervals and he sleeps soundly almost nightly and now has a healthy functioning, more rested mommy who doesn’t cry in despair throughout the night. And I defy anyone to find a more cheerful, snugly, child who is confident in his parents’ love and protection of him.
    Bottom line, children will learn a lot of hard lessons throughout their lives, lessons that they will actually REMEMBER the pain of, but hopefully will also remember the love and support of the parent who ALLOWED them to learn it. Letting an infant cry themselves to sleep so that they can learn how to sleep more soundly is something they will never remember but will ultimately benefit from, as did our son.
    Of course, there are exceptions to this like if a child is ill or suffering from infections etc., as noted by others. And in those cases of course I would never recommend it. What I am speaking of is a child who wants, but doesn’t NEED constant care to sleep.
    Anyway, all I’m asking is that people not bash or label others as cruel or ‘outdated’ for doing what was ultimately best for their child. I am absolutely certain that if I had not gone with the Ferber method we all would be suffering on many levels still. Do what works for you and don’t bash others who chose differently.

    • Babies are manipulative?? That’s as far as I had to read before I was SO saddened by this. I really doubt Jesus would say the same. Believe it or not, babies DO have emotional needs. If you believe your husbands sexual need is important, you should also believe your baby’s cry for the only thing they know (mama) is completely legitimate.

  24. Concerned Dad says:

    Sorry Tessa, didn’t mean to offend. If it works for you guys, great. I just wonder how honest he is being if he says that it doesn’t matter. Or I guess maybe he doesn’t have as strong of a need for the stuff I mentioned. That’s great!

    I’m glad you guys aren’t part of the 95% of couples who are affected by the kiddos in the bed. Maybe I should have mentioned that my response doesn’t apply to everyone. I was just trying to cut through all the “catty” and bring some realism to the conversation.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding…

  25. wife and i feel that the children do not belong in the marriage bed unless they are sick or the woman is nursing…..the marriage bed is just for the husband and wife ONLY
    James Witter recently posted…Mannatech Scam: The Answers You NeedMy Profile

  26. I can’t remember where I read this, but I think it is pretty fitting here – God first, marriage second, and children third. The marriage is the soil, the children are the flowers that grow in the soil, and God is the water. If the soil is strong and rich and well watered, the flowers will grow, bloom, and be a beautiful sight for all to see. But if the soil is dry, depleted, otherwise allowed to waste away, then it will not provide flowers all that they need to grow and blossom and they will wither away. I think for a lot of people, especially women, it is easy to slip and put the children first. Like someone else said, what happens when the kids move out?

  27. As soon as I read your post this morning, I knew it was going to bring out the nasties in some people. I agree with you 100%.
    Stacey recently posted…Baby TalentMy Profile

  28. I am a husband of almost 25 years… a dad of 6 living children (and 3 more in heaven). Our kids ages are 25, 23, 10, 7, 5, and 4. (Yes, we spread them out quite a bit!)

    Five of them slept in cribs near our bed for their first couple of months of life, then were moved to their OWN areas (if not their own rooms altogether.) We had one child (our 10 year old) who absolutely refused to sleep anywhere but in our bed as an infant. So, to keep our sanity semi-intact – and to actually be able to get some bits of sleep ourselves, we were forced to let this child sleep in our bed for many months. It was NOT by choice – on either of our parts. Finally we both had enough of that, and we spent several sleepless nights in a row getting that particular child weaned from sleeping in our bed, and in their own. It was a rough week or so, but eventually the baby figured out that this was a non-negotiable situation, and relented. I do not recall having very much intimacy with my wife during the months our baby was with us in our bed. The occasional shower connection or early morning quickie was about the extent of it. And as someone up above said, it wasn’t near as much about real intimacy as it was about satisfying the immediate physical urges. NOT my favorite time in our history!

    Today, our 4 youngest (two boys and two girls) sleep in bunk beds in the respective “boys room” and “girls room”. We have no trouble at all with their sleeping habits, and my wife and I can enjoy each others’ company at any time we choose. Lovin’ life nowadays!
    Jason recently posted…My Heart HurtsMy Profile

  29. I attachment parent. I have four kids and one on the way. We obviously have lots of time to make babies! We have a great sex life! We find all sorts of blocks of time to have sex. Who just has sex at night anyway? I mean really. It’s like bedtime is the only time to do that? Also, kids are easily moved to a different location for a time. Kids benefit greatly from co-sleeping and breastfeeding. Husbands do too, if they wrap their hearts around it. We wouldn’t have it any other way. I am glad I am a strong woman and will not let this post affect my life decisions. I look to God for that. He equipped me with my motherly instinct and i follow it. We have had each of our kids in our bed until around age 3 or 4, and at that age, they choose to go in the big bed themselves. I am absolutely against sleep training, ferber, babywise, all those things. I would encourage women to follow their natural intuition and give baby what they need when they need it. If you don’t, you will be dealing with this needy thing inside of them for the rest of their lives-which will manifest itself in so many different ways. I agree with all the posts that are against this subject. I have really liked your blog posts until now. I think you crossed a lot of women that have been reading. If you don’t attachment parent, then you cannot speak on this issue of kids in the bed affecting sex life, because you have no experience in it. I do. I can talk about it. I can say it is absolutely awesome and has zero affect. I’ve been married for 17 years and the fire is just fine! Everyone I know that co-sleeps has NO problem in the bedroom. Perhaps a survey would have helped you in this area. I think some people are all about themselves. What “I” need. What “I” want. What about the needs of ‘others?’ This time is short lived. Men need to grow up and not be jealous of their offspring. They instead can embrace this time and really reap some special moments and lifelong memories of the family bed. A real man can handle it. Like I said, who only has sex at bedtime? :)

    • Laura, you’re advising women to follow their natural intuition, but what if that conflicts with what their husbands want? You’re making it sound as if the woman will automatically know what to do, and that’s a common thought. Yet it also excludes husbands, and it gives the impression that parenting is her domain, and what she wants goes. And yes, of course you can have sex elsewhere, but putting up barriers or difficulties for sex just means that it will be less frequent. Make something more difficult and it happens less. I’m not saying you have a bad sex life; I’m just saying that your sex life is NOT AS GOOD as it would be otherwise, were there no barriers. And for many women who have commented on this thread, they admit their sex life is non-existent if they co-sleep.

      So to tell women to “follow their natural instincts”, I think, is very dangerous. To tell them to talk to their husbands and come to a solution TOGETHER that they both agree with, I think, is much healthier.

      • I think God instills women with this “natural instinct” to care for her child….I cannot see how that should be discouraged, while your husbands sex drive is treated with more respect than your baby’s cries of needing mommmy’s comfort. In no way can I understand this. Men are grown adults…they can be patient and wait their turn. It is crazy to put a grown man’s sex drive above the needs of the baby you chose to have! I agree that putting your spouse first in other situations (and when the child is older) is very important, but you can’t tell me that you have a God-like marriage if you are lying in bed having sex with your husband while your own child is crying in distress for you…

        • Anonymous, I don’t think anyone was talking about having sex WHILE the baby was crying. I think what we were saying is that babies can be taught to sleep through the night–and often when they are taught they are actually very happy. The marriage is important. What the baby needs is for you and your husband to be rock solid. No, that doesn’t mean that we ignore our babies’ needs. But our babies can learn to sleep, and sleep well, and that’s important if we’re going to have a good marriage (and if we’re going to be well rested ourselves). No one is talking about ignoring a baby’s needs, but one of a baby’s needs is also to learn to sleep.

    • Concerned Dad says:

      “Real Men” can handle anything and say it’s ok. “Real Men” can also secretly wish that they could get through the 3 kids kicking him in the head all night and spoon with his wife in their own bed. Just because we can handle it, doesn’t mean we like it. Still looking through Song of Soloman to find a mention of kids in their bed. Maybe I’ll find it at some point.

      • Perhaps the kids were co-sleeping with his other wives or concubines.

        Looking to other cultures, especially cultures that existed thousands of years ago, doesn’t give us much information on which to base current decisions.

    • One more thing, Laura. You said, “men need to grow up”. Again, I think that’s a very dangerous sentiment. What you’re implying is that women know about parenting, and men don’t, so men should shut up and let women tell them how things are going to go. That’s not how God designed marriage. You are a partnership first and foremost with your husband, not your children. And your husband deserves your respect and your deference. To tell men to “grow up” is not healthy in a marriage. I don’t think you were implying that you did this in your marriage, but you’re implying by your comment that other women should do it.

      No, what other women should do is to talk to their husbands and find out what will work for you as a couple while putting your marriage first. Children grow up best in a home where the marriage is first and the couple are rock solid. That includes a marriage where the couple is having regular and frequent sex. I’m not saying that you can’t co-sleep; I’m just saying that it is a rare couple indeed where both choose this willingly, and where the husband does not just acquiesce because his wife tells him essentially that he doesn’t have a choice because “her instincts are right”, and “he should just grow up”.

    • I was just reading this comment, and couldn’t pass by this particular statement: “I would encourage women to follow their natural intuition and give baby what they need when they need it. If you don’t, you will be dealing with this needy thing inside of them for the rest of their lives-which will manifest itself in so many different ways.”

      Every one has a “needy thing” inside of us that we are born with; God put it there intentionally to make us turn to Him. None of us is ever complete without Him, and if we are searching our whole lives for something to fill that needy place, then we have turned away from the grace and salvation and love found in the One Who created us. When you put it this way, it sounds like you are trying to replace God in your child’s life, and that is a very very dangerous place for a Christian mother to be. I’m not even talking about co-sleeping or not here – the basic philosophy behind this statement troubles me greatly. Our job as Christian parents is to be constantly pointing to Christ as the One Who can supply all our emotional and spiritual needs, not ourselves. Whether or not you co-sleep, if you don’t teach your child (over and over and over) to look to our Savior to fill that needy place, they will constantly be searching elsewhere. You can NEVER fill his soul’s emptiness; that’s not your job.
      Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy recently posted…Super Simple Yogurt {with a Machine}My Profile

      • Thank you, Anne! Great point.

      • Julia Wells says:

        I was also struck by this statement, though for different reasons: “I would encourage women to follow their natural intuition and give baby what they need when they need it. If you don’t, you will be dealing with this needy thing inside of them for the rest of their lives-which will manifest itself in so many different ways.”

        My first concern is we are often not very good at telling a need from a WANT, and children ESPECIALLY so – not necessarily because they are spoiled but because they really don’t know the difference, nor do they have any experience. Other posters have mentioned co-sleeping because they felt their child needed it, and finally it became too much and they adjusted their sleeping arrangements – and discovered that though it was difficult at first (a few nights seems common in other posts), the child truly did not need to co-sleep.

        Indulging every “need” also puts us at risk of creating just what you sought to avoid – by teaching a child that it will always be immediately attended to, we allow that child a sense that its needs, wants and desires are Mommy’s master, and that a few tears are all it takes to be in control. I’m not suggesting withholding necessary attention, but again, sometimes needs and wants are hard to tell the difference… we must be discerning, and sometimes our initial gut reaction is not in the child’s best interest. We must take the time to determine what is best – not jump to conclusions based on the moment.

        If you do, as Sheila said, take the time to consider and discuss your options with your husband BEFORE you decide, you give yourself time to reflect on what you’re feeling, why you feel that way, and whether or not your instinct is right. Sometimes it IS important to go with your gut – but sometimes our hearts our clouded by other concerns, stresses, and pressures which make us choose without wisdom.

  30. I don’t want to just add to the dissension here, I’m sure that is discouraging.

    But just recommending the Ferber book without any conditions is very concerning. I will allow that there are situations that it does help, and there are many families who used it without problems… but advocating a cry-it-out method without warning the parent of dangers to watch for is, well, irresponsible. This short article tells why:

    Another article can be found here, for a non attachment parenting source:

    I read an article that went very in-depth into the brain damage aspect, but I can not find it right now, my apologies.

    And so I’m asking you to add some kind of note in the original article, for those of your readers who aren’t reading the comments and won’t see there can be problems with using the Ferber method without knowledge about possible dangers.

    And I’d like to thank you for this series, I have really enjoyed it and learned and am looking forward to your book release. :)

  31. Honestly didn't get it says:

    Wow hot topic, but I think the point got missed. My hubby and I agreed to co-sleep more out of fear I think than anything else, with our firstborn, we now have 4, and he didn’t stay more than 6 months I think, but our sex life um what was that again??? It has never been the same. Babies 2, 3, and 4 slept in a playpen on the other side of the room, a decision we made together, and guess what it still had a major negative impact on the sex life. That is just the way it goes. I’m not speaking for everyone or to anyone I’m just saying that is how it goes in this house. We’ve been married 12 years, our children are 9, 7, 3, and 18 months, and the last 3 years have been a real struggle for us. Who knew sex would be so important… Or so non-existent and we have other issues, as I’m sure everyone does.
    We are both reading and doing these challenges together and it has made a major positive impact on our marriage both in and out of the bedroom. Thank you so much for making this available for the first time in 3 years we are on the same path and moving in the same direction. I really didn’t get the reasons that he “needed” sex, and I’m guilty of thinking its a chore, and I have other issues, but we are talking about them and I think I actually get it now. He says it would take a Christian blogger to get his wife to listen… Yes I’m that stubborn! We have already ordered your book and we are both grateful for the differences we are seeing already. Is it really possible that sex is our major issue, that seems like such a silly issue, and yet it has been his major complaint for years. I heard him talking but it never made sense until this challenge. And yes he is that stubborn. :)

  32. Because of our circumstances and situation for the 1st year of our daughters life, she slept in the same room as us, in her own bassinet or crib. It was hard, uncomfortable and at times rewarding… if that makes since to you. But, when we finally moved into our own place, she immediately started sleeping in her own room. I transitioned her by making time for her every night. I’d rock her in a chair in her room, or when she was older and bigger, I laid in bed with her. Singing and praying with her was out special time. As the years progressed, she is 12 now, I still lay with her for a few minutes, talk and share and then pray together. I know it seems easier with one, but it’s not always.
    I’ve watched family members hinder their marriages because the kids sleep in the room. I don’t believe it’s healthy for a marriage, especially when the kids take priority over the husband. That is such a vital thing, Sheila, you are so correct.

    I do have a question… What do you suggest when you have family members living with you in a house that’s 952sq. feet. The walls are thin and it makes it hard for me–someone who has issues with intimacy to begin with–to be intimate. Any thoughts?

    • Oh, Danielle, that’s a tough one! I face that with my teens, but when it’s your own kids you can say things like “It’s in your best interests for both of you to go to youth group tonight,” or “I don’t care when you go to sleep, but you both are going to be in your rooms by 10”. When there are adults in the house, it’s a little trickier. I’m not sure what to say except to have a rule that everyone is in their own rooms by 10:30, and then get a radio for your room or something to disguise some noise!

      • I may have to try that. And pray, pray, pray! that I won’t ‘feel’ weird because they know what we’re doing.lol This has been a long road for my husband and I. But I honestly believe God is beginning to get through to the both of us. I’ll be honest and say that it had been months for us. Probably close to a year. So recently, one morning the Father woke me up and I had to talk myself into it. While ‘prepping’ I told my husband that I was nervous, to which he expressed that he was as well! Then, I asked him to pray for us. That helped. As did the fact that he said it was okay for us to stop!! He hasn’t ever done that and mean it before! A huge step for us.

        Thank you for handling this subject with grace and honest. Each situation is different, but what I am taking from all this is that it’s a choice. We can stay the way we are and be miserable and not understand, or look for ways to be better, get better, be healthy and understand that we aren’t alone. That is such a trick of the enemy. Wanting to isolate us and make us feel like it’s only ‘me’. I’m defective. I’m nasty. I will never change. Man! We’ve got to replace those lies with the truth of God’s word.

        So, anyway! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
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        • Julia Wells says:

          You can also help sound proof your room a bit with a good set of curtains like these:


          I have them for my windows, but you can find some really nice ones and drape the whole room – it’ll feel really cozy and intimate for sure. 😛 You could even then put other soundproofing material behind the curtains (I hear cardboard egg cartons work well, and come free with eggs 😛 ) though I don’t know how much leeway you have to put stuff on the walls. And if you can’t bolt the headboard to the wall, get a good, thick blanket you can drape over it, to muffle the sounds of it moving (and pad it for comfort when sitting back!).

          • Google Soundproof drywall or “quietrock”; there are products you can buy & put on the walls that will seriously dampen sounds, or even make your room virtually soundproof. Of course, a solid core door also can help a lot. (maybe you can find one on craigslist.org or even a ReStore (Habitat for Humanity thrift store for building materials) that you can more easily afford. If you are in a rental, you may not be able to change the walls. If it is ok, I’m sure you could put it up and paint a new color and the other adults in the house wouldn’t even realize what you were doing. Probably worth the investment if you have to save some pennies or even get creative for the funds. Sell some stuff to pay for it, whatever. Your marriage is worth investing in, especially if you are that concerned with other adults knowing what you are doing. You won’t relax and as Sheila said, your head won’t be in the game and it won’t bless your marriage and the efforts you and your husband and striving for to improve.

  33. HI Sheila,

    Totally agree with your post.
    As someone else who has older kids and who has spent years counselling mothers, and who has the benefit of years of parenting and observing other parents, I can see that for some mothers, co-sleeping can become part of their identity as mothers. Some mothers put being The Mother above being The Wife. So when their Identity as Mothers (which they may express in their total commitment to parenting via co-sleeping i.e. being available to their child 24/7) is challenged – even at the expense of their sex life – they are Offended.

    With all these husbands agreeing with you – and I have to say that in my experience it is the same – surely wisdom dictates that some of these women stop and reconsider their parenting decisions. I know so many husbands who love their wives, and agree to their wife’s decision to co-sleep because it keeps they wife happy (and they WANT their wives to be happy), but in the process surrender a healthy and frequent sex life. These wives are happy to sacrifice for their CHILDREN, but not for their husbands. Their children will one day go on and make their own lives. Their husbands will always be there. Or will they? Too many of couples around me (yes, IN the church) are separating now their children are leaving home. And I knew so many of them in the early parenting days. And SO many of them were firm believers in co-sleeping.
    Yes, yes I know you are all going to say that it doesn’t mean it will happen to you….
    BUT there are many young parents commenting here. Please listen to the wisdom of those older. Please put your husbands first.

    Of COURSE having a child in your bed all night is going to affect your sex life. Of COURSE it is going to mean less frequent sex. It mystifies me as to why that is not obvious! ANd it mystifies me why women can’t see that!!

    A few nights of a crying child is not the end of the world. They will adapt. They will forget those few moments of tears. They WILL still grow up to be emotionally and psychologically healthy. What exactly are you afraid of??

    And as for Being Offended…
    I am so tired of this popping up in blog comments. Yes, people get offended when someone else says something they disagree on. Especially when that particular thing touches on Identity (thus confirming what I believe – that, for example, this area of parenting is tied up in Identity).
    Please, grow up. We can have different opinions. Sheila is not setting out to offend. She doesn’t need to tip toe on egg shells for fear of offending people. Obviously for some people this is a big deal. But it is not worth being offended about. Maturity means reading someone’s opinion, considering, and agreeing or disagreeing. Not getting offended!

    Phew! That’s it from me :-)
    Now that I have offended everybody…!!

    Oh, and I am looking forward to reading SHeila’s thoughts on teens affecting a couple’s sex life! They just don’t go off to sleep at 7.30 anymore…!!


    • Siminoz, thanks so much for that encouragement!

      And I heartily agree with you. I like Lori’s comment, which was the first on this thread. Are you a better wife or a better mother? Most people pick better mother. But being a good mother means you have to be a good wife first.

      Our kids don’t go to sleep until midnight now! So we have a rule that they have to be in their rooms at 10 p.m. And we encourage them to go out to youth group together, or to friends’ houses in the early evening (my oldest has her driver’s license now). It’s been a life saver!

      • yes, I Iike your rule! We kind-of have it too -but with 6 aged 8-17, we have yet to have them ALL out at youth group at the same time!! sigh! So working on being creative (I like your idea of putting on the video an ducking out for a short time!!). And just because they are sent to bed @ 10, doesn’t mean they go to sleep! And all that thumping around upstairs is distracting (I find, although hubby doesn’t…!)!

        Also looking forward to driver’s license (eldest is going for her test this week. They need to get 120 hours of practice before they can sit their test here, so is takes a Very Long Time. And now the next one is ready to start…!)

        xx siminoz

  34. Securely Desired says:

    I considered not posting on today’s topic. Because we cannot have children, the whole co-sleeping point is somewhat mute – but I do want to add one thought.

    We have a small dog who has taken the role of child in our home. Even if he is just lying down in a corner of the room when we are being intimate – I can’t relax. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to have a child with us as well.

    At the beginning of the series, Sheila talked about how hard it is to enjoy sex, let alone have an orgasm if you are distracted or not able to focus on the pleasure your husband is giving. I think it is fair to say that if you are this far in the series, you are interested in bettering your marriage and your sex life with your spouse. I would hope you also agree with the concept of God first, husband second, children third. That order was hammered home pretty hard in our premarital counseling. If a better marriage and sex life is indeed your goal, then why would you do ANYTHING that may jeopardize it?

    I also have a question. I asked my husband if he has ever known anyone our age (mid 40’s) who co-slept with their parents. Neither of us knows anyone. Now, I accept that it is possible that they may not remember, but still… Co-sleeping seems to be to be a rather ‘new’ thing. Am I wrong?

    Sheila, I can’t tell you how much we have both enjoyed reading your blog and attending the Family Life conferences where you and Keith have spoken. Our marriage has changed for the better – and it was already good. Hubby smiled ear to ear when I ordered your book this evening… :-)

    • Thanks so much for that encouragement! And I’m glad you enjoyed us at the conference. You’ll recognize some of the anecdotes in the book, then!

  35. I think co-sleeping is great. and I think attachment parent styles of “sleep training” (I hate using training in relation to our children but you understand) are far better for little ones in the long run. those aside, I do agree that IF a co-sleeping kiddo is causing a drought in a couples’ sex life, then something needs to change. I think it’s also important to note that a less than desirae sex life can be an indicator to many other issues in a marriage, not just a co-sleeping child. a conference my husband and I recently attended called our sex life a thermometer for the rest of our marriage. a great analogy, I think.

    it’s funny that people are missing your point though. it doesn’t matter what you do for getting your kids to sleep and what the sleep situation as long as it does NOT interfere with the relationship between your husband and you. my husband and I have a one year old girl. we never planned on co-sleeping. we didn’t say we would refrain from it either. we just found that for late night feedings when she was tiny, it was easier to keep her in bed with us. she slept longer stretches a lot sooner than most babies I knew. once she started sleeping through the night, she went to her crib (after being nursed/rocked/laid down with). when teething started co-sleeping became a necessity for sleep again. she would start the night off in her crib but always end up with us. now that she is older and so big (99th percentile for height at 12 months?!?) we are finding co-sleeping to be quite difficult. we wonder about our quality of sleep sometimes. at this point it’s either no sleep or crappy sleep. we go with the latter. all that to say, our sex life is the best it’s been in our nearly 4 years of marriage. it could be more often. but quite honestly that is due to work schedules and long weeks, not a co-sleeping baby :) overall, we are happy. my husband recognizes the benefits of co-sleeping and enjoys snuggles with our daughter. we know it’s not forever. and we just take every moment we can. it is very possible to co-sleep and have a healthy sex life. with that, I’m going to put this sleeping girl in her crib and steal a moment! 😉
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  36. Wow. Lots of controversy here. We had babies on every end of the “easy-difficult” sleeping spectrum. I’m so glad that having a baby in your room/bed doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to severely impact your marriage in a negative way. We had one baby in our room because of tiny living accommodations so hubby could attend Bible college. Having baby in our room provided the other two children with a tiny room to have good bedtimes.

    Things like military deployment, complications in pregnancy {placenta previa no sex allowed for most of the pregnancy} and recovering from a horrendous hysterectomy {over 6 months post surgery with monthly excruciating treatments to try and fix problems} were far greater challenges for us in our experience.

    TOTALLY AGREE with talking with your husband!!! :) Decisions about your marriage and family should be made TOGETHER. :)

    I do want to make mention here of something not yet addressed. Adoption. The sleep training methods suggested here, in most cases, is the LAST thing I would ever suggested to adoptive families. I realize adoptive families aren’t the majority here, but since thousands upon thousands are represented in our world I wanted to just give a shout out to them here. It IS possible to meet your babies needs and it not destroy intimacy.

    Now that we have one in college, two more teens in the home {that age calls for creativity to not be seen or heard! – ha!} and two young children, I can say that the baby stage does pass. We are having a great time enjoying these years. We have NO regrets of meeting our littles needs. Most especially making room for our 14 mo old when she came home and DESPERATELY needed to learn to be loved.

    We firmly believe that if a couple truly cares about intimacy they will find ways to work through any current circumstances whether that be health complications, baby season or other life challenges.

    Sex is a WONDERFUL gift from God. Having lived through seasons in our marriage though where sex was not possible {for extended periods of time} I am reminded it is ONE part of marriage. Even in seasons were intercourse isn’t possible, we can still enjoy intimacy with our beloved.

    Appreciate your series here, Sheila!
    Shelly Roberts recently posted…Filled with JoyMy Profile

  37. Thanks Sheila. I think you make a very good point about prioritising your marriage for the sake of your kids. I have a 7 month old just now and it’s hard enough to find the time, energy and space to have quality time of any kind with my hubby. It’s so important to agree together on what is best for your marriage and your family and work together to achieve it. One of the best things my husband did was to do all the night time changes and burping when baby was really small and he now does the bedtime routine after I feed him. It gives him quality time with his child and to be responsible for that part of baby’s routine while I get to relax or do things I’ve had to put off all day and then can concentrate on spending time with him. Wherever the baby sleeps, I think it’s best for your marriage to make the decisions together and to trust your husband’s judgement and value his opinions, so that you can create the strong marriage your children need from their parents.

  38. Wendy Thelen says:

    My newborns stay in bed with me becuase of the convenience and becuase my babies sleep better when they are with me. It is for the sanity of the whole house. With all 3 of them they ahve left our bed by 6 months. I know it’s time when my husband starts asking when we are moving them out of our room.

  39. Haha, I didn’t even read through all the comments and got plenty an ear-FULL. :) lol I have 3 boys 4,3 & 8mo. I have done baby-wise, attachment style parenting and “whatever”. I haven’t “switched plans” b/c I was unsatisfied with any of them either! If you are getting enough sleep then you are doing what is best! Mommy knows best-no parenting style is the only way! Sheesh! lol With my first, we co-slept and when it came time for him to move out my hubby was the one putting on the brakes! He didn’t want the little baby all alone. :) oh, we had plenty of *** though. 😉 one of our fav memories is of then & involved the coffee table…like u say, as long as you have a healthy relationship co-sleeping is fine. As long as the couple is fulfilled and open with eachother the husband will feel fine (in my case he wanted baby in bed with us b/c he loves snuggling up with him too!) If the man is fulfilled it opens the door for him to be an awesome, devoted Daddy! I think many women here will think “oh, its my hubby’s idea” and “he totally agrees with co-sleeping!” & that may be the case b/c that is my bro&sis.in.law and they have recently admitted to eachother that they are too obsessed with their kids. It is truth. If u are not having frequent *** then your hubby has a medical condition or is servicing himself.

  40. Hot topic today! I agree with you about talking with your husband about this. Decisions should be made together. My husband and I have made decisions together and HE’S the one that still wanted our 2 1/2 year old in our bed last summer when we got him a big boy bed!! I’ll admit, we have sex more often now and we’ve grown closer in the past 6 months since we’ve regained our space, but we both mutually agreed on how our family worked through the early years with our (somewhat difficult) son. It was out of necessity that we co-slept through those years and having a one-bedroom condo at the time (that we couldn’t sell from during this awful economy) contributed to the situation we ultimately were faced with – a crib in our room. Me getting up multiple times a night, and having a child that was ALWAYS overly hungry (he ate almost twice the normal child, but no, I wasn’t overfeeding. He’s 95% on charts) was draining and emotionally hard on me, my feeling of being an inadequate mother, and not being fully “there” as a wife. Co-sleeping saved OUR sanity! Not just mine, but my husband’s also.

    My husband was an only child, his mother died when he was 15. He slept in her bed up to point of her passing and those times with her are his most cherished moments that he still talks about 15 years later. They were very close. I think that’s what makes our situation unique. My husband even has an incredibly high sex drive and STILL wants to go back to having our son in our bed because he treasures those early years that go by so quickly and we are major snugglers. The most important part about how we’ve prioritized our parenting and sex lives is that we’ve done it together, and both felt the time with our some was the best for our whole family. Now we’re playing catch up and that has been fun. We’re in a new phase of life and have no regrets. :) Please keep in mind that how you phrased some of your post is a little harsh regarding co-sleeping families if you’ve never truly been there. It works for some families. :)

  41. Elizabeth says:

    Wow, you really kicked the hornet’s nest! lol! I can respect both the Ferber/Babywise crowd and the AP crowd, and really everything in between (except those who are foaming-at-the-mouth militant about the RIGHTNESS of their method and the BARBARIC WRONGNESS of everyone else’s… thankfully there aren’t too many of those folks here. :) ) For me personally I slept better, and my relationship with both my husband AND MY BABY improved after she was in her own room.

    We kept her in a bassinet right next to our bed until she was two months old, and then moved her into her own room. I breastfeed, and she was waking up for a feeding around 5 am. Her waking almost always coincided with my milk letting down. BABIES CAN SMELL MILK! She would literally start snorting about ten minutes after I had a let down.

    I know this is somewhat off topic, but for anyone out there who is DESPERATE to get their baby to sleep through the night, and doesn’t want to let them scream, this really worked for us. It took about a week after we moved her to her own room before she simply slept through that last feed all the way to 7am. Some sleep books recommend pushing the feed time back little by little, but for my girl, once she smelled milk you couldn’t do ANYTHING to soothe her into holding off for even five minutes, but once the smell was removed the situation pretty much resolved itself. She woke up one night and fussed and cried a bit, but I could tell from her tone that she wasn’t really serious about it. I left her, she went back to sleep, woke up, fussed some more, fell back asleep, and after that night she slept straight through.

    My two cents. I hope it helps some other tired new mom. :)

  42. Chiming in a bit late. I was never comfortable sleeping with my babies. I tried with the first (after she was out of the bassinet) and never felt like I could sleep. I couldn’t move! She was also a difficult baby and I would nurse her 2-3 times a night for about 11 months. After having gone back to work (full time) at 6 months. By 11, I had had it and remember letting her cry to sleep. I can remember hitting my husband on the chest bcz I was so frustrated, or upset bcz she wouldn’t sleep. We persevered for a few days and she finally slept and has never had problems since. Now, with my next two, I was home, so I did nurse them at night, probably longer than I should have (also going into their room and getting them, not sleeping with them). They both quite nursing at 10 mo’s and what do you know? THEN they slept all night. Little stinkers. They did not NEED me, they wanted me. Teaching them that Mommy is available, at their beck and call, well after 6 mo’s, to me, is not healthy either. The world does NOT revolve around them, as I’ve taught them now. Just ask, they have a lot of household jobs and do their own laundry. :)

  43. Sheila, this is a really interesting post! I’m not a mother (yet), but I do want to comment as a child who was NOT allowed to co-sleep. My parents had both me and my brother in a Moses’s Basket beside their bed when my mum was nursing (which wasn’t as long as some parents as she had to go back to work 3 – 6 months after we were born) and then we were moved into a crib, and then into our own bed in a separate bedroom. I remember my parents having a rule that we could come and join them in bed in the morning, around 6am, but we weren’t allowed to sleep in bed with them at night. My mum said that when was 3 – 4 years old I went through a phase of waking up during the night and coming through to their room, so she’d just get out of bed, take me back to my room and put me to sleep in my own bed. I can’t remember if my brother did this as well as we had separate bedrooms when he was a toddler, but he had the same rule. And seriously – we were not harmed by not being allowed to co-sleep. I actually really admire my parents’ commitment to their decision not to share their marriage bed with their children, and I hope that this is something that me and my husband can manage as well, when we have children.

    I have no experience of this as a parent, so I don’t know how this affected my parents’ sex life, but I just wanted to comment and say that me and my brother didn’t have any attachment or emotional issues because we weren’t allowed to sleep with our parents. We’re perfectly functional young adults :) And I think it really helped my parents’ marriage. We always had strict bed-times, especially on Fridays, when my parents would have a “date night” at home. I really admire the way that they managed to prioritise their relationship and not forget about it in the business of being a parent.

    Obviously, like Sheila said, this is something that you and your husband have to decide upon together. Perhaps you both like the idea of co-sleeping. But I just wanted to say that my childhood experiences of sleeping in my own bed and own room from a young age did not hard me at all, and I’ve witnessed over the years how my parents didn’t let being parents get in the way of being husband and wife, and I really admire this.
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  44. I have to say, I was really enjoying your site and info, until I saw this post.

    I have and will continue to co-sleep with my babies, I enjoy my time with my husband, but making a few ‘sacrifices’ when my kids are young, because they need me, is my job as a parent. I made the choice to become a wife and we made the choice to become parents. That includes meeting the needs of my children. If we end up on the couch for a little naptime fun because the baby is upstairs asleep, I’m totally ok with that. In fact, a wise mom once told me that her advice to every set of new parents is to invest in a comfortable living room rug.
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    • I LOVE the living room rug idea!!!!!! Brilliant advice! That is until they grow to be teenager age. 😉 But seriously, we have been actually BLESSED so much and God has NEVER let us down with helping us find great, creative ways to enjoy time together. There were many other more challenges seasons for us, instead of wee-babes. Try military deployment, no-sex-cuz-of-life-threatening-pregnancy, difficulties with health issues/surgery, etc. We look back FONDLY of the “littles” stage. So many blessings. And guess what? … we are still finding Him to be faithful to help us be creative with 3 teens and 2 littles in the house. :) Our poor teens probably think we have the movie or music up way loud in our bedroom. 😉 Or maybe they just feel BLESSED to know mom and dad are still crazy about each other after all these years, which included some real difficulties.
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  45. OF COURSE women are the ones that want the kids in bed – it’s not the husbands getting up a bajillion times a night to feed the baby, is it?! Ha ha! Our co-sleeping rarely got in the way of our love life, BTW…

  46. I’m a mom of 5 (soon to be 6) children, my eldest is 13. I’m also a childbirth educator and doula. A friend of mine who is a mother of 8 children has been known to say that if cosleeping is affecting your sex life…there is more wrong with your marriage than the priority placed on children.

    I have coslept with all of my children for at least a year…and this apparently will blow your mind…but it was my HUSBAND’s idea. We started our firstborn in a bassinet next to our bed, and when she outgrew it I moved her to a crib in her bedroom down the hall. After just one week of getting up once per night to nurse her and needing to get out of bed 30 minutes earlier in the morning to nurse her (rather than pulling her into my bed and nursing before getting up for a shower), I was a walking zombie. My husband wanted to know why we couldn’t just keep her in our room since obviously I was more well rested that way. It took some prodding from him, but eventually I agreed, and we got an “Arms Reach Bedside Cosleeper.” We never even set the crib up for our second child, and eventually gave it away. Our first 4 babies slept in the co-sleeper for about the first year, then moved to sleep with older siblings.

    Our now 3 year old still sleeps in a toddler bed in our room, and again, I’ll blow your mind by saying this bothers ME, but not my husband. A large part of why she hasn’t moved out of our room is because my husband does not support me in moving her out, he doesn’t see her being in the room as being a problem. And truthfully, it is tough to move her out when the options are a child who goes to sleep easily in the parental room vs. a child who thinks it is party time when she is put in a bed in her older sisters’ room. Her older sisters need their sleep!

    When I teach my students about infant sleep these are the types of things I recommend:

    * Each family needs to find the sleep situation that works best for them. Some like me find that getting up to nurse the baby at night leads to extreme sleep deprivation, while others can not sleep with a baby in their room because they hear every little variation in breathing and stay hypervigalent.
    * Babies sleep deeply. It is quite possible to have sex–even somewhat noisy sex–with a baby in the same room.
    * Elizabeth Pantley’s book “The No Cry Sleep Solution” I find provides a balanced approach between the baby’s need for love and security and the parent’s need for sleep and a strong marital relationship.
    * When it comes to SIDS, the most dangerous place is NOT in the parents’ bed, but actually in a crib in a separate room (assuming the parents are non-smokers–exposure to second hand smoke greatly increases SIDS risk). In a separate bed (crib, bassinet, or cosleeper) in the parents’ room provides the lowest SIDS risk…possibly in large part because this sleeping arrangement helps to facilitate breastfeeding more than a separate room, and breastfeeding greatly reduces SIDS risk.
    * Some examinations of babies who have died of over-lying or SIDS while in an adult bed have found that all of the infants who died were formula fed. Some sleep experts speculate that part of this is because mothers who breastfeed put their baby in a protective position in the crook of their arm, while formula fed babies tend to end up near pillows or face down in blankets.

    • Thank you so much! I agree with this entirely!! It is true that the majority of SIDS cases are actually babies left alone in their cribs! We have co-slept for 11 months without any threats to baby! Thank you for shedding some insight on the truth behind the lies of “the dangers of co-sleeping”…lol. It is perfectly natural!!!

      • I just want to point out that this is not true about baby deaths. I know that’s what the co-sleeping literature says, but as the wife of a pediatrician I just have to set the record straight. The riskiest place for a baby to be is with an adult.

        Yes, the majority of SIDS deaths are babies who sleep in their cribs, but that’s because the majority of babies sleep in their cribs. If you look at percentages rather than raw numbers, sleeping with an adult is far more dangerous than sleeping in a crib alone. Babies often fall between pillows and a wall, or are smothered.

        To put it another way, let’s say that 1000 babies sleep in a crib by themselves, and 100 babies sleep with an adult. Now, let’s say 10 babies die in the crib by themselves, and 5 babies die in the bed with the adult. You could now say that more babies die in cribs by themselves. But if you look at percentages, you’d have 1% dying in a crib by themselves, and 5% dying in bed with an adult. You can’t compare them unless you first adjust for how common it is.

        Obviously I’m making up the numbers, but the principle is the same. Babies are put in more danger if they are sleeping with an adult than if they are not.

  47. Sheila I appreciate you tackling the issue of sexuality within the Western Christian framework-something that is rarely done. However I would like to respectfully take note with something I see as a common thread here-sexuality for the Christian (Western or Eastern) is meant to MAKE CHILDREN! No, its certainly not the only reason for sex, but in all the threads I have read thus far, you seem to be advocating sex for pleasure ONLY. His is the exact same mindset that the secular world has for sexuality, wherein in leaves no room for the creation of living souls, and the growth and maturing that will happen for both parents in the act of childrearing.
    I am a survivor of physical and sexual abuse as well as a dating incident that still makes me shudder. I had a child who was molested, a husband addicted to porn, that subsequent recovery led to our special needs daughter’s conception. I have been married for 20 years, my husband has apnea and childhood depression issues to boot. We hae sex, and we make da babies. While little works for us NoT to conceive, i have yet to see you address the issue of synthetic hormonal affects upon the womb and cervix that are blatantly against scriptural tenents.
    I also haven’t seen you advicate selfless love by the husband FOR his wife and -by default of all this rabid sex- his children.
    Now you wish to advocate moms only having just enough kids that they still have separate lush bedrooms for, so that frequently nursing moms can wake fullly up repeatedly throughout each and every night, journey from their warm beds where their beloved is blissfully sleeping the night away, and go sit in a room they spent countless dollars furnishing and spend a brief few minutes gazing sleepily into their newborn’s eyes. All so mom can get the requisite 12.2 minutes of sleep that will allow her to clean the house spotlessly, make dinner from scratch thst only costs 3.2 cents per serving, teach algebra and reading and a rare foreign language all before daddy dearest walks through the door. Then she’s supposed to be raring to knock another crazy round of sex outta the park, all to turn around and stay up all night again…
    Raising children is but a season of life, and not entirely placed on the woman. While they aren’t the first priority, they Are a priority.
    If we keep preaching that sex is all that matters we are going to be setting couples up for disappointment. The original church always taught times of fasting to focus on spiritual growth-instead of Always focusing on physical pleasure in the flesh. So while I am a married woman with 8 kids that could certainly use more activity in the bedroom ( yes despite that) the reality is that the focus truly needs to be on unselfish real love for others. Not burdening women with guilt for parenting full tilt or not buying lipstick to waste on the mirror they will have to clean themselves. Its a bass ackwards economy and we are supposed to be living as salt and light in this sex obsessed world.

    • Hi Rebecca,

      I actually have written quite a bit about birth control, here and here, as well as other places, where I do talk about hormones.

      I have also written at length about pregnancy and sex, and in my book I certainly talk about sex and pregnancy. But while sex obviously does make babies, I think most people can get that part of sex fairly easily (unless they have fertility problems). The real issue with sex and marriage is how to find the intimacy that it brings, which is what I get 98% of my emails about. So I write about how to experience spiritual intimacy when you make love, how to feel connected, how to feel in the mood. I don’t believe that these are all PHYSICAL issues. Indeed, I would think many of them, if not most, would be spiritual and emotional issues.

      However, most people on this blog aren’t here for advice about raising large families; they’re more here for advice about marriage and how sex works, which is what I write about. There are many awesome blogs about raising large families, but that’s not my experience (I’ve had a child die and miscarriages instead). And so my husband and I only have two children on earth, whom we are both very grateful for.

      But Rebecca, I could defend myself some more (like I did here, when other readers wondered why I didn’t tell men what to do more), but I sense there’s something deeper behind your comment. You refer to me always talking about the physical aspects of sex, as if there are only two aspects to you: the physical, and the reproduction. But there’s also emotional and spiritual intimacy, and I speak a ton about spiritual intimacy. I’m wondering if you’ve figured out how to experience that? It sounds like you have a lot of roadblocks: previous abuse, your husband having sex issues, your daughter being abused. That’s a lot to carry around. And so it sounds as if you have a rather negative view of the pleasure that sex can bring.

      I completely agree that sex binds us together spiritually, but that can’t really be separated from the physical, because it’s often that deep spiritual connection that causes women to orgasm more. You sound quite bitter about the idea that we should be talking about these things, but I think they’re all a beautiful gift from God. No, I don’t talk about reproduction as much, because most people have figured out that sex leads to babies! But I do talk about the spiritual connection, and how to make sex into a beautiful thing. And what makes it beautiful is not just reproduction, or its ability to reproduce. It’s also truly feeling one.

      I hope that you’ve experienced that with your husband. It sounds as if you have a lot of roadblocks to it, but our Saviour is big enough to wash away those memories and those hurts, and restore this area of your life. I hope that you can find that joy.

  48. I feel so far behind as I just found your blog via Pinterest. As only a new entry into the blogoshpere (thanks heaven’s i haven’t made my first post yet as I would fear the hate mail i’ve been privy to in reading your replies) I have realized that when you poke a bee’s nest you have to be careful a band of sex deprived woman don’t chase you down and stone you to death! Now that i have made a few friends!!!!


    I have long felt that there is a sense of self righteousness that women of the church carry that allows them to be martyrs for abstinence. That by way of their commitment to scrubbing floors, preparing sunday school lessons, being the perfect mother, mastering the art of a pot roast that it would all count for more jewels in their crown. However if they admitted and or acknowledged their desire for sex (really good sex) it would mar them. It would make them very unchristlike in the eyes of the other women in their bible study group.

    Most of the woman I am assuming who have replied share at least one thing in common and that is that they are mothers, as I am too. I have a beautiful 4 year old boy and a 1 year old daughter. I have breastfed them both, not for 2 years as mentioned as the “recomended” however I have done it for as long as I chose to. That being said I do not subscribe to the “family bed” as my lifestyle practice. When my son (4) has a bad dream or is feeling ultra convincing he may find himself in our bed on the odd occassion. My daughter rarely finds herself in our bed as I knew a family who had a one month old that shared the family bed and in the middle of the night the father rolled on top of him and he died. I feel that there are enough other possible bad things that could happen to my child, rolling on top of them wasn’t going to be one of them.

    So now i’ve hit on being a mother, breastfeeding, family bed, did i mentioned I work full time too. Okay now for the most important part how all that feeds my sex life.

    Well here’s the thing my husband like’s sex, i kind of think most men are in the same boat. Some are more vocal about it. I think we tend to shun those “dirty non-christian men” who talk about wanting to have sex or about it but the truth is those men handing out the offering plates on sunday morning want it just as bad. The difference is those men understand grace and extend that to their wives. They know we work hard, they know that motherhood has lots of demands etc etc. But they still want it. And guess what I am really happy to give it to my husband but it requires a commitment on my part to seperate my role as a mother from that as a wife. I also think that my commitment to my husband and his needs allows him to be a father that isn’t jealous of his kids, he doesn’t have to analyze who see’s my boobs more our daughter or him.

    Now for everyone who is getting ready to type mean things I need to be really clear, when you choose to have sex not for the sake of quick let’s get this over with so he won’t beg for it for a while you can actualy enjoy yourself. Now the kids let’s add a challenge to our already excuse riddled life, well my advice put a lock on your master bedroom. Lock the door! Unlock it when you are done and no one will know the difference. As for sleeping in your bed. My inlaws were in town for easter. so everyone was in our room play pens and sleeping bags. The first night it was cute to see how quiet we could be. The second night not so cute.

    Is it possible to have sex with kids in bed with you. Yes, really great sex, the kind that makes you back arch and you to say “potty” words out loud. The kind where you feel acutely aware of part of your body that is touching your husbands, the kind where you forget what you have to do the next day? Nope can’t happen. Yes you could go somewhere else but then you would miss out on rolling over after an orgasm and having the best sleep ever! No matter how long that sleep is before feeding time.

    The long and the short of it. GO SHEILA GO!!!!
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  49. I wholeheartedly appreciate that you are out there broaching this topic Sheila. Please forgive me if I have offended you.
    As for me, if anyone has a “right” to sexual hangups, I would be that person. However that is most assuredly not the case. I have broken my share of beds with the hubster over our 20 years and 8 kids, and that has required some creativity in that time as well. I am not bitter about sex. I am going to hazaard a guess that you never had to read Every Man’s Battle. There is not only pressure from the world to perform as the perfect woman, there is also pressure from the Christian front to do the same. That is what bothers me on some level I can’t quite convey.
    I do not need large family help from your background, i just feel it is somehow setting folks up to separate this intimacy from its possible and somewhat cleverly designed outcome. So while I asked a few questions that have annoyed you, I apologize. I will read your other threads you suggested while I nurse and wait for the next round of seizures in our disabled daughter. When I tend those tonight instead of being intimate with my exhausted husband and partner- who spends his days fighting for the thousands of $ we need in anti convulsant meds-I will try not to feel yet more guilt for a season God himself allowed. You see, an author tries to shoot out as much information in a book as possible, but there are always those who don’t fit neatly no matter what they do. That is the frustration. There is a profound sadness that we have 2 ppl that have been together since they were teens, and what God let happen to them prevents them from intimacy like you describe. We can’t erase our disabled daughter, and not many are qualified to care for her. Its not always neat and tidy unfortunately.

  50. Though I personally co-sleep, and disagree with the ferber method, I just want to say he Sheilas point is right on. Our sex lives and marriages are most important and we are raising children with our husbands, their opinions matter.I personally know great parents who use both methods. No onehas to fully subscribe to any particular method, and our husbands have aome great input, wisdom and help. My husband and I compromise by nursing the baby and laying it to sleep iin a separate place and grabbing the baby when it wakes for the first feeding. This also makes the transition simple when nursing is done and the baby needs t get used to its own space. Work with your man, he made that baby and loves it too.

  51. Amy Pierce says:

    I believe for some women there is a fear of always being pregnant and having more babies. I know that I have dealt with this issue as I have gotten pregnant while on many different forms of birth control. After this baby I am getting my tubes tied for that reason. I do not know if you address this issue in your book yet, as I have not bought mine yet. I think it is a issue that does need addressed. Women, in general, do not want to be eternally pregnant.

  52. I believe peopke are riled up about this post because you say your point was to make your husband a priority but it really came off more as a don’t cosleep because its bad and no man wants that. I think people were looking for more.

    Personally my babies enjoy a mix of sleeping in their cribs in our room and sleeping in our bed after they wake up during the night. My kids are 7, 5, 3 and 8 months and with this last one I asked my husband to set up the crib before she was born and he was like “I think she should just sleep in our bed and we can set ythe crib up later” So cosleeping wasn’t just the “womans idea”. They move to their own bedroom around a year. I get more sleep and am not fearful of rolling on them because I dont move at all when sleeping and they are never near anyone else. (Plus I have seen the studies that point to cosleeping being safer for breastfeed babies) We have great sex and although the frequency is reduced ( think 2-3 times a week instead of 5-7) while we have a baby, its not because of our sleeping arrangements its because we have a baby! Whether babies sleep in their own rooms or not they still wake up when they are very young and when they are teething or sick. Also I have recurrent mastitis and not feeding during the night is not an option or I will get sick so sleeping entirely through the night is not desirable in my situation. I dont use cry it out methods because of the studies showing risk of brain damage when babies cry alone and also because it’s stressful for everyone (baby, me, my husband, the bigger kids)

    In conclusion our methods work for us, yours for you. And I think the point of your article was lost because such emphasis was put on methods and not the message. Thank you for your efforts in helping woman enjoy sex though! I am glad that most of your articles arent needed by me. 😀

  53. I can relate a lot to this particular post! However, I have a huge issue with the suggestion of Ferberizing babies/children! To me as a mother, this all sounds extremely selfish to leave my child to cry each night in an attempt to “train” them to fl asleep oh their own so that I can have sex with my husband? It seems that if you’re not prepared for a few nightly dry spells then maybe one shouldn’t have children? Because we are all our babies have, and meeting their emotional needs are just as important as physical needs. I just could never ever do this, it’s so against all my maternal instincts, and I wish there were a better way but for now it seems I’ll just have to accept that this was the choice I made when I chose to have a baby… That I chose to be a mother first. You just have to put your babies first… You are all they have! Your husband is a grown up and has the necessary coping skills. Just my opinion, but I have enjoyed the rest of the articles. I just wish there were a better, easier, healthier alternative help baby sleep alone without the painful emotional damage that comes with Ferberizing.

  54. Sorry, I have 8 kids. All slept with me as infants. One had both central apnea and obstructive apnea, and we could not keep her alive in some fancy nursery while dh got his sex fix. She had to have surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids, part of her immune system, because the combo of two kinds of apnea was an absolute death sentence. She has a medical bed taking an entire precious room now, and we are STILL up contending with seizures years later. (Its Rett Syndrome awareness month!!!) Such is life with a special needs /disabled child. Had she not co slept with us where we could monitor breathing at first, she would be dead and not 11. My 8th likely inherited the obstructive apnea from her dad as a result of our sex (O_o) and has to be watched nightly. Co sleeping with a child unable to ever get into full sleep. I have been up for nearly 2 years now, so that dh can sleep. I have endocrine disease and two torn shoulders from lifting 11year old during seizures. While I LOVE my sexuality, it is but one facet of my humanity, and will pale in comparison to my service to the “least of these” (that being my disabled child) when I stand before God. The focus on dh’s constant sexual “need” instead of his Godly focus on dyin to self is troubling here. Surviving becomes more important than dh’s or my sexual release. Especially during these economic times.

  55. Um, no. Babies are not “taught to sleep through the night” This is a physiological fallacy, and its dangerous!
    Go to your kitchen and measure out one and a half fluid ounces of water. Study that carefully. Drink it when really hungry and see how long you are satiated. THAT is what a newborn stomach can hold at first. THIS is why breastfed infants eat more often than formula fed ones, not only do they not hold much but breastmilk is designed to ALL be digested. Its also custom made based on baby’s unique bio chemical needs.
    Now measure out 2 fluid oz. work your way to 4, then 8 (eventually) this is how small a young baby’s tummy is. How long can you go on even 8 oz of milk alone?
    Its NOT about “teaching them to sleep” its really about teaching a helpless individual to try and ignore pangs of hunger they don’t understand, so daddy can “get some.” This is not why God godted us sexuality, and He didn’t place it before selflessness and holiness.
    Daddy has to stand before God and give an account for that selfishness someday. How is that “holy?”
    Seriously, they don’t stay infants. It lasts a brief few minutes (it seems) and then they want the car keys! Seriously, my 2yo lost mine. 😉 I have two wanting to drive (if I could afford ins or they could find employment in this crappy economy) and one adult driving-plus 5 more. It does not last. Nurse your baby, daddy and mommy can learn self control for a bit.
    Won’t kill anyone. Promise.

  56. SIDS is not the same thing as suffocation. Also whether a baby is formula fed or breastfed is proven to change the risks of cosleeping. And many of the cosleeping deaths are in babies that are not normally cosleepers but have parents who are intoxicated and make bad decisions, not in parents that practice safe, sober, regular cosleeping with exclusively breastfed babies.

  57. I may be a odd ball, but with my first I tried everything to get him to sleep and my husband came home to me bawling my eyes out and puking because of the stress from trying to get CIO to work, both the baby and I miserable, and he told me to go to bed with the baby, and would say I am a better wife and mother when I get my sleep, which comes through co sleeping. I would say however, that arms reach co sleeper is one of the best gifts he has ever given me. If we want to get busy, i just slide the baby into there after they are asleep, and they have their own safe space but are right next to me. In our house they all learn to sleep around a year old, naturally, we work towards it with sleep cues and routines etc. but gradual works best for all my kids and me so far and my husband will complain if he looses his sleep because someone is crying and will be like, is there a reason you put the little on in there?:-p So as long as everyones getting sleep, him and I more in the mood to go for sex in general(he works 50-60 hours a week so he needs sleep real bad). However, our 3 and 5 year old are never in our bed. This was something for me that I had to pray about and say God, I just want to hold my baby but I know other christian moms do this differently, and I almost felt like I was yelled to in my head ” JUST PICK THE BABY UP ASHLEY” its ok, really its not a Biblical issue. Now I have a very clingy 2 year old who is just a cling on cuddle bug, shes so affectionate, I cuddle her to sleep often in our bed (before my husband comes to bed) and then move her to hers, if we want to do anything we do it then and then sometimes she wakes and snuggles, sometimes she doesnt, sometimes she comes in and then i move her back in the early morning so we can be alone. Its working well so far, just in time to add another one. God gives you the gift of sex, which makes kids, which generally makes sex harder, when you finally get back in the swing postpartum, he gives you another one- its kind of like Thank you God, but why are we so fertile, postpartum sex is such a downer physically:-p so uncomfortable every time. You can pray for us after this one, last one it took 6 months to recover from a irritable cervix that made me bleed every 2 weeks(every time we tried).

  58. Ironically enough I (the mom) was the one strict about the baby in the bed. From month 3-11ish we co slept because the little one nursed constantly! But once she stopped night nursing I was so touched out by the end of the day and needed time to feel like a woman again (or at least get some sleep!). I have worked full time the entire time I have been a mom and although I love watching her sleep I have found that both her and I sleep better alone. I’m too distracting. BUT my husband doesn’t understand. He loves that she’ll curl up to him and watch Disney movies while they fall asleep, and as adorable as it is… It’s frustrating because I then can’t sleep and can’t have my husband!

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  1. […] videos to go along with my book. The first one debuted last weekend, in the article with kids in the bed. Here’s this weekend’s, which kind of goes along with yesterday’s post, Why […]

  2. […] know this one is controversial, and it got me in some hot water a few weeks ago in the comments. Many women who sleep with their children in bed with them said, “we just are […]

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