The intimacy between couples tends to die down a bit after having children. Kids take up so much time and energy and therefore, more often than not, sexual relations are put in the back burner.
It gets very difficult to maintain a healthy sex life once the babies come. Still, some spouses, particularly wives, make matters worse by insisting on having the kids share their matrimonial bed.
A lot of wives, especially those that are new mothers, have a habit of bringing their infant children and toddlers to the bed. I was speaking to Chris, a friend of mine, who says he and his wife hardly ever have sex because their now four-year-old son has never slept away from his mother since he was born.
Chris told me he was okay with letting their son sleep in their bed when he was a newborn because he thought it was only temporary.
But as his son grew bigger and older, he realised that his wife, who is a proponent of co-sleeping, had no intentions of ever moving their son out of their bed.
Eventually, Chris got tired of the situation and his wife had no choice but to move their son into his own bed in another room. However, Chris’ joy was short-lived. His wife still couldn’t bear sleeping away from her precious son, so she started sleeping in their son’s room, leaving Chris alone in their matrimonial bed!
The definition of co-sleeping ranges from sharing a bed to sharing a room. In a lot of Kenyan households, co-sleeping is the norm. I know families with nine or 10-year olds who still sleep in the same bed and room as their parents.
Sometimes it is due to lack of money to get an extra bed or an extra room, while sometimes it is because some parents don’t see a problem with it and love having their toddlers share their bed. Now, I am not a parent yet, but I know for a fact that co-sleeping with the kids is not ideal.
- How to baby proof your home in Kenya
- World Breastfeeding Week: Why experts recommend breast over bottle
- Are you struggling to wean your baby?
Yes, I know that breastfeeding is so much easier when the baby is lying on the bed next to you and it is either that or you have to get up multiple times a night to check on the baby.
However, physical intimacy is important in a marriage and should never be ignored. A lot of people who support co-sleeping may argue that a couple that sleeps with their children can still get it on; they just have to get creative. True, you can always have sex in other places but human behaviour states that when you make something more difficult, you get less of it.
The other problem with co-sleeping is that, as is the case with my friend Chris, generally, a lot of husbands are not for it but are forced to acquiesce to it because their wives won’t have it any other way.
Wives should start taking their husbands’ feelings into account when deciding whether they want to co-sleep with kids or not.
It is okay for a newborn to sleep with the mother a few weeks after birth, but it is important for them to transition to their own crib and room thereafter.