When baby makes three

(ARA) – What happens to romance in a marriage when a baby arrives on the scene and (often) moves into the couple’s bedroom, if not their bed? There’s lots of tiptoeing around the subject, but couples are often left to find their own way back to the intimacy they once enjoyed.

‘Co-sleeping doesn’t have to affect tenderness and closeness between spouses,’ Dr. James McKenna of the Notre Dame University Mother/Baby Sleep Laboratory writes in his book ‘Sleeping with Baby.’

‘With the baby, you can still talk, touch, laugh, massage and otherwise enjoy the connection with your partner.”

So how can couples recapture a sense of intimacy after the baby arrives?

First, don’t put too much emphasis on the sexual aspects of intimacy, experts advise. Not only does a mother’s body need time to recover after labour, new parents need breathing room to learn about themselves and each other in their newly redefined roles. Instead, look for other ways to foster intimacy. Here are a few ideas:
* Take advantage of technology. It may be difficult to whisper sweet nothings to each other while baby’s asleep nearby, but you can quietly, discreetly and privately connect by sending personal e-mails or text messages to each other throughout the day. Don’t, however, send sexy or inappropriate messages through office e-mails or business cell phones.
* Many couples keep romance alive with regular weekly ‘date nights,’ but once baby arrives, it can be difficult to find the time – and a sitter – to go out on a date. Instead, move the ‘date’ home by sharing special time together while the baby sleeps. Once your little one goes down for the night, cook a meal together, pop in a DVD, open a bottle of wine, or simply sit in front of the fire holding hands and discussing your day.
* Keep the baby close, but not in your marriage bed. Nearly 50 per cent of babies in a study by the National Institute for Child Health & Development had spent some time sleeping in an adult bed at night. Multiple surveys have shown that American parents sleep with their children for all or part of the night. Advantages to co-sleeping, bed sharing, sleep sharing or the family bed are warmth, cuddling, convenience, ease of breast-feeding and an opportunity to bond.

A safe, secure way to keep your baby close throughout the night is to put her to sleep in a bedside sleeper (www.armsreach.com).

A bedside sleeper provides a separate space for a baby to sleep beside the parents, yet also allows moms to have easy access to the child for breast-feeding without getting out of bed. Parents get to spend the night in their own bed, beside their partners, while the baby is close by.