Should my Partner Sleep in Another Room when the Baby Comes?
The due date is slowly but surely arriving. You, your partner and your baby are soon to be a family. But as any new family will tell you, it isn’t all plain sailing.
And one of the most beloved topics among first-time parents is – you guessed it – sleep.
There are endless questions in this area. Where should the baby sleep? How long should they sleep for? What is the least amount of sleep a human can function on? A question less explored, however, is whether you and your partner should sleep separately when the baby comes.
The truth is that there is no wrong or right answer. The matter of whether your partner sleeps in another room is entirely down to what suits the two of you, and your baby, best.
But how do you choose?
There are potential advantages and disadvantages to every decision. Below, we’ve outlined some things to take into consideration before you and your partner venture into the brave world of sleeping around a new baby.
The possible advantages
- Sleeping separately is not an uncommon decision to make.
First of all, no. It is not “strange” or “unhealthy” for you and your partner to sleep in separate rooms when the baby comes. Many might believe it is when they first broach the subject of sleeping separately, but the reality is that a lot of new families choose to do it. Bringing a baby into your lives for the first time is going to change things, and how you sleep will without a doubt be one of them.
Unfortunately, babies are not born knowing the difference between day and night. You and your partner will find ways to adapt in order to get as much sleep as possible. And if one way happens to be sleeping in separate rooms, then as long as it is benefiting you, your partner, and your baby, where is the harm?
- Your partner will get more sleep
It’s the plain and simple truth of the matter. Sleeping in another room means that your partner will have a better chance of having uninterrupted rest. And assuming they are on job duty during the day, this can make a world of difference to their functionality and productivity at work, especially if they have an early start!
They will also be in a much fitter state to help you and your baby at home.
- You and your baby can synchronise your sleep
By now, you’ll probably be thinking: but what about my own sleep?!
If you are taking the reins of baby responsibility during the day, then adapting your routine to fit your baby’s sleeping pattern will likely result in more rest for you. And if your partner works long hours, then having them sleep in another room will mean more rest for them as well. Particularly so, if your baby is more active during the night.
This way, you and your baby can sleep when you need to, without having to worry about disturbing your partner’s own routine.
The possible disadvantages
- Will this lessen my partner’s responsibility and involvement?
Late-night feedings and the need for cuddles are just some of the spontaneous reasons your baby will need someone close by at all times. And having your partner sleep in another room may result in them feeling a lack of responsibility or involvement, especially if they work during a majority of the day.
Sleeping together and waking in shifts can mean that you and your partner feel more like a team, instead of the sole responsibility going to you. And while this may mean less sleep and a pair of tired parents, you and your partner will probably feel more united.
- Sleeping separately may affect emotional intimacy
Does sleeping separately mean that you and your partner will grow apart emotionally as well as physically? Not necessarily.
But it has been suggested in certain articles that couples who do sleep together communicate more often, experience more intimacy, and overall feel more emotionally connected than couples who do not.
With a new baby, communication and emotional support are pretty crucial, and the new addition to your lives should bring the two of you closer together, not further apart. Sleeping separately may pose the risk of this, particularly if you and your partner do not see much of each other throughout the day due to work.
Suffice to say, these outcomes do depend on the circumstances you and your partner are in. A new baby is a unique situation for any couple, and sleeping separately could either benefit or dampen you and your partner’s intimacy. You just won’t know until you give it the test run yourselves.
This is one final thing to keep in mind: how you and your partner choose to sleep when the baby comes is not how you will sleep for the rest of your lives. If you both decide to have your partner sleep in another room, the matter of how long this lasts, or for how many nights a week you sleep apart, is entirely down to the two of you. And down to the needs of your baby, of course.
There are resources that can offer further insight into the possible effects that sleeping separately can have on first-time parents. This post on offbeathome.com offers one woman’s personal experience in this area. Alternatively, informal discussions on mumsnet share advice about sleeping separately and the impact it has had on new parents and their children.
These may help you and your partner in deciding what will be right for you when your baby comes.