Hello all. Need a little support/encouragement from moms who've been there ... apologies for the long post, thanks in advance for your reading & responses.
My 4 month old sleeps from about 8pm-8am, waking to eat 3-5 times at night. We've always kept baby in our room (pack-n-play with bassinet), and nursed side-lying at night, but when I started back to work last month, I bought a guardrail for our bed and embraced early bedtime and co-sleeping as a daily habit. I never expected to be a co-sleeping parent, but I also never imagined how hard it would be to balance baby & job ... and sharing sleep just plain works. The difference has been huge. Baby sleeps more continuously (he basically feeds half-asleep), and even though I wake intermittently throughout the night, I feel much more rested and capable during my days. I also have surprised myself by how much I enjoy sleeping side-by-side with baby ... like a nice long cuddle that reconnects us after the work day.
So here's the problem. As great as co-sleeping is for me and baby, I feel like I am neglecting my husband. I should say he has never voiced ANY criticism of my decision to co-sleep, because we are both very committed to breastfeeding and he understands the demands it puts on me at night -- he basically says to me, "you're the one whose sleep is compromised, so you need to do what works." But I know that if I were to press him on it, he is not thrilled by the baby in the bed. My husband and I have a great partnership around taking care of baby, and we still talk and laugh together just as much as ever, but the physical intimacy aspect of our relationship has been nonexistent since baby was born. Obviously part of that is us being pretty tired all the time, and also the hormonal changes of breastfeeding have kind of killed my sex drive. But even beyond sex -- choosing to co-sleep means I'm cuddling with baby all night, not with hubby, so we miss out on even that non-sexual intimacy. I feel like my decision to co-sleep changed our marital bed into a family bed, and even though we're just doing what we have to in order to get through this tough time, and it's not a permanent shift for me (when baby can sleep longer, I'd like to move him to his own sleeping space again), it's still a costly trade-off even if short-term.
Hubby is not putting any pressure on me, but I know he misses me physically, and I miss it too ... but the night time feeding & sleeping issues just take precedence for me right now, since it directly impacts our daily functioning. But I worry about how long we will need to continue this routine. Until baby is sleeping longer stretches and drops some night nursings (which I want to let him do on his own schedule), I can't manage without co-sleeping ... but then what happens if this lasts another 3 months? or 6 months? What can I do to ensure everyone gets sleep, but also tend to the intimacy of my marriage? Feeling pulled in more directions than I can manage :/
If anyone else has been in the same spot and made it through to the other side, I'd love know how you managed and what you did to balance it all. Thanks.