Fighting with Your Spouse Today Could Lead to Sleepless Nights for Your Baby Later

Family Matters on 05.17.11


A new baby can be hard on a marriage -- even if you get pre-baby counseling -- and a new study suggests that a rocky relationship between parents can affect a baby's sleep problems months later.

MSNBC reports that a study from Oregon State University connected "signs of marriage instability, such as parents contemplating divorce, when a child is just 9 months old" with "problems falling and staying asleep when the child is 18 months old."

All the children in the 350-family study were adopted -- so the researchers could rule out genetic sleep issues -- and the results remained the same when controlled for birth order and other natural differences.

The researchers say that they looked at indirect conflict -- not all out screaming -- and got these results. Says MSNBC,


It's important to note that the study's measure of marital problems focused on the parents' thoughts of divorce, not level of conflict (severity of fighting)...Future research will examine marital conflict more directly.


Even if your arguments aren't keeping your baby up all night, the stress caused by an unstable marriage could be having a long-term effect.



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