Disagreeing about babies' bedtimes creates tension between parents, which could lead to separation, new research suggests.
Mothers with strong opinions on how to tend to infants crying in the night can cause couples to question their parenting, a study found.
This may then lead to drifts in the relationship if they feel unsupported in their decision, the research adds.
Mothers generally have stronger beliefs about how to respond to nighttime crying than fathers, but both opinions lessen as the child ages, the study found.
Study author Jonathan Reader from Pennsylvania State University, said: 'Because the mothers were the more active ones during the night, if they're not feeling supported in their decisions, then it creates more of a drift in the co-parenting relationship.'
Disagreeing about babies' bedtimes creates tension between parents (stock)
Mothers with postnatal depression are more likely to have difficult children, research revealed last month.
Sufferers of the mental health condition who are insensitive towards their children are more likely to have youngsters with difficult temperaments, a study found.
Researchers believe mothers who respond to their children's needs, even if they are battling depression, teach their youngsters how to regulate negative emotions.
Families with effective communication where everyone is involved in raising the children may also aid infant's self-regulation, they found.
Lead author Dr Stephanie Parade from Brown University, said: 'Maternal postpartum depression was only associated with persistently difficult infant temperament. This work underscores the importance of supporting families in the postpartum period.'
How the study was carried out
The researchers asked 167 mothers and 155 fathers how they felt about attending to their baby in the middle of the night when the infant was one, three, six, nine and 12 months old.
For example, they were asked to what