Keep your relationship on track after having a baby: parents’ tips. This article is from familyeducation.com, authored by Lindsay Hutton. FamilyEducation is your partner in parenting. We aim to make it easier for busy moms and dads like you to raise happy, healthy, engaged children at every age and stage. Image courtesy of LightField Studios via Bigstockphoto.
When you’re sore, sleep deprived and covered in baby vomit, it’s easy to forget about that other person who sleeps in your room—your spouse. A new baby (understandably) takes over your whole world. But making time to help your relationship survive these first few months will only make it easier for both of you to get through this time together. These tips can help you both make it through the stressful times.
Raging hormones. Lack of sleep. Your preoccupation with your baby’s eating and pooping schedule. No sex for six weeks. A messy house. It’s no wonder a new baby can put a strain on even the strongest relationship!
Have an honest conversation with your partner about what to expect from each other during the first few months, and realize that life with a newborn can be chaotic, messy, and stressful — but it also doesn’t last forever.
Try Not to Criticize
The day-to-day stress of becoming a new parent can add up, and it can be very easy to take your frustrations out on your partner. Becoming a new parent has a huge learning curve, and everyone has their own special way of doing it.
As you settle into your new role, try not to criticize your partner if they don’t do something exactly the way you would. Remember — different doesn’t necessarily mean wrong. Try to be appreciative of the fact that they’re trying their best (just like you are!), but not everything will always be done perfectly.
Schedule Alone Time
Having a baby changes your life, but it doesn’t change who you are as a person. Although the baby is the new center of your universe, it’s still important to try to schedule time every day to talk about what else is going on in your lives.
Talking about your new bundle of joy might be a favorite topic of conversation for both of you, but make sure to talk about other aspects of your day — your job, your hobby, how you’re feeling. Scheduling time to talk about how the two of you are individually, even if it’s while you’re doing mountains of laundry or washing the never-ending pile of baby bottles, will help maintain your identity as a couple, not just your identity as new parents.
Ask for Help
Remember that having a baby is a partnership. Assuming too much responsibility will only make you resentful. Come up with a plan to balance household chores and baby tasks, such as taking turns with early-morning wake-ups, laundry and dishes.
Communicating what you need help with and having a plan in place will allow both of you to focus on your baby without feeling like you have a million other things you need to do. And don’t turn down help from outside sources — if family and friends offer to help, say yes!
If your spouse is breastfeeding, you can still help out with bottle feedings (not to mention diapers and nap time). It’s the perfect opportunity for you to bond with your family’s new addition.
Even if sex weren’t off the table for the first six weeks, the sleep deprivation alone will most likely make falling into bed for a nap seem much more appealing than falling into bed for anything else.
Luckily, there are other ways to stay intimate with your spouse—a simple back rub, holding hands, a lingering hug or even a makeout session will help keep the spark alive.
When you are cleared to do the deed, and you feel up to it, make it a priority. Scheduling sex might seem unromantic, and you may not exactly be feeling super-sexy while running on no sleep and no shower, but making it a part of your usual routine will help keep you connected and ensure you’re making time for each other.
Know that many women take much longer to have a sex drive after giving birth, so make sure to keep the lines of communication open and let your spouse know how you’re feeling.
Appreciate Little Gestures
Grand romantic gestures will most definitely fall by the wayside when you have a new baby at home — who has time now? Appreciate the little things that your spouse does — whether it’s getting up in the morning with the baby so you can get an extra hour of sleep, washing and sanitizing the pile of bottles in the sink or taking your other kids to the park so you can have some quiet time.
Little gestures add up, and a heartfelt thank you can go a long way in letting your partner know how much you appreciate everything they do, big and small.