Caring for a new baby can be a challenge in so many ways. From deciding parenting styles to figuring out feeding schedules, there’s no end to the daily stressors. All these worries and responsibilities can leave new parents exhausted and leave relationships suffering. If you want to prevent your responsibilities as a new parent from weakening the bond with your partner, there are some simple ways you can make time to reconnect.
Set Aside Some Time for Regular Date Nights
Date nights should be fun and relaxing, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a serious part of helping couples maintain their relationships. For new parents especially, date nights are a crucial way to ensure that you are spending quality time with each other and that you both still value your bond. If you don’t want to leave your home, Kindred Bravely recommends throwing on a movie and relaxing with takeout after the baby has been put to bed.
Once you’re ready though, try to get out of the house for quality couple time as well. That may mean finding trustworthy childcare for your new baby, but trust that the benefits of date nights are worth any additional cost or effort. Start by asking trusted friends and family members for recommendations, but don’t be afraid to branch out to care apps and websites as well since the sitters listed on these sites typically need to pass stringent qualification and background checks. Just be sure to conduct interviews and read through reviews thoroughly to make sure you find the right sitter to help you stress a little less on date nights.
Become Better Listeners, Even with a New Baby
The arrival of a new baby can bring couples joy, but it can also bring up issues. Oftentimes, couples experience tension due to misunderstandings around care duties, individual needs, and family involvement. Most of these issues can be solved, however, with active listening. In fact, active listening is so powerful that it can actually save rocky relationships from dissolving completely. This can take practice, however, especially when your brain is already overloaded with the responsibilities of caring for an infant. So when you talk to one another, try to use “I feel” statements, rather than assigning blame, and make it a habit to confirm that you are each listening. Feeling heard can have such a powerful effect on romantic partners, so it’s really an important relationship element to address. Learning to really listen to each other’s thoughts, concerns, and words can help protect your bond as you adjust to being new parents and as you take on any other obstacle life throws at you.
Don’t Stress About the Need to Schedule Sex
Intimacy is important in a relationship but tends to fall to the wayside for new parents. The benefits of sex, for each individual partner and the couple as a whole, range from decreased feelings of anxiety and stress to reduced impacts of pain and disease. All of those benefits can be helpful to new parents — especially stress relief — but sometimes a new baby can really take a toll on your sex drive. That’s actually okay, though, as long as you find ways to stay affectionate. Research from Berkeley shows that couples who reduce their sexual activity can still remain connected if they maintain other means of physical affection. So, if you are not ready to get back in bed together, try to find time for hugs, cuddles, and other forms of touch that can help reinforce your bond. If you’re having trouble getting back in the mood, you can also try scheduling intimacy, which really can have a positive impact on relationships. Penciling in that time can even save your relationship when schedules are overrun by the new baby.
It’s normal for your relationship to change after a baby. After all, you just brought a new life into the world and are facing so many life transitions. Just be sure to take steps to ensure those changes actually strengthen your bond, rather than causing additional strain. Because a happy couple can make for an even happier family.
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Guest post by Emily Graham – www.Mightymoms.net