Just when you think you’ve got your relationship all figured out, a little bundle of joy comes along and turns everything upside-down-in a good way. Now that the focus turns to your little baby, those special moments with your spouse or significant other become fewer and farther between. You may even start to wonder how your parents made it out alive with multiple children when you are only dealing with one little baby.
As you might suspect, it can take a little more effort than usual to care for your marriage or relationship when you are now caring for a newborn. Here are some of my favorite tips on getting through the struggles, sharing the responsibility, and finding that special time together once again.
In the earliest days, realize that those 12 diaper changes will drop down to 8 or 10 in a matter of mere months.
Also realize that, while you long for those blissful nights of uninterrupted sleep, you will soon find your newborn having more ‘awake time’ during the day, requiring more of your attention and fewer naps over time. Relish those early days in the sleep-eat-diaper change cycle! In any case, don’t let your cranky mood transfer into your relationship.
Don’t fret about not knowing your baby’s cries yet, and especially don’t get frustrated with each other when both of you are genuinely trying to help. It comes in time and once you know the hungry cry from the tired cry, from the wet cry from the burp cry, your life does become much easier. And, your baby soothes a lot easier, too!
Discuss a division of responsibility that works for you both. You can take turns getting up in the night if your baby is bottle-fed, or swap weeknights for weekends, depending on maternity leave or being a full-time parent.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Try to avoid fighting about the baby if you can help it. Let the stress roll off your back and keep moving forward toward each new day.
As most new parents realize, it is very easy to constantly talk about the baby, and very little else. Make the effort to talk about your interests, hobbies, and feelings. With more than most of your time dedicated to the baby, it will serve as a little “mental break” and allow for both of you to feel wanted and appreciated.
Get creative about your time together with your mate. You may not have the same freedom as you used to, but you can take a page from your baby’s book and nap while she’s napping—so snuggle up on the couch with your sweetheart and enjoy a cozy nap together.
Above all, don’t give up on your date nights. As soon as you feel comfortable leaving the baby for a few hours, have one of your parents or a trusted friend, family member, or sitter come and watch your little one so you can go catch a matinee and lunch or even just a glass of wine and dessert.
If, after all of these tips and tricks, you still feel your relationship is a bit neglected, remember—this is only temporary. Before you know it, your newborn will be leaving for their first day of school as a tear rolls down your cheek… Soon enough, regular date night’s will be back in full-swing, and maybe even an adults-only vacation will be on the horizon (if not, it should be!).
How do/did you keep your relationship strong as a new parent?