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How to Keep Your Relationship Strong While Taking Care of a Newborn

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?

How to Maintain Friendships when Baby Arrives

A new baby in the family! Amazing isn’t it how such a tiny life disrupt yours so completely that you don’t even know whether you’re coming or going? The baby routine is so easy to get caught up in – feed the baby, burp the baby, change the diaper, bathe the baby, and then do it all over again and again…and again. In no time at all, you feel as though you have no time to do anything except take care of the baby and maybe attempt a cat nap, that is, until your spouse comes home and wants to know where dinner is!  With everything going on, how can a new mommy/daddy even think about maintaining friendships once that little bundle of joy has taken over the household?

You may not feel as though you have the time or energy, but seriously, you have to try or you won’t have any friends once that little one goes off to school (plus, you might need to work on your vocabulary and/or communication skills since the baby arrived).  Just as most of us discovered who our true friends were once high school came around, the same idea goes for welcoming a baby into the world.  The friendships that you work to keep after your baby arrives are more than likely friends that you will have for a lifetime, so keep your friends close and your best friends closer.

Plan group functions as frequently as you can. The more friends that you include, the fewer of these you need to arrange. I know that the last thing you want to do is get out of those comfy sweatpants and forgo one of those precious catnaps, but if you don’t, the number of friends you have will dwindle.

Communicate, and often.  I adore my friends.  They keep me grounded and are always there for me when I need a laugh or a listening ear.  Make time to pick up the phone, Skype, send out a Facebook message, or email your friends to keep the lines of communication open.

Be understanding. I had a girlfriend who was in my life for umpteen years, but whenever she accepted an invite, she was rude and spiteful. She was still waiting for her happily ever after. I stopped inviting her because I didn’t want to listen to her mean-spirited comments about my baby. You guessed it; she’s no longer in the picture. Had I been more understanding of her feelings, I might have gotten a sitter and planned our get-together’s elsewhere. It’s true though, friends can grow apart, which is why working on them is so important.

If the kids are tagging along, find child-friendly venues where everyone can meet on equal footing. It’s nice not to have to worry about cleaning the house, preparing food, or someone else’s child breaking your little one’s toys/spilling grape juice all over the carpet.

Include your spouse. This gives you an extra pair of hands and someone else to do the driving sometimes. Take the catnap that you’ve wanted on the drive over (if you’re so lucky!) and enjoy the evening.  Plus, you both need to socialize with others to stay happy and sane.

Though there is seemingly no time in the day, maintaining your friendships is crucial to your overall happiness.  The added effort is worth it!

What other tips do you have for maintaining friendships once baby comes into the picture?