A Guide to Revitalizing Your Relationship After a Baby
Newborn babies tend to sleep in short spurts of just a few hours at a time. As a parent, your nighttime schedule will mirror your child’s and leave you with a lack of rest. New parents are famously sleep-deprived. You can expect things to look up around your baby’s third month, when they may start sleeping six to eight hours per night. Until then, your day-to-day fatigue can make it tough to find time and energy to devote to your partner. Don’t let your romantic relationship flounder in the wake of a new baby: Follow this guide, which has been developed specifically with exhausted new parents in mind, to rekindle the flame.
TAKE A NIGHT OFF
When your bundle of joy arrives, it can be tempting to spend every minute of every day with them. Indeed, your child relies on you for everything from feeding to bathing. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break every once in awhile. Allow yourself a night off and plan a romantic date night for you and your partner. Here is a list of low-energy activities that don't require a huge amount of effort, from going to see a movie to getting a couples massage.
On your date night, set aside some time to simply talk to one another. Sharing your feelings as you navigate the sometimes treacherous terrain of parenthood together can prove relieving. Heart-to-heart communication keeps resentment—for instance, about perceived inequality in parenting duties—from escalating. Research has even shown that talking to a romantic partner releases oxytocin, the "cuddle hormone" that inspires feelings of closeness.
GET A TRUSTED BABYSITTER
When you’re trying to focus your attention on your partner, you don’t want to be distracted by worries about your baby. Leaving your little one at home is understandably cause for anxiety. Lining up a trusted babysitter in advance allows you to relax and enjoy date night. A trusted friend or relative like a grandparent is one option. If you don’t have anyone living nearby that can step in, you can also look for caregivers in your area using online platforms like SitterCity. Their sitters are reviewed, verified, and background checked.
If you find a sitter elsewhere, conduct a background check of your own to ensure peace of mind. This guide to running your own nanny or sitter background check covers all the highlights including First Aid and CPR verification, a Social Security Number trace, multi-state criminal database search, and review of the National Sex Offender Registry. It also provides a list of questions you can use to interview references, from inquiring whether they are related to the caregiver to asking if there was ever an unpleasant incident.
INCLUDE TIME FOR PHYSICAL INTIMACY
Having sex after a baby is nerve-wracking for many couples; surveys have shown that many people also experience a decrease in sexual interest. Talking about your feelings and concerns will help ease the process and ensure you are both on the same page. If you simply don’t feel ready for sex yet, be honest and share this fact with your partner. Kindred Bravely notes that you can still benefit from other forms of physical intimacy like kissing and cuddling. Plus, research has shown that even non-sexual acts like holding hands enhance feelings of connectivity.
Following the above steps to reignite your connection with your partner isn’t just important in nurturing your romantic relationship, it also fosters your bond as parents. Teamwork is essential in positive parenting, allowing you both to feel supported—and to provide your child with the support they need in turn. Take the time to nurture your bond with your partner and your entire family will reap the rewards.