In the months leading up to welcoming a new baby, and even months after the baby finally arrives, you’re spending a lot of time reading, prepping, and planning.
You’re babyproofing your entire house, and your list will probably include some of the below:
- Outlet covers – Check.
- First aid kit – Check.
- Toilet seat lock – Check.
- Furniture mounts – Check.
- Relationship – Is this on the right list?
New parents may want to spend extra time baby-proofing their relationship. Parenthood can be one of the most challenging transitions that you will both make together. It will challenge your priorities, identities, expectations for yourselves, of each other, and for the relationship.
Here’s are a few ways that new parents can create an even deeper bond post-baby.
It’s best to have open communication so you and your partner can communicate your wants and needs to one another, especially during the transition period. Practice patience for yourself as you adjust to this new role and practice patience for your partner while they make the transition.
Take time each day for self-care and to care for the relationship. Often times the stress and urgency of caring for a new born means that parents are prioritizing time for themselves for their relationship. Know that caring for yourself and your partner is not taking away from your baby, it is adding to the strong foundation from where they will grow.
There will be good and bad days. You’re going to be learning a lot about your baby, as well as each other. You may be exhausted from little to no sleep while focusing all of your attention on the needs of your baby. Reach out for help to your partner if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You have each other to lean on for support, even more so now.
Divide, Delegate and Conquer
Similar to sharing household chores, you’re going to want to divide and conquer all of the baby’s needs as well. Find a routine that works best for both of you and helps conserve energy.
If you find that you are too exhausted to connect, consider ways to outsource some of your responsibilities for a while. Consider getting help for the housework, yardwork, grocery shopping, or childcare. Hire a personal assistant to help you manage your calendar and appointments. Hire a night nanny so that you and your partner can get some quality sleep. Subscribe to a meal delivery service so you will always have fresh and nutritious food in the fridge. Do what you need to temporarily to find your footing as a couple, decrease resentment, and keep your relationship balanced.
Recognize the Need for Your Village
There is no better time to seek out support now. Historically, parents have NOT been the only ones caring for a newborn. We are meant to thrive in a village where we can lean on friends and family to raise a child.
Let your in-laws, best friends, siblings, and neighbors help. Take them up on it when they offer help. Let them take the baby for an afternoon while the two of you go for a long walk or have a picnic without interruptions. You can swap childcare with other families to return the favor.
Find Time to Connect & Communicate Meaningfully
Finding alone time can become much harder when you welcome a new baby. Try to plan regular date nights, so you can still have alone time, just the two of you. Parenting doesn’t mean that you have to stop dating.
The key is schedule, schedule, schedule. Time is precious now. Prioritize time together much like a project manager trying to reach a goal. Use your technology, calendar, and reminders to keep your time together top-of-mind.
Even if you don’t have someone to watch your baby or if you can’t leave the house, you can still have alone time together. Here are a few creative ways to appreciate your time alone together:
- Eat a meal together while your baby is sleeping.
- Watch a TV show or movie together.
- Cuddle on the couch.
- Get creative with arts and crafts or spa night at home.
Adjust Your Intimacy Expectations
Life with children will likely change your sex life but sex is still an important aspect of connection and bonding with your partner. The timing must be adjusted, the energy wanes, and even foreplay must be reconsidered. Managing your expectations, communicating your needs and desires, prioritizing sex, and being creative can make a real difference in keeping intimacy alive and mutually satisfying.
Consider Couples Counseling to Foster Closeness
Working with a couples therapist can help you get ahead of issues and resolve anything under the surface.
With the right support, you and your partner can find peace, joy, healing, and deeper bonding through this time. If what you’ve read here resonates with you and you are ready to invest in your relationship and the health and well-being of your family, we look forward to hearing from you.
If you have questions about couples therapy, we have answers. Schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation today and see if one of our compassionate therapists is the right fit for you.