New babies can be a lot of work. If it’s a couple’s first baby, it can be quite the life changing event. I mean if a couple has never done this before, how would they know what to expect or what to do? Even if it’s not a couple’s first baby, it will still be difficult because any baby requires a lot of time and attention.
One area in any couple’s life that will take a big hit is with their relationship with their significant other. A couple without children is used to being free and doing whatever they want. They can decide not to make dinner and run out to a restaurant real quick. They can go on a spontaneous date night. They can even stay up all night talking if that’s what they want. Once a baby comes into their life, that all changes. This is all new territory.
A couple will try their hardest to be the best parents they can be. This little baby comes into their life and it’s all they can think about it. Their whole life revolves around their new baby. But sometimes when they focus solely on being a good parent, they forget to also focus on being there for their significant other. When the attention suddenly shifts from the couple to the baby, it can be difficult at first. There are a lot of ways a couple can help their relationship, and there are many ways that a couple can fail. Here are 15 ways that couples fail after bringing baby home.
15 Thinking Breastfeeding Is A One Person Job
When you hear the word breastfeed, you probably think of mom and baby. That’s the normal stigma associated with breastfeeding, so that’s okay, but it’s time to know what dad can do to help mom and baby. My husband was a great partner while breastfeeding. First of all, he was on board with breastfeeding from the beginning and has always been supportive.
When we saw the lactation consultant, he sat there with me and listened to everything she was saying. He actually learned enough to help me know what kind of latch was good or bad. Another way dads can help is to be there for mom while she’s breastfeeding. Make sure she has her nursing pillow or her water bottle. See if you can get her phone or turn on a show for her. Just because mom is the one actually doing the breastfeeding doesn’t mean that she is the only one involved.
14 Mom Not Letting Dad Bond With The Baby
When I had my first baby, I kind of felt this sense of ownership with my baby. That’s great — except I felt I had more ownership than my husband did. I mean, I did carry my baby for nine months and endured the morning sickness and heartburn. And then I went through hours of contractions — wait did I say hours? I meant days. Sometimes I can feel like I’m the only one who needs to spend time with our baby.
But dad needs to bond with the baby just as much. He’s as much a parent to this little baby as I am, even if I’m the one who actually have birth to him. Moms, make sure you let dad spend one on one time with the baby. He needs to feel like he is a parent, too. He needs to know that he matters and that he is needed.
13 Pressuring Mom Before She’s Ready
This one is a little touchy, but it’s so important to discuss the issue of when it’s right to start being intimate again. It is different for each couple and it’s also different from one baby to the next. There are some women that are okay with being intimate right after the baby is born, while it can take months for others to be ready.
Dads, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t pressure mom into doing anything she wants before she is ready. You don’t really know this, but healing from pushing a baby out of your lady parts can be terrifying. Everything hurts down there and everything looks and feels a little different. It’s possible that mom even has stitches. Even when things have healed, it is often more about the mental healing for mom than the physical. The best thing to do is talk about it — without pressuring and judgement.
12 Mom Not Giving Dad Any Attention
Having a baby is mostly about mom and baby. And that’s okay. But make sure you don’t forget about dad. He probably understands that mom and baby are most important right now, but it doesn’t mean that his feelings go away. When you are getting left out, it’s only natural to feel a tinge of jealousy, loneliness, and even resentment.
If it’s your first child, your husband is used to it being the two of you all the time. You can talk when you want or go on dates as often as you feel like. You can also be spontaneous with your intimacy. Now all of a sudden, he is feeling pushed to the side. He probably doesn’t want to bother you with his feelings so it can eventually put a strain on your relationship. So while it is about you and the baby, mostly, be sure to also take dad's feelings into account. This is all new for him, too.
11 Not Readjusting Their Lifestyles
My husband and I were young when we started having children. Or at least it seemed like we were young because we were the first of our friends to start having children. Some of our friends expressed concern about how they don’t want us to have a baby and stop hanging out with our friends and doing things we did before we had our baby. We had already talked about that, and we knew we wanted to try and keep up our old lifestyle as much as possible. However, there needs to be some changes — and I think I realized this sooner than my husband did.
When you have a tiny baby who sleeps anywhere, it’s fine if you're out all night. But when you have a child who has a bed time, you can’t keep them up until midnight because you wanted to hang out with your friends. We would be invited out by friends and my husband would say yes, not thinking that we can’t keep our children out that late. Or we would try to go but if the baby is being too fussy I would want to leave. It ended up putting a strain on our relationship. We needed to talk about realistic changes we needed to make to our lifestyle.
10 Mom Questioning Dad’s Parenting
This was probably one of my biggest mistakes — and still is. Moms usually do most of the caring for the baby and we have certain ways that we do things. For those rare occasions that I even thought about leaving the house alone after having a baby, I would think about what needs to be done and try to explain to my husband exactly how they needed to happen. Sometimes I decided not to go out because it was just too much work and I was worried my husband wouldn’t know what to do.
But I forget that my husband is a parent too. And just because he does something differently than I do, it doesn’t make it wrong. We may have different ways of changing the baby’s diaper, but as long as the baby is kept safe and gets clean, does it really matter if he does it the exact same way? No, it doesn’t matter. The sooner I realized that the better our relationship became.
9 Only Talking About The Baby
Your new baby is great. They opened their eyes and actually looked at you the other day. And today it seemed like they were actually smiling and that it wasn’t gas this time. It’s true that your life almost revolves completely around your newborn baby right now — but not completely.
It may not be much right now, but you need to have a conversation here and there about something other than your baby. You have needs that don’t involve your baby and your significant other has needs as well. Talk about his work or talk about what book you would like to read (in like 10 years when you actually have time). You and your significant other were together before you had the baby, and it will continue to be the two of you after your baby leaves the house — although I'm still in denial that my babies will ever leave my house.
8 Not Setting Aside Time For Each Other
If you do not set aside time for each other after you have a new baby, it can effect your relationship. And I’m not referring to a conversation here or there while you are holding your sleeping baby. You and your significant other need uninterrupted alone time where you can focus on each other and not your baby.
Maybe it requires that you get a babysitter or at least call grandma over to watch the baby. Cook dinner together like you used to or go out to a restaurant where you don’t have to worry about dishes or cooking. Watch a movie together while holding hands without wondering when baby is going to wake up or when they need to eat. You might be thinking about your baby most of the time, but it’s necessary to spend some time alone with your significant other where you can focus solely on each other.
7 Brushing Off Each Other’s Feelings
A father’s experience when bringing home a new baby is often completely different than a mother’s experience. Common issues for men those first few months can range from feeling left out or forgotten to feeling like their parenting skills are being undermined. Since moms are usually the main caregiver during those first few months after bringing the baby home, their issues and feelings are much different than dad’s feelings. A mom often faces issues such as postpartum depression, loneliness, or even feelings of failure.
Because issues between mom and dad are so different it’s important to talk about it, and try to empathize with your partner. You might not be able to completely understand where they are coming from, but make sure not to brush their feelings off. I also struggled with constantly having to breastfeed the baby all day long and not getting a minute to myself. My husband couldn’t completely empathize with me but it helped me so much when he listened and at least tried to understand.
6 Mom Needs A Mental Break
Babies require a lot of work from both mom and dad. However, mom’s are generally the person who does the majority of work. Sometimes it’s because a mother is breastfeeding and the baby needs mom more often during this time. Other times it’s because mom decides to stay at home with baby. Either way, it’s the mom who actually gave birth to the baby so they tend to bond quicker.
This often means that mom is the one who knows when the baby’s diaper was last changed or how often they need to eat. But moms need a break — mentally. They can’t be expected to keep track of everything and be everywhere. If mom is taking a nap, let her nap and not ask her when baby needs to eat next or why they’re crying. It helps greatly if dad pays attention just as much as mom does, even if they aren’t the one doing most of the work.
5 Allowing Sleep Deprivation To Drive Arguments
Sleep deprivation is so real when you have a new baby. I get extremely grumpy when I don’t sleep, so I’m sure it was worse for me. However, I don’t know a single new, sleep deprived parent who hasn’t said something to their significant other that they regretted the next morning.
One of the worst things my husband has ever said to me, was said after he stayed up with our new baby all night. I was very hurt by it and wanted to argue about it because I thought he really meant it. But I realized that I had said things I didn’t mean because I was sleep deprived. If my husband and I gave meaning to all those things we both said, we would be arguing forever. I even have friends who made this rule where they don’t talk about anything that was said in the middle of the night. Find what works for you and your significant other and stick to it.
4 Mom Thinking She Needs To Do Everything
Maybe this is an old school thought, but for some reason I was convinced that I needed to do everything for my baby. I was on maternity leave, so I tried not to wake up my husband in the middle of the night for diaper changes — I mean I was breastfeeding so the baby only needed me, right? I was the one who always put our baby down to sleep.
I thought I was helping my husband, but in the end, I was just making myself exhausted and frustrated. It ended up having the opposite effect of what I intended and I was actually driving a wedge between my husband and I. Now I realize that even though my husband is leaving the home to work, I am staying home and working. He can absolutely help make dinner when he gets home and I’m sure he would love to get up in the middle of the night with the baby, if you let him.
3 Keeping Fears To Themselves
My first baby was hard from the sense that it completely flipped my life upside down. But my second baby was just as hard, though in a different way. Our babies are only a year apart, so I already had one baby when I brought my other baby home. We also moved to a new house when I was eight months pregnant. On top of all of that, I transitioned to being a stay-at-home-mom when I gave birth to my second baby.
It was a hard time and I had all these fears running through my mind. I knew my husband wouldn’t understand any of my thoughts, so I didn’t bother telling him. Eventually I blew up and it was a huge mess that could have been avoided. If I would have just told him my fears from the beginning, we could have saved ourself a lot of trouble.
2 Not Affirming Each Other
Parenting a new baby is hard on a couple. It takes a lot of work, makes you exhausted, and changes everything. With all the commotion happening during this time, make sure you take the time to tell your significant other what they’re doing right.
Most of the time, moms and dads feel like they are doing everything wrong. So hearing that you think they are doing a good job can be a happy change. If this is your first baby, remember that this is not only new for you — it’s also new for your significant other. You are both trying your absolute best, but it’s still nice to hear it every now and then. If the only things you talk about are the baby and what your significant other is doing wrong, there are bound to be arguments in your relationship. Make sure to create a habit of affirming each other during this trying time.
1 Not Distinguishing Roles
If you do not distinguish roles after bringing your new baby home, your relationship will experience some arguments. If you’re not breastfeeding, who is going to get the baby a bottle? Who gets up when the baby cries in the middle of the night? And of course you need to talk about all those dirty diapers — there will be a lot of them.
Some couples trade off nights or trade off every time the baby gets up. My husband and I talked about it ahead of time and we ended up having a great system that saved us a lot of grief. I was breastfeeding, so there wasn’t much my husband could do when it came to actually feeding the baby. However, he would be in charge of getting the baby up and changing their diaper. Then he would give them to me and I would feed them. The last thing you want to be doing is arguing in the middle of the night.