Bringing a baby into the world is one of the most life-altering, wonderful things that can happen to a couple. The moment you bring that baby home together, your world is turned completely upside down. But while having a baby can bring a couple closer in some ways, it's easy for couples to shift all of their focus onto the child and forget to nurture their own relationship.
When a baby commands so much attention, love, and care, how is it possible to stay close as a couple? If you're wondering that very thing, read on for some helpful tips on staying connected.
10 SCHEDULE TIME TOGETHER
One of the biggest hurdles facing new parents is just finding some time to be together, uninterrupted. It may seem impossible, but try to find a bit of time every day that you can talk, cuddle, or even just watch Netflix together.
This will give a bit of normalcy back to your lives, and help you feel like you're still part of a couple. You can even write it on the calendar so you don't forget to make it a priority!
9 DON'T JUST TALK ABOUT THE BABY
A common mistake most couples make is to only talk about the baby. Of course, you will need to talk about your baby and probably enjoy doing so, but it's important that your child isn't the only topic of conversation.
Don't forget to ask your partner about their day and how they're feeling. This will help you both feel more connected and that you still have a relationship outside of being parents.
8 FIND A SITTER
It can be hard to find time alone as a couple when you have a new baby. With the constant care a baby requires, it's challenging to look after your own needs, let alone your partner's. Try to find someone who you trust who is willing to watch your little one for a few hours so you and your partner can relax in each other's company for a while.
It doesn't have to be a "date night," so don't worry if you tend to find that you're ready to pass out by 9pm. You could schedule time in the morning or afternoon when you're feeling fresher.
7 TRY SOMETHING NEW
You may feel like all you do as a new parent is care for the baby, with little energy or enthusiasm for anything else. If you feel like every day is just becoming the same thing, maybe you and your partner need to try something new, together.
Maybe there's a new recipe that you both are dying to try. Find a sitter and cook it together, leisurely and at your own pace. Or sign yourselves up for a class or activity that you've never tried. Sharing a new experience will wake up your senses and strengthen your bond by creating new memories.
6 SPEAK UP
One of the worst things couples can do is to bottle emotions. Something may be bothering you, but you might feel like it's not important or not worth bringing up, especially while you're in a sleep-deprived state.
However, holding negative emotions in will only make them grow stronger and build resentment towards your partner. Make sure you talk to your partner about what's bothering you, and try to find a solution together.
5 CONNECT THROUGH YOUR SEX LIFE
Sex may be the last thing on most couples' minds after having a baby, but it can be a great way to feel connected to each other. This is because it releases oxytocin, the hormone that promotes feelings of trust and bonding.
You may be wondering how you'll find the time or energy to get busy in the sheets, but don't worry - a study in Social Psychology and Personality Science indicates that having sex just once per week is enough to maintain that intimate connection.
4 GIVE THANKS
One of the simplest ways to express love and appreciation for your partner is to say thank you. Maybe it's thank you to your partner who worked all day to provide for your family, maybe it's thank you for getting up at 3am to feed the baby, or maybe it's even a quick thanks for taking out the trash.
Saying thank you acknowledges your partner, and makes them feel valued and appreciated.
3 IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS
Sure, grand gestures for your partner are great, but they're not the easiest to do when you're exhausted from being up all night with the baby. Luckily, even small gestures can have an impact and help strengthen your relationship.
A quick hug before leaving the house, a post-it note saying I love you left somewhere they will see it, or picking up your partner's favourite treat all show that you care, and will help you both feel connected.
2 COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
The key for new parents to keep their connection strong is to communicate effectively. Find time to discuss what you need to when you have a calm moment, not over the head of your screaming baby.
Use language that expresses how you feel, without placing blame on your partner. And don't forget to take time to really listen to what your partner is saying, too.
1 DO THINGS TOGETHER YOU ENJOY
A great way to stay connected to your partner after having a baby is to find things to do during your downtime that you both enjoy. After putting the baby to bed, don't retreat to separate corners of the house: engage in something that will connect you.
Maybe it's listening to a podcast you both love, or watching Game of Thrones. Even just cuddling on the couch while you watch TV will help you feel closer to your partner.