Having a baby is the most amazing gift any parent could have. However, all the joy can be short-lived when reality sinks in. In addition to taking care of all the needs of a newborn, you must also face sleep deprivation, an oversized list of household chores and adapting to a new body and lifestyle.
According to a meta-analysis published in Frontiers in Psychology, the transition to parenthood can decrease marital satisfaction, specifically in the first year postpartum. Keeping the spark alive might feel like the last of the priorities when basic needs, such as sleep, are up there on the list.
Here you can find 5 ways to reconnect with your partner after having a baby, so you can nurture and strengthen your relationship as well.
Changes in sleep patterns are one of the biggest challenges parents face when having a newborn. Lack of sleep not only causes stress and depression, but research shows that it has a negative effect on parenting and results in more marital conflict.
For this reason, after caring for the well-being of the child, parents should find ways of getting additional rest such as:
- Taking turns during night shifts to allow each parent some time to recharge.
- Adopting a sleep training technique that can help the baby to fall asleep faster and longer.
- Creating a relaxing bedtime routine does not only apply to the baby, but also to the parents themselves. Taking a warm shower, practicing meditation, or listening to relaxing music can improve the quality of sleep.
- Adapting to a baby’s sleeping pattern, even if it means going to bed earlier and having short naps during the day, can help you get those extra hours of sleep.
2. Cherish the small moments
Sometimes we tend to overlook family time. Being more mindful of the present can help us find joy and make more connections with our loved ones. Examples of these family moments can include:
- Reconnecting through meal times. Even though having dinner might seem trivial, this space can provide a chance to catch up with your partner, communicate and create a feeling of engagement.
- Creating a new family tradition can be an exciting opportunity to look forward to. You can start a weekly family activity such as a trip to the park, a family game night or a special weekly meal.
3. Schedule time together
- Organizing date night can help you relax, give you a break from parenting and help rediscover the reasons that brought you together. At first, it might be difficult to arrange a night off, but you can ask for help from relatives and friends or alternatively find a qualified babysitter.
- Setting 15 minutes a day to bond with your partner. After having children, couples might find it difficult to find time for each other. Even 15 minutes a day, over morning coffee, for example, can create a space to have meaningful conversations.
4. Communicate effectively
Parenting can be overwhelming and communication between couples sometimes must be relearned.
- Timing is everything. Having a deep conversation might turn into an argument if you decide to start the talk after a night of poor sleep. Sometimes it is essential to hit the pause button and postpone the discussion when the time is more appropriate, which could make a big difference in the outcome.
- Empathizing with your partner. After having children, couples might face new dilemmas and disagreements such as differences in parenting styles. No matter the subject of the conversation, putting yourself in your partner’s position is essential to find a compromise.
- Practicing active listening. When your partner is speaking, listen carefully, limit interruptions, and show you are fully engaged. When in doubt it’s better to paraphrase or ask questions before jumping to conclusions.
5. Be kind to yourself
Postpartum recovery takes time. You need to learn to be patient and trust the healing process. Being kind to yourself can improve your mental health and enhance your marital relationship.
- Nurturing your body and mind, through healthy eating, exercise, and mindfulness. Incorporate small habits into your daily routine such as: going for a stroll with the baby, meditating before going to sleep, and drinking enough water throughout the day.
- Including self-care activities that energize you and bring you joy. You can squeeze in some me time and take a bubble bath, give yourself a facial or even meet up with a friend.
- Using positive affirmations can help you see the glass-half-full and have a positive outlook toward the journey. When going through challenges, you can write simple affirmations on paper, such as “You got this! Things will get better!” and put them somewhere visible.
- Practicing gratitude. Even though you might feel exhausted, by practicing gratitude you can look at the positive side of things. You can keep a gratitude journal, and write down something you are grateful for each day.
- Asking for help from family and friends when needed. You should not feel guilty to reach out for help:“It takes a village to raise a child”. Moreover, there are online support groups you can join, where you can find other parents going through the same challenges. When struggling with postpartum depression, contact professional help.
Having a baby will test your relationship, there’s no doubt about it. Taking a proactive approach in order to reconnect with your partner is essential to overcome challenges and to build a strong foundation for your family.