Having a baby can add a lot of stress to your relationship.
Even the happiest couples find that their marriage becomes strained with the demands of caring for a newborn. Between the lack of sleep, post-natal hormones, and the constant need to care for the baby, most couples struggle during the first three months of having their first baby at home.
While you can’t take away the responsibility when you have a newborn, you can work out ways to make you and your partner’s lives a little easier during this challenging time.
4 ways to look after your relationship when you have a newborn
Take breaks when you can
Exhaustion causes people to say things they don’t really mean. When you are overtired, you are likely to become annoyed with one another over almost anything. When your baby is sleeping, it’s good to take a nap and get some shuteye. While you may have other chores to do, your number one priority should be getting the rest you need so you have the energy to care for the baby.
One of the more common issues that may slip by the wayside is intimacy with your partner. Often new parents are simply exhausted and the last thing on their mind is getting between the sheets. This is when it’s even more important to set aside some special time, even if it’s just for cuddles.
Remember that sleep deprivation can make you unwell.
Sleep deprivation can make you feel physically and emotionally unwell. When you don’t get enough sleep, you will have trouble thinking clearly or even driving for that matter. I used to say I felt like I was in a constant fog, while I could see what was going on, I often didn’t have the ability to think clearly.
Try and keep a reasonable sleep schedule and remember that sleep deprivation can make your emotions play havoc and this is when relationships struggle.
Allow others to help you
The first few months of having a baby is tough. If you get an offer to go out with your partner to dinner and babysitting is safely sorted; take up the offer! Going from just the two of you to now a third little person completely shifts the ‘two people’ focus and this dynamic alone is a huge transition.
Keeping your relationship connected with open communication helps maintain a good working balance, which is needed when everything else is out of whack.
Take care of yourselves
Being mentally and physically exhausted makes it even more tiring when you have to take care of a baby. Getting some exercise and eating nutritious meals will help. A simple walk outside in the fresh air can break the daily grind. It’s important to eat regular meals, even when your sleeping habits are off.
Preparing portioned food to freeze is a great way to ensure there is always something on hand. Soups are great. It is a common scenario that when we are exhausted, we crave and eat sugary foods thinking this will give a lasting burst of energy, when in fact this is not the case.
Working as a team and taking care of a newborn is the hardest job you will ever do. Remember that each stage is different and will bring new challenges. Sometimes having your own quiet time that involves very little activity can be just as beneficial as taking time out together.