Having a baby is like throwing a hand grenade into your marriage. Nora Ephron
Having a baby really does change your life completely. It not only changes your day to day life but it can rock your relationship too. Sleepless nights, raging hormones and less time for long talks and for sex can make it easy to feel like your relationship is veering off track.
If one of you works and the other stays at home to look after the baby, it can also feel like your lives are going down different paths. You can begin to feel a divide and it can feel like you have relationship problems after having baby.
We’ve put together 14 great ways to help you reconnect and stay in sync, so you can find your way back together again.
Clear 10 minutes every day
Making time to talk seems like the simplest advice but, when a baby comes along, can be the hardest thing to do each day.
Once dinner, baths and bedtimes are over, you can both be so worn out that you just want to sit and find some peace. Before you know it, another evening goes by where you haven’t found any time to connect.
Carve out time each day to talk. Share the good and the bad of your days. Laugh about the funny bits. Put down whatever you’re doing and just chat.
It also doesn’t have to be in the evening, make time whenever works best for you. If you’re early risers, maybe you can find a few minutes for each other in the morning to talk over coffee before everyone else wakes up.
Do you remember holding hands?
Before your baby came along you probably held hands on a walk without even thinking about it. After baby arrives your hands are often full holding your baby or pushing the pram.
Find ways to come together and hold hands whenever you can. And make an effort to be a little tactile throughout the day.
Even something as simple as stroking each other as you pass the baby from one to the other, can remind you of the love you feel. Or a quick hug as you both greet each other in the evening counts for an awful lot and can make you feel more connected as a couple.
Set a date night
Make sure that you plan in time to be together as a couple. It doesn’t have to a be a grand plan for a five course meal and a night of tantric sex. It might just be that once a week you promise to spend the evening together, snuggled up in front of a film.
And, if you can get a babysitter, perhaps you can get out together once a month to enjoy time away from your home and chores. Often the only way to make sure you can carve out couple time is to plan it in and mark it on the calendar with a big red circle.
Take a look at our ideas for great dates nights in the home (even when you’re both knackered).
Put your phone away
When you make time to talk or to be together then make it a rule that you put down your phones.
It’s a small thing that can make a big difference. You can both be more focused on each other, without the distraction of pings and beeps and the temptation to scroll through your feeds.
Help each other get some ‘alone time’
Looking after a tiny baby can be all consuming and can sap all of your energy. Chuck in sleepless nights and work pressures and you can both all too easily feel like you are running on empty. Create bits of time when you can both get some time out just to be you.
That might mean that you both make time to go out once a week to see a friend, do yoga or go for a run. It might just mean that you both take turns to scoop up the baby and give your partner a rest for an hour.
If you work together to look after each other’s energy and needs then you’ll both have a lot more to give to each other as a couple.
It’s the little things that go a long way
Sometimes the smallest gestures mean an awful lot. There are so many little ways you can both show each other you care.
That might mean just making a cup of tea for your partner or buying them their favourite chocolate bar or picking them a flower.
It might mean leaving a little note by their bedside.
It might just be giving your partner a big squeezy hug in the kitchen – just because.
Don’t let resentment over chores build up
After a baby the amount of chores that need to be done seems to double. Each chore needs to be done quickly to keep the ship afloat. Tension over who does (or doesn’t do) the chores can build up into a pot of simmering resentment, which can all too easily spill over into rows.
An easy way to avoid this is to put a list of the daily and weekly chores on the wall and share them between you. Each week you can switch tasks to mix things up.
This way each of you knows what needs to be done and whose turn it is to do it and there’s less reason to argue.
Make the most of nap time
At weekends and on the days when you are both in the house together, make the most of your baby or toddler’s nap times.
It can be tempting to use the time to whizz around and catch up on chores but they are a perfect opportunity to grab time together to talk, hug or even to get to have some daytime sex.
Be inventive when it comes to your sex life
Sometimes it feels like there’s no greater contraceptive than having a baby around. Gone are the plentiful opportunities to get an early night or spend weekend mornings in bed together.
Be inventive and creative in finding the time and the opportunity to make love. That might mean a quickie in the kitchen once the baby is asleep or some nap time nookie.
Remember to say thank you
Don’t forget to let your partner know how much you appreciate them and all they do.
Say thank you often.
Even for the little things. Whether it was bringing you a cup of tea when you were breastfeeding or whether it was taking the baby out in the pram so you could get five minutes peace.
Send texts during the day
Stay in touch during the day by sending each other little messages.
You can chat about your day or just text to say ‘I love you’. Flirty texts always spice up dreary week days too!
Create a mantra
There’s no denying that there can be tough times when you have a baby. Sleep deprivation takes a real toll and, if your baby is colicky or teething or poorly then you can both feel utterly done in.
Creating your own mantra can really help lift your spirits. It can remind you that you’re a team of two and that you’ll get through things together. It can be anything that works for you, even something as simple as: ‘I’m glad I’m doing this with you’ or ‘I’m so glad there’s us’.
Make time for family holidays
You might not have the energy or the money to plan a relaxing trip to the Maldives. But do make the time to plan in family weekends away and holidays.
They mean you have something to look forward to and something to break up the day-to-day of looking after a baby or children. A change of scene and some time together to kick back a little and enjoy family time, can reset the balance of your relationship and make you all happier.
Play the long game
Your relationship is often tested most when your baby or children are little.
Hold onto the fact that the sleepless nights don’t last forever. Your teething baby will settle, your toddler will eventually stop having tantrums and one day there will be more time for each other and things will be calmer.
Relationships go through phases. If they take a bit of a back seat after a baby is born, it doesn’t mean you have fallen out of love. It doesn’t mean that you won’t find the time again to be together more often and rediscover what made you both so great as a couple.
Life gets hectic after you’ve had a baby (to say the least!).
Find your own special ways to stay connected. If you can help one another through the sleepless nights and the trials and tribulations of early parenthood, you can emerge stronger as a couple.