Rekindling romance after having a baby
As soon as baby comes along, the romantic side of your relationship with your partner tends to take a back seat, and understandably so. You have a little one demanding all of your time, energy and attention. It is so common for new parents to go through this change in their relationship, so it is not something to lose sleep over, you’re probably already sleep deprived as it is.
Here are some tips on how to navigate the balance of love and parenting, common challenges and how to tackle them, including some at-home date night ideas.
Common challenges in relationships after childbirth
Communication in post-baby relationships:
Communication is so important in every relationship but even more so once baby comes along. Sleep deprivation and the general demands of taking care of a newborn can often lead to low moods, shortened temper and tiredness. So there are no surprises that you may find yourself snapping, using a tone you wouldn’t usually use or losing patience with your partner.
Tips on how to tackle this:
- Be open and honest: tell your partner how you’re feeling each day so they’re aware of your mood. Encourage your partner to check-in with you too. Be empathetic and sensitive to each other’s feelings.
- Don’t bottle things up: if there is something irritating you don’t let it fester and grow, find a time when you’re both feeling good and approach the subject calmly with them.
- Parenting styles: you may find your partner’s parenting style isn’t aligned with yours, speak to them about it and get on the same page, there may need to be some compromises on both sides.
- You’re a team: often parents end up in this cycle of who’s the most tired, or who’s done the most around the house or with the baby - this can cause a lot of resentment and arguments. From the start, divide up the household chores, make sure baby’s care is shared between the both of you where possible, take it in turns to let each other rest and nap.
- Find time as a couple: make sure to find time for each other either when baby is napping, or call in a family member to babysit for an hour or two. Having time to communicate without baby crying in the background will do your relationship the world of good.
Coping with intimacy changes after having a baby:
For mom her body has been through huge changes in pregnancy and post-birth. And for the couple, sleep deprivation and lack of time alone can make being intimate tricky.
Tips to rekindle intimacy:
- Physical changes to mom’s body: depending on the birth outcome, mom may have stitches and tears she needs to recover fully from. If breastfeeding, mom’s breasts may also be sore and sensitive. There is no set time on when to rekindle your sex life, it really depends on mom’s recovery and shouldn’t be rushed - be open and honest with each other.
- Take things easy: being intimate with your partner doesn’t just have to mean intercourse - there are many ways to rekindle intimacy such as cuddling, giving each other compliments, taking a bath together, giving each other a massage, snuggling in bed and chatting.
- Mental health: often post-birth, moms can experience a loss in self-esteem and have a negative body image. This in turn can affect mom’s sense of attractiveness which can lead to intimacy issues. This is very common and can take time for mom to start to feel confident again. Patience is needed and understanding.
- Finding the time: finding time to have intimate moments can be tricky when babies are young as they need constant around-the-clock care. Once your baby is sleeping for longer periods of time - you’ll get more time to reconnect with each other, but this may require being inventive with when and where you have those intimate moments. Enjoy the spontaneity.
Tips to Strengthen your relationship after becoming parents
- Keep clear and open communication. Prioritize time to chat through any worries or concerns.
- Validate each other’s feelings, try to understand your partner’s perspective on things.
- Aim to spend quality one-on-one time with each other at least once a week.
- Be realistic with your expectations, nobody is perfect including you. Don’t compare your relationship to others either.
- Try to add romance gestures into daily life where you can. Whether that’s buying your partner their favorite sweet treat or giving them a compliment. Romantic gestures can lift their spirits and help to strengthen your relationship.
- Make sure you both get some alone time individually. Sounds counterintuitive, but having time for yourself to do the things you love alone will help you to relax and feel refreshed, putting you in the right headspace when spending time as a couple.
Date night ideas that can be done with a newborn at home
We’ve pulled together some of the easiest but fun date night ideas that new parents can create at home to work around baby’s sleep routine.
- Cook and enjoy a meal together: when baby is down for the night (or the first nap of the night if newborn) get together in the kitchen and cook your favorite recipe together. You're working on your team building skills, accomplishing something together and enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal. It’s also a great time to chat and reconnect.
- Set up an at-home spa: if you’re feeding a little more sensual or want to have those intimate moments without too much pressure, an at-home spa setup is the perfect date. This could include taking a bath together, putting face masks on each other, or giving each other massages.
- Breakfast in bed: once baby has had their morning milk and is back down for the first nap of the day - head to the kitchen and make all your favorite breakfast dishes. Bring it back upstairs to the bedroom or if baby is still in your room, turn the couch into a bed setup.
- Movie night: a super easy one, pick a movie you both want to watch. To make it a bit more special you could give your movie night a theme; dress-up, make themed snacks and drinks.
- Cocktail making night: there are many online cocktail kits you can order in, or decide on a couple of cocktails you’ve both always wanted to learn, grab yourself the ingredients and set up a little cocktail making party in the kitchen - put on some tunes. The AAP does not recommend bed sharing with your baby especially if you have been drinking alcohol, you can learn more about this here.
- Games night: bringing some fun into your date nights whether it be classic card games or something a bit more thrilling such as a gaming session. Make sure to have all your favorite treats to hand.
- Write a bucket list (things to do as a family or as a couple): setting a wish list of things you want to do or places you want to visit in the future can really lift your spirits and give you both something to look forward to. Why not plan the first thing on your list for your next date?
- Plan a vacation: sometimes parenting a young baby can feel monotonous and you catch yourself dreaming of a getaway - well plan one on your next date. Settle on a date when you think your baby will be a suitable age to travel and plan your first family holiday. Don’t forget baby will need a passport too. Check out our blog on traveling with baby here.
Finding time for each other to reconnect is very important when children start coming along. Try to add a date night in here and there or if you’re struggling to find time in the newborn phase find ways to add intimacy back into your relationship. Keep an open dialogue and check-in with each other on a daily basis. With all these tips you’ll be sure to build a stronger bond after having your little one.