Before baby is born, you and your partner excitedly anticipate your little one's arrival. You talk about names and pick out paint colors for the nursery—the two of you ready to take on this new adventure together. And then, the big day arrives and everything changes.
Going from wild-and-free duo to sleep-deprived trio is a major shift. And it looks different for all parents. Maybe you are dealing with PPD after giving birth and feeling unable to connect. Or maybe your partner had to go back to work right after you brought baby home and feels like they are missing out on bonding. While the details may very, there's often a common thread: stress on your partnership. But there are ways to navigate the new territory more gracefully.
You and your partner are a team from day one. They are your biggest supporter and champion. But emotions can run high when no one is sleeping and everyone is adapting to their new world. It’s better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to preparing for parenthood, and the same goes for your relationship. Here are a few ways you can maintain your connection with your partner during those hazy newborn days:
Go on a babymoon
Even if it’s just a weekend at an Airbnb in your own town. Dedicate some time together before baby arrives to really tune in to each other and talk about your hopes, expectations and concerns for when the baby arrives. And make sure to enjoy each other as much as possible while you're at it! Later when you’re feeling like you want to pull your hair out after a night of cluster-feeding, you can scroll through the pictures and reignite those happy memories.
Set aside time for daily check-ins
Stress from work, family drama, or an extra fussy baby can leave us feeling overwhelmed and emotional. Couples who can discuss the frustrations of their day, as separate from the relationship, have an opportunity to vent, gain support, and show empathy for one another. Feeling heard and understood can help alleviate any unwanted tension that otherwise filters into the relationship. Gaining comfort and encouragement at the end of the day makes you feel like you’re both “in it" together.
Gratitude + little gestures
Making intentional efforts to tell your loved ones what they are doing right, instead of what they are doing wrong, can strengthen your connection to one another. Small kindnesses go a long way as well. All too often we think that love has to be shown in grand gestures, but the small ones can be just as meaningful and vital to your relationship. Little gestures take only a small amount of effort, but they can have a huge impact. Every small act of love is reminder that says, “Hey, I know life has changed and maybe we don’t get to spend as much time together as we used to, but I see you. I love you. And I appreciate you.”
Don’t skimp on physical touch
No one feels more touched-out than a mom with a new baby. We totally get it and have been there. But when you both are in constant contact with a newborn, your physical touch with each other can slip away. Remember to hold hands, steal a kiss in the kitchen, or just lightly rub your partner’s back as you walk by. Those simple touches can add up to a more meaningful relationship and keep you feeling connected.
Put down the phone
It can be tempting to fall into bed at night and wind down with some mindless IG scrolling. But when you are paying attention to your electronics instead of your spouse, it can create resentment. Make a point to chat with each other before bed instead of getting sucked into your screen. And as an added bonus, you’ll totally sleep better. You know, for whatever stretches that sweet babe allows.