by Julie Snyder
Bringing a baby into the home has been likened to throwing a hand grenade in between you and your partner.
Becoming educated and learning about all those new pieces of knowledge can help your relationship not only survive, but thrive!
You and Your Partner
Small and helpless babies have a powerful effect on the adults around them. Simply by being born, your baby transforms you and your partner from a "couple" into "parents."
Babies Wake Up at Night
Yes, everyone knows that babies don't sleep through the night. Before reality hit, your daydream went something like this: You expect your baby to wake up...eat, go directly back to sleep. Soothing your wee munchkin barely interrupts your beauty rest. A few lucky new couples parent that child. The rest of us discover that crying doesn't end with the daylight hours. Playing and laughing might also extend well into the night.
Many new parents develop hearing loss. Last month a leaf gently hitting the window would have awoken your vilagent significant other. Now the piercing howls of a newborn don't even alter that smooth breathing pattern.
Sex or Sleep
You might prefer sleep to sex. Sleep might actually become such a priority that sex is only a distant memory. How can a couple maintain a working relationship. Fight back on two fronts.
Sleep whenever and wherever you can. Some couple turn to the family bed. It makes others anxious. Do what works for you and your baby. And remember, the sleepless stage doesn't last forever.
Make your relationship a priority. Your together time might be five minutes over a cup of coffee or simply an email.
Crankiness Isn't Limited to Just the Baby
At some point the last couple months you've gone from snuggling together on the couch and cooing over your sweet babe to yelling across the room. How did it happen?
Kim Halford from Griffith University's Psychological Health Resource Centre says, "The average relationship satisfaction for couples goes down across the transition to parenthood."
Parents of new babies report these issues as roadblocks to their relationship. Working out a game plan before the baby arrives helps smooth your transition from couple to parents.
- Unequal division of household chores and infant care
- Differing opinions about parenting technique
- A fussy baby
- Low parenting skills
- Existing communication problems
You’ll Fall in Love All Over Again
Maybe the baby has his nose or your chin. Perhaps the baby expects life to be a picnic like mom. The way the baby melds the best of both of you remind you what made you fall in love.
You'll be even more smitten the first time you catch your baby clutching dad's finger in his sleep or giggling at mom. And your shared love for the little one can draw you closer and give you more motivation than ever to make your relationship work well for years to come.
That same small person changes how you relate to your friends -- the less-spontaneous lifestyle, your focus on everything baby.
Your friend for the last seven years has remained a friend for a good reason. Remember that reason and work to maintain your relationship. Your baby won't be tiny forever, but your need for companionship extends through the years.
Babies Can Isolate
If you stay home with a baby, don't isolate yourself. Try to get out of the house every single day and go for a walk. No one cares if your hair doesn't look its best, I guarantee. Another solution is to get together with other moms or dads and talk babies or politics. For instance, you can discuss why the U.S. is one of only five countries that doesn't mandate some form of paid maternity leave.
Babies Bring New Opportunities for Friendship
Mommy groups, library reading programs, preschool and daycare friend, playgroups...new moms gravitate towards friendships with women with kids. Add new friends for kid talk and kid activities -- diapers, baby development and trips to the aquarium.
Do you have some tips to share? Let us know in the comments!
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