You struggle to catch sleep, you barely have time for self-care, let alone date night. How to fix your relationship after baby doesn’t have to be a hard task. You can fall back in love with your partner and understand the new roles you both have as parents.
The first few years after having your baby is the most draining on a relationship. It’s not just you, I hated my husband after the birth of our first son and it took time for us to feel connected again.
What you’ll take away from reading this to the end
- Moms and dads will respond to parenting in different ways, they will cope differently and communicate differently.
- Why new parents fight, how to reignite and keep the spark
- 10 ideas to help your relationship thrive after baby
How To Fix Your Relationship After Baby
Is It Normal For Couples To Fight After Having A Baby?
The truth is new parents fight. It happens. Those diaper commercials with smiling moms with full makeup on at 7AM are lies.
Having a baby just changed what you both experience. Your whole relationship (especially if this is your first baby) up until you gave birth – you both shared similar experiences. Falling in love, doing nothing and everything together.
Now when you gave birth; your hormones, your leaking breasts, your stretch marks, strange body, identity crisis are different experiences than that of your partner.
So it is very natural for both of you to fight.
Relationship Breakdown After Baby
The Gottman Institute formerly known as Relationship Institute of Seattle researched that 2/3 of couples quality of relationship declined the first three years after having kids.
But the question is why do relationships break down after baby and what can parents do to keep themselves from being in that statistic?
Why Do Relationship Change After Baby
Here are some factors that will affect your relationship after baby is born:
- Baby Blues
- Postpartum Depression
- Parenting Styles
- Communication Decrease
You may not realize it but after you give birth you will be more hormonal than you were all of pregnancy.
These hormones can cause things to change for you (the one who gave birth) your mind is changing and if you start feeling angry or depressed which are signs of postpartum depression. Please seek help from your doctor.
Related: Postpartum Depression: what to look for, signs to talk to your Dr
Breastfeeding & Co-Sleeping
It’s a wonderful thing when you breastfeed. But you might find yourself questioning how long you should do it for.
You might see your body and have a body image issue because your breast are bigger, swollen, in pain and you haven’t bounced back after baby. Breastfeeding also causes women to become dry during intimacy. Resulting in more issues for new parents.
This feeling of insecurity can cause you to take out your feelings on your spouse.
This is one the biggest factors that will have you arguing with your partner.
You were both raised differently and because of this you have different views on how you parent.
My husband for example wanted to do the cry-it-out method to sleep train our son. I would never let our son cry and that would make us argue (a lot). I just couldn’t do it and our relationship suffered.
When you are so focused on baby, changing diapers, trying to survive on a few hours of sleep communication can take a back burner.
If you are feeling neglected by husband after baby chances are your husband is also feeling neglected. Though neither of you may know it because you haven’t expressed yourself yet.
Or you have expressed yourself but you did it defensively. Don’t worry I’ll discuss how to express yourself in a way that actually works for both of you down below.
Related: How Much Bleeding After Birth Is Normal?
How Can I Keep My Relationship Strong After Baby?
Your unhappy marriage after baby can get better once you start to do things a little differently than you are doing now. Being a parent is now your first priority but your marriage should always be close second.
1. Make Time For Date Night
Schedule date night, aim to have date with your spouse 2 times out of the month. If you can’t do 2 times start with 1 and see where you go from there.
Feel like you can’t afford date night, now that you’re parents? You can even do a stay at home date night (just make sure to ask someone to watch baby).
2. Start Planning Sex
Once you are cleared by your doctor and emotionally ready for sex, go ahead and do it. You’ll also want to start planning when you should do it in order to give some anticipation and excitement back into your relationship.
For example if you have sex night planned once a week, that day of the week (even if you argued that day) can feel important and fun. Bringing back a few of those before baby feelings.
3. Create Weekly Family Meetings
Communication is key to keep your relationship strong. Constantly talk about yourselves, family, money. Let each other know what’s happening. Every week, once a week talk about your feelings.
In order to avoid the day to day arguments – talk about them that specific day. This actually creates a healthier way to deal with emotions.
What may seem like a big problem that day can feel small and irrelevant the day of the family meeting.
4. Don’t Keep Score
Is your husband sleeping through the night, while you wake up to breastfeed, pump and do all the diaper changes? Guess what don’t tally up those points.
Yes you are more likely to do all the things in your home (even though women make up the majority of the work force – at home things still feel 1950’s). You have to communicate with your partner that you want help. Be specific.
5. Be Specific On The Help You Need
This is what I like to call communication with power. Don’t yell out ‘You never help me with the baby’ chances are your partner feels they ARE helping you just not in the way you want.
Tell them exactly what to do. Say something like this: “I need you to wash the bottles and change baby’s diaper while I shower”
Now that they know exactly what you needed you can take that shower. Instead of coming out of the shower to your husband on their phone with a pile of bottles needing to be washed and a diaper needing to be changed.
Here are a few ideas of what you can say instead of what you’re already saying:
6. Switch Who Watches Baby
You need to set a schedule and help each other. Make sure during your weekly family meetings you are discussing who will watch baby during certain times.
Sample Schedule For Parents Watching Baby:
- Mom Gets Up With Baby – Feeds, Changes Diaper, Changes Clothes
- Dad Makes Breakfast – Washes Any Dishes, Holds Baby While Mom Eats (sorry you’ll miss eating at the same time until little one is older)
- Depending On Who Stays Home With Baby You Can Alter This Part
- Parent who stays home will do things normally until the working parent returns
- If both go to work then they will resume baby care schedule at that time
- You Can Co-Shower As A Family To Save Time
- If Mom Is Breastfeeding And Pumping – Have Dad Wash The Bottles
- If Dad Has A Day Off Of Work – Mom Can Make Breakfast That Day
- You Don’t Have To Parent All By Yourself
Delegating who does what will give both of you a piece of mind. Even if it is small things: Mom always wakes up at night, but in return dad takes out the trash and brooms the house every night along with putting the baby to sleep.
7. Appreciate The Moments
This is hard work. I’ve said a million times, but it does get easier with experience and appreciation.
When a relationship feels unappreciated it can cause a lot of stress for both partners. Remember to thank and say I appreciate you and love you every day.
You might be interested in these articles:
8. Start A New Hobby Together
Is your new life as parents different than your couple life? Of course it is, we just spent the whole time talking about this. Now is the time for both of you to start doing something together as a family that can bring you closer.
Here are a few examples:
- Walking – Place Baby In Stroller
- Going To The Mall – You Don’t Need To Buy Anything
- Reading The Same Book
- Try A Different Restaurant In Your Area (1 / week)
- Start Doing Puzzles Together
- Dance Off In The Living Room
You might be interested in these articles:
With these 8 tips to increase your relationship after baby and help your marriage succeed you are sure to start making new paths in your role as parents.
Remember make time for date night, plan out sex, talk during your weekly meetings, don’t keep score and for the love of everything be very specific on what you need help with. Along with switching who cares for baby and appreciating each other you need to start a hobby as a family.