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Vetted by Dr Sandip Gupta, MBBS, MD, FNB-PICU on 17 Jun, 2022
Couple holding hands

Partner and You: How to Keep the Spark Alive After Having a Baby

Couples have a baby for various reasons. It could be to strengthen their relationship, commemorate their stability, or see their relationship improve with intimacy and maturity. However, what most couples need to understand is that having a baby can test those very bonds.

With the sleepless nights, diaper changes, and an endless list of tasks that are part and parcel of having a baby, most couples are not left with a lot of time for each other. However, your baby's arrival does not mean your relationship should take a back seat. 

Things that can affect your marriage after you have a baby.

The arrival of the baby leads to a shift in the equilibrium of the household. Many factors come into play with the arrival of your baby, which may affect your marriage. Along with the joy, the baby also brings a ton of responsibilities, which can often tire the parents, leading to problems in their marriage. The baby may also take up a lot of your time, leaving none for socialising, performing other duties or just relaxing. Many mothers may not immediately be able to resume work and may find it difficult to adjust to staying at home with the arrival of a baby. In turn, fathers may become the sole breadwinners and start feeling pressured financially. Another major point of conflict between parents is the difference in their parenting styles. The introduction of a new family member may also cause some emotional insecurity as the baby becomes a priority over the partner. Many women may not wish to have sex immediately after childbirth as they are still recovering from the emotional and physical strain of childbirth. 

Keeping the spark alive in marriage

You and your partner can improve your relationship after having a baby with the following tips:
  • Keep yourself fresh: If you are exhausted and need to sleep, you should catch up on the zzzs in another room to refresh yourself.
  • Save some money: Your cute little bundle of joy brings with her some additional expenses that may put a strain on your budget and your relationship as well. Breastfeeding instead of using baby formula can save you some money and is better for your baby’s health too! It is also perfectly alright to accept hand-me-down clothes and toys, or, if your friends or family are buying something for your baby, let them know what you need.
  • Partner time: Try to take out time for each other, even if it is just to talk for a few minutes and spend time alone with your partner. Initially, you may be able to squeeze each other into your schedules for only a few minutes, but gradually, as your baby grows older, you will have more time for one another.
  • Different parenting styles: Accept that the two of you may have different views on parenting and try to work together to reach a consensus. Just remember, no one parent is right and the other wrong.
  • Intimacy and sex: If you do not wish to have sex after baby, discuss it with your partner and let them know what is on your mind. You could instead try other ways of being intimate, like cuddling or holding hands.
  • Discuss the change in routine: Acknowledge that there have been significant changes in the dynamics of the relationship with your baby’s arrival. Starting with simple things like discussing how your day went will help in building understanding with your partner.
  • Father-baby time: New fathers can offer to spend time alone with their babies so their partners can get a break. This will help them develop a father-child bond.
  • Seek help: The help and advice from grandparents, friends, and relatives can be a boon for new couples. Ask for help and practice self-care when you feel like you need it.
  • Professional help: If you feel the need, seek relationship counselling to improve your marriage. 

All the changes in your life brought on by the arrival of your baby may lead to some hiccups in your relationship with your spouse, but discussing them with one another and seeking appropriate help will go a long way towards having a successful marriage. 


References:

  1. About Kids Health. Relationship stress after having a baby [2009]. 
  2. NPR. To keep marriage healthy when baby comes, share housework [2011].
  3. NCT. Changes in your relationships after having a baby 

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