Tips for New Parents
Becoming a parent is probably one of the biggest changes to your relationship since you got together. It is a period of change, of new things and, of course, sleepless nights.
Many people who have problems later in their relationship can trace it back to unresolved issues when they had their children.
All shapes and sizes
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your family looks like, a new baby will mean change for everyone. Take time to introduce children to their new sibling or stepsibling.
In the early days when you are both tired, you spend time taking turns to look after your new baby, and giving each other a break to sleep, shower, etc. Be careful that this doesn’t develop into your pattern – you need quality time together as adults, and as a couple.
Love your baby more than your partner? The intensity of the love you feel for your new baby might feel greater than the love you have for your partner. This is normal – you haven’t fallen out of love with your partner, it’s just your body’s way of helping you connect with your baby.
Ups and downs
Hormonal changes and sleep deprivation can lead to high emotions. Watch out for snapping, criticising, and blaming each other. Be patient with each other and listen to each other’s perspective. Look out for ways to make each other feel included, less overwhelmed, and more confident.
Sex after child birth
Allow your sex life time to recover. Childbirth creates body changes! For some it’s a sensual experience; for others, it’s an exhausting and bruising one. With time and patience sex will be fun again; you just might need to do a little more planning.
Babies are expensive
How can something so small cost so much? Financial pressures are a source of stress within all relationships. Talk about what you need to buy and what can be borrowed from friends and family. Talk about your finances and how you can realistically manage your budget.
Looking after baby
There can be a change in the balance of your relationship if one person is staying at home to look after the baby. Be sensitive, talk about how this feels, and find ways to share responsibilities. For more tips on bringing up baby and making your relationship work, visit our Bonding with Baby page.
What’s my name?
It’s not just the inevitable post-birth memory loss! You are now Mum or Dad, but remember those times before you had your beautiful baby when you had your own identity. Take time with each other to be yourselves – to be ‘just us’.
Having a baby doesn’t change the problems which might have already existed in your relationship. If you have underlying problems in your relationship, we recommend accessing support early.
Everyone has an opinion on what to do with your baby. Enthusiastic advice can be overwhelming and sound like interference. Be clear about what you want and what your new family needs.
Time to listen
Take time out to talk about how things have changed since your baby arrived. People often deal differently with change and the upheaval it brings with it, and that’s OK. Not everyone can be a ‘good talker’ but being a good listener can make all the difference.
If you have any worries or concerns about your relationship, we’re here to support you. For support now, call our Relationship Helpline on 0808 802 2088.