It’s no secret that during the first few months after a baby is born, mom and dad are exhausted. On top of late night feedings and the newness of everything, it can be challenging to still have time and energy left for each other—which can add that much more to your stress. Here’s how to thrive as a couple throughout this period and be stronger and happier together as a result.
Let things go
It’s a simple fact of life that babies are demanding. They don’t sleep in regular patterns right away, and they require help with feedings, diaper changes, and so forth. It’s a taxing time for moms and dads, and many parents end up running themselves ragged. However, it’s an ideal time to let some things go. Let the dishes set in the sink, the bed go unmade, and the laundry pile up. Instead, put your energy into tending to your little one, to your health, and to each other.
Do a date night
When you have a baby, taking time out to focus on each other can quickly fall by the wayside. Instead of letting that happen, consider instituting a date night. Even if you just stay in, settling down, doing something special, and enjoying each other’s company can help you remain connected. Consider popping popcorn and watching a movie, getting your favorite takeout, or having friends in for a game night.
Getting out is a terrific option, too, especially if one of you (or both) spends most waking hours tending to the baby. Even if only for a couple of hours, ask a family member or friend to stay with the baby so you can do something together. Go to a movie, get a couples massage, or savor a nice meal. It’s a chance to communicate, relax, bond, and show one another how much you are both appreciated.
Catch more z’s
New parents tend to be easy to spot. They typically walk around like zombies with bags under their bloodshot eyes; yet even though that’s common, it’s not good for you. Sleep is a basic necessity for maintaining wellness, and when you’re deprived, Healthline explains it can lead to serious consequences. Too little sleep can contribute to health issues, such as hypertension, reduced immunity, and weight gain. It also can inhibit memory function, make you moody, and make it hard to focus—it’s easy to see how that could impact your relationship, along with everything else!
Even if you take turns with your bundle of joy, chances are neither of you are getting more than a few hours of sleep at a time. With that in mind, consider amping up the nap sessions to catch some extra shuteye. Naps can help counteract much of your sleep deprivation, boosting immunity, improving alertness, and encouraging staying power.
Many people struggle to sleep during the daytime, sleeping too lightly or not at all. If that happens, try addressing your sleep environment so the room is quiet, cool, and dark, and avoid foods and beverages that are more apt to keep you awake.
Have a conversation
Babies bring bliss to couples, but there is also a great deal of stress new moms and dads face. It’s easy to feel like you’re disconnected and drifting apart, and feel like the workload is unbalanced. Because it’s such a stressful time, The Gottman Institute recommends taking a break every day for a stress-reducing conversation. Talk about things that are worrying you, discuss what your fears are, and identify your frustrations. Express empathy toward each other, be supportive, and remind each other you’re a team.
At times, babies challenge even the happiest of couples. Ensure you set aside time to date, get sufficient sleep, talk together, and support one another. It’s time to focus on the important things in life, and that’s you and your whole family.
*Written by special guest blogger Emily Graham
Please visit her website for more at mightymoms.net
Image courtesy of Unsplash