Women's Healthcare Topics

5 Ways Your Relationship May Change after having a Baby

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Dates Change from Movies to Trips for Diapers

It was fun while you were dating. You and your partner were in tune with each other and perhaps you both enjoyed a lot of the same outings, whether it was going out to dinner or baseball games. After a baby comes along, the opportunities to continue these fun adventures does change a lot. Instead of going out for drinks, you go to playgrounds. To some people, this change is welcome, while others miss the “old” days.

The best way to keep that spark alive is to continue having a date night. If you can’t do it once a week, plan at least once a month spending some one-on-one time with your mate (and without the baby). Try to talk about each other instead of obsessing about your little one, although it can be difficult as new parents. It is important to maintain the bond that helped you create a baby in the first place, so if anyone offers to babysit for a few hours, take them up on it!

You are too tired to make love.
Exhaustion is perfectly normal when a baby first arrives. Newborns often wake up to be fed every three to four hours, which can take its toll on your sleep schedule. The best way to manage this is to take “shifts” if at all possible. If one of you is a night owl, the shift would be any feedings required up until 2:30 a.m., for example. Anytime the baby cries after 2:30 a.m., the other parent who is more of a morning person can manage those feedings.

Get sleep while you can in between by going to bed at a reasonable hour. If you are used to going to bed very late, you might have to push back your schedule, and vice versa, to squeeze in those extra hours. As far as intercourse goes, of course the first six months to a year may be difficult, so get those quickies in while you can, but you can resume a somewhat normal intimacy level after the baby starts sleeping longer hours. This does happen after the first year.

You feel frustrated by your mate’s parenting skills.
One of the biggest complaints by new mothers is that their partners do not help out enough with the household chores. Babies are messy, and so are children. Your once-pristine house might look like a tornado came through and shredded the entire place, even though you cleaned it an hour ago!

You are going to have to come to terms with the fact that your house will never look the same – at least until your child starts school – however you can ask your spouse to do more to help. It can be frustrating after taking care of a baby all day and night to then have extra laundry, dishes, cooking, baby baths, dusting, sweeping, mopping and a list of endless tasks.

Give him some chores. Some men don’t realize your private frustration, but if you keep these feelings inside, you will burst with resentment and anger. Men are not always as in tune with the parenting requirement, but they can learn. As another “Dad” friend of your mate to perhaps have a heart-to-heart talk so that it is coming from another man, rather than seeming like a nagging wife.

Learn about your relationship after giving birth.

Babies are expensive.
What does this have to do with you and your partner’s relationship? A lot. Financial problems top the list of difficulties in a marriage. Stress of taking care of a baby weighs heavily upon many families and especially to the main provider of a household. This can cause your relationship much stress.

Before the baby came along, as a couple you were able to do more and have more expendable income for “fun things” but now formula, diapers, doctors’ appointments, toys, cribs, bottles, baby clothes and all of these things come first. This is another sore point for families, especially if there is not enough for either the husband or wife to continue doing things for themselves they once enjoyed.

For example, a woman who once went to the nail or hair salon once a month might now have to paint her own nails or get less frequent visits to the salon. This is not always the case, but very often a woman also might have to take time off from work for maternity leave, which adds to this problem. The only way to get around this problem is to work together towards the same goals. Rather than arguing about where the money goes, you should sit down together and make a strategy.

Communication is critical, especially when it comes to finances in a marriage. Make sure you solidify “who” is responsible for “what” bills, and set aside a few dollars here and there just to splurge on oneself occasionally. These small slivers of happiness can go a long way to preserve a marriage.

Lust becomes friendship or partnership.
After you have been together for a long time, it becomes easy to take one another for granted. You already know what to expect, and the other person might even get on your nerves. Things between your relationships can become complacent, dull or even bothersome, which then leads to frustration and arguments. Try not to take one another for granted and to skip over the things that are most petty.

It is inevitable that your partner will do things that you find aggravating, but before you lash out, remember to choose your battles wisely. If what he is doing is not considered “major” mess ups, such as leaving whiskers in the sink after shaving, or not showing you enough attention, then try communicating with him first before you turn into one of those nagging wives. Especially after a baby comes along, the dynamic or your relationship will change, so remember to work together as a team, rather than against each other in frustration.


Doctor's Corner

Pregnancy Week by Week - Women's Healthcare Topics