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Keeping Your Relationship Strong After the Birth of Your Baby
- One or both partners feeling so tired that they have little interest in sex
- One partner having more interest in sex than the other
- Sexual conflicts or increased arousal with breastfeeding
- Interrupted lovemaking
- Postpartum depression
Defining Parental Roles
- Accept that you will probably feel overwhelmed by your new responsibilities. Most new mothers feel the same way.
- At times, you will probably feel unappreciated, resentful, envious, or even scared. Do not keep these feelings inside. Make time to talk calmly and openly with your partner about how you are feeling and to ask for help and emotional support.
- Encourage your partner to help you care for your baby. Be supportive of his help, even when he does not do things the way you would like them done. Make it a point to thank him for helping and to tell him how much this means to you.
- Look for the humor in your new experiences—it will help make the rough times smoother.
- Be sure that you and your partner schedule some regular time to be together each day, even if it is not much.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your partner. Your partner needs to know what you are feeling and how to help. At the same time, your partner needs your support. If you want to talk, try to schedule it at a time when your partner is not overwhelmed and exhausted, such as after being up all night with a crying baby. It may be best to schedule time to talk when the baby has gone to bed or when someone else is watching the baby. If you are feeling frustrated and stressed, talk about your feelings instead of blaming or criticizing your partner.
- If you are worried about finances and feel the need to work longer and harder at your job, communicate this to your partner. Although you may feel this pressure, it is important to balance work and home life until a routine is established. Try to work your normal day and go home to pitch in. Once things even out, you can discuss working longer.
- It is normal to feel a bit awkward handling your new baby. However, the more you participate in caring for your baby, the easier it will get and the more comfortable you will feel.
- Look for opportunities to help out. Holding and cuddling your new baby will help establish an important bond. Help your partner with diaper changing and bottle-feeding, and be supportive and encouraging if your partner decides to breastfeed.
- If your partner has been trying to comfort a crying baby for a while, offer to hold and comfort the baby yourself, or help with some of the other chores to ease your partner's burden. Keep in mind that your partner may be feeling exhausted and unappreciated, especially during the first 3 months. Find opportunities to relieve your partner's burdens and be sure to show your appreciation.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
- Review Date: 10/2017
- Update Date: 12/03/2015