by Zara Mohammed, Relationships Columnist
Published in Relationships on 3rd April, 2019
You've made a beautiful baby with your partner, but now you're worrying that your relationship is suffering because of the little bundle of joy that is draining you of all of your energy, not to mention your sex life. Keep reading to find out how to keep your relationship strong after having a baby.
You might think that you are spending plenty of time together, but spending time and spending quality time are two very different things.
Quality time in a relationship is the time spent together that makes you feel closer to each other and more bonded. It doesn't matter how long you spend sharing quality time with your partner, it is more important that you do it frequently.
This is what quality time in a relationship with a baby looks like:
This might seem obvious and ludicrous at the same time. You've just had a baby, sleep is out of the question. But it's not. Sleep is now a team effort and you both have to support each other to make sure you are each getting the sleep you need to stay healthy and positive.
When you don't get enough sleep you have less energy, which can lead to less patience and arguments.
Not getting enough sleep can make you feel more sensitive or emotional on top of everything else, and that might mean that you take things to heart more or overthink things and end up upset. All of this adds up and puts a barrier between you and your partner.
So work together to help each other get enough sleep and maintain the intimacy in your relationship. You will need to focus on clear communication and good planning.
Don't make decision in the moment when you have been woken up in the middle of the night by the baby, instead plan ahead and decide what the plan is so that when it happens you both know what is expected, and you have both decided that it is fair, so nobody ends up feeling resentful.
If you are at home looking after the baby you have to be clever and make sure that when the baby sleeps, you sleep too if you can.
Don' forget to reach out to friends and family if you need some support as there are usually eager people willing to look after you bundle of joy for a few hours so that you can catch up on some shut eye and feel refreshed.
It goes without saying that talking is a major part of every healthy, successful mature relationship. It's surprising how many people revert to bickering, or one-sided talking though.
When you talk with your partner, and when you genuinely listen to each other, you strengthen your trust and your bond. It is the most important thing, because we all want to feel valued, heard, and understood.
When your partner respects you enough to truly listen to your problems and feelings, you can feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders.
But talking isn't the same as venting. If you have something you need to talk about make sure that you are approaching the conversation with a view to actually find a solution, because there is nothing more frustrating that wanting to help someone with their issues when they are being zero receptive to all of your attempts to support them.
If you do need to vent it's probably best to save it for your mum or your best friends.
It is also important to have a balance though, so try to recognise the difference if your partner is just wanting to vent, or maybe even agree between you that when you want to vent, you simply state that you want to vent, so that you can both be on the same level.
The last thing you want to do when you have had a baby and you are always feeling tired, is have sex. It can be tempting to get lazy and not make the effort you used to make in the bedroom department, but this is a mistake.
A good sex life is what helps to maintain the physical intimacy between you and your partner, and this can be even more important after you have had a baby because it is more common for people to feel unattractive or neglected.
Physical intimacy isn't just about having full on sex though. It can be as simple as remembering to be tactile with each other, to make each other feel loved and wanted, and remind your partner that you still desire them.
Talk openly about your sex life, especially if it has changed dramatically. It is important to be open and honest with each other so that you can both understand what is going on. It can take the pressure off, while still reassuring each other that sex is still on the cards when it feels right.
Sometimes people's sex lives are affected after having a baby because the timing is thrown off. Suddenly you might find that the times you are used to being intimate simply aren't convenient anymore.
So you may have to think about when the best times for you both to be intimate are. It might be at random times in the afternoon, in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning. Experiment and find out what your new sex o'clock is.