6 Tips to Help Your Marriage Survive a New Baby

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by: Lindsay Hutton
Having a baby is wonderful, but it can (and will!) put a whole slew of new stresses on your relationship with your partner. When the going gets tough, follow these tips to help your marriage survive those stressful newborn months.
Family Hands and Newborn Feet
Have Realistic Expectations
Raging hormones. Lack of sleep. Your preoccupation with your baby's eating and pooping schedule. No sex for six weeks. A messy house. It's no wonder a new baby can put a strain on even the strongest relationship! Have an honest conversation with your partner about what to expect from each other during the first few months, and realize that life with a newborn can be chaotic, messy, and stressful — but it also doesn't last forever.
New Mom Holding Crying Baby with Partner in Background
Try Not to Criticize
The day-to-day stress of becoming a new parent can add up, and it can be very easy to take your frustrations out on your partner. Becoming a new parent has a huge learning curve, and everyone has their own special way of doing it. As you settle into your new role, try not to criticize your partner if he doesn't do something exactly the way you would. Remember — different doesn't necessarily mean wrong. Try to be appreciative of the fact that he is trying his best (just like you are, Mom!), but not everything will always be done perfectly.
Happy African American Couple Smiling Sitting on Couch
Schedule Alone Time
Having a baby changes your life, but it doesn't change who you are as a person. Although the baby is the new center of your universe, it's still important to try to schedule time every day to talk about what else is going on in your lives. Talking about your new bundle of joy might be a favorite topic of conversation for both of you, but make sure to also talk about other aspects of your day — your job, your hobby, how you are feeling. Scheduling time to talk about how the two of you are individually, even if it's while you're doing mountains of laundry or washing the never-ending pile of baby bottles, will help maintain your identity as a couple, not just your identity as new parents.
Young Dad Smiling with New Baby
Ask for Help
You don't need to be Super Mom, and assuming too much responsibility will only make you resentful. Come up with a plan to balance household chores and baby tasks, such as taking turns with early-morning wake ups, laundry, and dishes. Communicating what you need help with and having a plan in place will allow both of you to focus on your baby without feeling like you have a million other things that need to get done. And don't turn down help from outside sources — if family and friends offer to help, say yes!

Don't forget to let Dad assume some baby duties, too! Although you might be the only one who can feed the baby if you are breastfeeding, your husband can help out with diaper duty, naptime, and bottle feedings. It's nice to have a little break, plus it's the perfect opportunity for Dad to bond with your family's new addition.

Smiling Happy Couple in Bed
Remain Intimate
Even if sex wasn't off the table for the first six weeks, sleep deprivation alone will most likely make a nap seem much more appealing than getting frisky under the sheets. Luckily, there are other simple physical ways to stay intimate with your spouse — a simple back rub, holding hands, a lingering hug, or even a make-out session will help keep the spark alive and remind you of the love and affection you have for each other.

When you are cleared to "do the deed," and you feel up to it, make it a priority. Scheduling sex might seem unromantic, but making it a part of your usual routine will help keep you connected and ensure you're making time for each other. It's important to note that many women take much longer to have a sex drive after giving birth, so make sure to keep the lines of communication open and let your spouse know how you are feeling.

Smiling New Parents Holding Newborn Baby
Appreciate Little Gestures
Grand romantic gestures will most definitely fall by the wayside when you have a new baby at home — who has time for that when you've got a demanding little person who requires all of your time? Appreciate the little things that your spouse does — whether it's getting up in the morning with the baby so you can get an extra hour of sleep, washing and sanitizing the pile of bottles in the sink, or taking your other kids to the park so you can have some quiet time. Little gestures add up, and a heartfelt thank you can go a long way in letting your husband know how much you appreciate everything he does, big and small.