Having a new baby is one of the most beautiful and challenging things my relationship has been through. After our son was born, my husband and I felt like passing ships in the night. Our relationship was more akin to roommates than spouses. This created an environment ripe for petty fights and arguments over chores, child-rearing, and intimacy.
I want to assure you that as time passed, our relationship went back to normal (well, a new normal). But it still takes work every day. After you have a baby, you have to juggle so many balls. Things like your physical health, mental health, baby’s well-being, taking care of any pets you have, keeping your house in order, etc. It’s easy for your partner’s needs to fall to the wayside. There is no way to juggle all of those balls at once without one or a few that may drop.
Being intentional about helping your partner feel special, loved, helpful, and needed after you have a baby will go a long way to re-building your new relationship as partners who are now parents!
Ways to Help Your Partner Feel Special After Having a Baby
Here are some ideas to help your partner feel special, loved, and helpful after having a baby.
1. Plan a date night, even if you cannot go right away.
Having something special to look forward to, just the two of you, will make it feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s so easy to get lost in the day-to-day busyness of having a newborn. It always helps to have something to look forward to! Even a date night at home would be a nice change of pace in these uncertain times. Order in a nice charcuterie board and bottle of wine, and play a board game or watch a favorite movie while the baby sleeps!
2. Make a chores list.
Having a list will allow your partner to take care of chores inside and outside the house. It will alleviate what might be perceived as ‘nagging’ them to get stuff done. Crossing items off of a list will help them feel a sense of satisfaction. Having the chores outlined for them to do on their own time will help them feel more in control of the situation. You can also let them know if something is more urgent! I find that barking orders at my husband is ineffective and one of the fastest ways for him to shut down. But a list gives him ownership!
3. Feeding baby.
If you are breastfeeding, or even if you aren’t, make sure your partner has an opportunity to bottle feed the baby on occasion. Feeding your baby is such a special bonding moment. Allow your partner the chance to spend that quiet, one-on-one time with your baby.
4. Choose a task just for them to do with the baby.
A great example of this is bath time. That task can be your partner’s alone unless they ask for help. One of my worst traits as the mom of a newborn was correcting my husband in absolutely everything he did with our son. Giving them ownership of a task allows them to navigate the task on their own, without fear of micromanagement.
5. Keep open lines of communication.
While it’s critical for mom’s mental and physical health to have her needs met by others during the precious time that is the 4th trimester, your partner also has needs and emotions that need to be fulfilled. Keep the lines of communication open so you can both share what you need without any repercussions.
6. Prioritize intimacy when you are able.
You’ll have to wait until your 6-8 weeks postpartum visit to be cleared for sex (and trust me, you want to wait even if you feel ready. It takes that long for your insides to heal!). However, if and when you do feel ready, there are other creative ways to be intimate with your partner. Intimacy is one of the best ways to connect with your partner and help them feel loved and wanted.
7. Make time for each other as individuals.
After having a baby, it is so easy to get lost in the identities of “mom” or “dad.” Remember what your partner enjoyed doing on their own before the baby arrived. Make space for them to do those things on occasion and within reason! Having a baby is such a huge adjustment. Doing simple things such as getting my nails done alone, or taking a luxurious bath, made a massive difference in my mental health. Those types of things (like a golf game with his buddies) made all the difference for my husband as well.
Remember that the birth of a child and the newborn days can be one of the most challenging parts of a relationship. You are not alone in this. Taking the time to prioritize your mental and physical well-being is important. But don’t forget to do the same for your partner! Using some of these tips in your daily life will make all the difference in making your partner feel special and helpful after the baby arrives.