Becoming Parents: What It Means for Couples

Last Updated February 2021 | This article was created by editorial staff and reviewed by Leisa Bailey, MD

Having a baby changes many things at home, including your relationship with your partner. The following are some tips to help you keep your connection strong.

Path to well being

Work together and spend time together

Taking care of a baby is a 24-hour job, especially in the first few months. Between the feedings and the diaper changes, it can be hard to find time for yourself or each other. It helps to share the childcare responsibilities with your partner. This will help you appreciate one another. It also gives each of you a break.

In addition, it is important to spend time alone together as a couple. Try to connect with your partner each day, even for a few minutes. Plan a date every week or two, if possible. Ask a friend or relative to stay with the baby so that the two of you can go out. If you don’t have anyone to babysit, plan a date at home. When the baby goes to sleep, have a nice dinner or watch a movie.

Talk about your feelings

Having a new baby is a happy time, but it can be stressful. You will feel lots of emotions. Feelings like anger, jealousy, and sadness can build up when you have less time for each other. If you don’t work through these feelings together, they can hurt your relationship. Take the time to talk about your feelings with each other. Talk before bed or during a meal together while the baby is sleeping. Look for other chances to talk, such as doing chores together. If you find the time each day to reconnect, you’ll continue to strengthen your relationship.

Fight fair

Every couple has arguments, especially in stressful times. When you disagree, remember to fight fair. Be direct and honest when something bothers you. Do not call each other names or blame each other. Explain why you’re upset and how you think the problem should be handled. Listen to your partner’s feelings. And make up when the argument is over.

Try not to argue in front of your child. If you do, make sure you resolve the problem in front of them too. It’s important for children to know that their parents love each other. It also teaches them how to work out problems.

Things to consider

With all the changes of becoming parents, it’s important to adjust your expectations. If you can, try to prepare for these in advance. You can hire a housekeeper to do the chores. Ask friends and family to bring over pre-cooked meals. Create a schedule to help you stay organized. Making adjustments early on can decrease stress and help you and your partner get along.

When to see your doctor

If you and your partner are having trouble coping, contact your doctor. They may have resources or recommendations to help. Some parents benefit from group or family counseling. Contact your doctor right away if you notice signs of depression in yourself or your partner.