Intimacy is a two-way street — but you could argue that in the early days of caring for a newborn, it goes three ways: you, partner and baby.
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This bundleful of soft-skinned, squirmy joy and wonderment shakes up everyone’s world. Those tiny toes. The kicking feet. The round-the-clock rotation of feeding, changing diapers and (hopefully) sleeping.
For most of us, it’s a wonderful, physically demanding time.
As you and your partner work out the breakdown of duties, it’s important to make a little space for each other, suggests clinical psychologist Dana Brendza, PsyD.
“Don’t underestimate the power of small, caring gestures at this time. Some thoughtfulness can help keep you and your partner in sync and can help create a place for romance,” she says.
If you’re the man in this relationship hoping to encourage quality time with your partner, here are some suggestions:
- Move the obstacles. Take over some duties for the evening that your partner usually handles. Maybe it’s bathing the baby or doing the dishes. This not only opens up time, but it can help her relax. If you see she’s exhausted and can give her time for a nap, this is another way to show you care.
- Make arrangements. Talk to your partner about having a few hours for a break together. If she’s breastfeeding, see if she can pump breast milk for a later feeding. Arrange for a babysitter. You could bring dinner in so there’s no need to cook.
- Consider simple getaways. If you and your partner need to get out of the house, there are ways to make it happen. Only have an hour with a sitter? Consider visiting a coffee shop together. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside, enjoy a cup of coffee and spend some quiet time together. Don’t have a sitter? Try an evening walk together with the baby in the stroller.
- Appreciate her body. Show appreciation for her body, which carried this baby you both love so much. Be reassuring that you still find her sexy.
It can take some creativity to find intimate time with a partner after a baby is born. If you find small moments together, it can help strengthen your relationship. Bonding rituals like reading time as a family can help you relax together before you put your baby to sleep. Perhaps you can then retreat for couples’ time.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to intimacy, is that it starts with open communication. Work to understand your own as well as your partner’s needs.