Sex after a baby can be a challenge for couples to overcome. Sex often goes from something that used to be easy, fun, frequent and spontaneous to something that is now difficult and on a to-do list.
According to medical doctor Hilda Hutcherson, "90% of new parents experience a significant decline in relationship satisfaction."
So, in the midst of all of this, how do couples stay happy and connected? How do couples begin to have a normal sex life again when everything revolves around the new life in the home? It is important for parents to be a wee bit selfish and attend to their own needs.
Below are five tips to staying connected.
1. Go on frequent dates
Schedule a date night once a week if possible. This doesn't need to be lengthy or fancy; it can merely be going out for ice cream or grabbing a burger and talking about things other than the baby. Express your hopes, dreams and goals.
Share, connect and talk the way you used to with your partner.
2. Practice self-care
Self-care is what we do to help us unwind and decompress. It is different for each individual. These activities can be done in small doses - 10 minutes is better than no time at all.
Self-care helps us manage our anxiety; and, ultimately, we are better partners when we are calmer and at peace. We are better equipped to deal with the demands and stresses of daily life, especially the demands that come from the birth of a baby.
3. Be gentle and kind
When couples are sleep-deprived and have less time for themselves, they can easily be critical of their partners.
According to the famous couples researcher Dr. John Gottman, gentleness and kindness are the antidote to being critical of our partners.
Compliment your partner and focus on the things he or she is doing well. It will benefit your partner and your relationship and provide you with a more positive outlook.
4. Connect daily
Find ways to connect with each other every day. This can be through a little text or love note that says, "I'm thinking about you" or "I love and appreciate you."
Dr. Gottman encourages couples to have "rituals of connection." One of these rituals is the six-second kiss, where you are to kiss your partner for six seconds when you depart each morning, when you return home each day and before you go to sleep each night.
Connect with your partner on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis in ways that are meaningful to you both. This will nourish your relationship.
5. Make time for sex
The reality is the more busy your lives are, the harder it is to find time for each other. Couples need to learn to make sex a priority in their lives. If sex is left up to chance or put at the end of a to-do list, most likely it won't happen. We schedule everything else that is important in our lives; why would we not schedule something as important as this?
Intimacy with your husband or wife is the one thing that separates this relationship from all others. It is an emotional, spiritual and physical connection unlike anything else you have.
And just because the timing may not be spontaneous, doesn't mean the act can't be. You can be as spontaneous as you want during each intimate experience. Be creative and have fun with it.
Dr. Hutcherson reports, "In the end, a happy child is part of a happy family, and at the heart of that happy family are two parents who are connected, loving and intimate. Becoming a parent doesn't mean becoming selfless, it means becoming selfish about the things that really matter: like your sex life."