Every year, nearly four million babies are born in the United States. If you’re among those Americans who recently welcomed a newborn into your family, you’re in the midst of an exciting period in your life. However, sweet as they may be, babies are demanding of your time and attention, which can leave you with less energy to devote to your partner. It probably comes as no surprise that a survey of new parents showed that “romance” was one of the things they missed the most following the birth of their child. Read on to find out how to carve out valuable time for your loved one to keep the spark alive.
Create a Post-Work Ritual
Establishing a daily ritual that brings you and your partner together encourages a habit-forming pattern. This doesn’t have to be a huge time suck; it could be as simple as taking a walk together after work, ideally while your baby is asleep in their stroller. Outdoor napping has actually been proven to be beneficial for babies’ health.
While it might be difficult to commit to a daily task at first, give it time. Research has shown that it takes precisely 66 days to form a new habit to the point that it feels normal. What initially seems daunting will seem absolutely normal and necessary in just two months.
Do a Quick Intimacy Exercise
Physical intimacy can be recaptured with as little as five minutes of focused attention. Try looking into each other’s eyes, trading off on shoulder massages or foot rubs, cuddling on the couch, or simply enjoying a prolonged hug. Breathing exercises, in which you inhale and exhale in unison, are also a way to establish a bodily connection.
Intimacy isn’t just about sex. The key with such exercises is to tap into the power of skin-on-skin contact and attune yourself to your partner’s body, establishing harmony between the two of you. Check out this article, which provides step-by-step guidelines for an intimacy exercise that literally takes no more than five minutes.
Plan a Date Night
A date night strengthens your bond of friendship and your emotional connection — supporting the sentiment that your partner “has your back” when tough situations arise. This makes date night not a luxury but a necessity for a successful relationship, as this article from Psychology Today explains. Planning such time together is even more imperative for parents because their reliance on teamwork is greater.
If you need fresh ideas for your date night, consider going bowling or playing mini-golf to get your competitive juices flowing — or get crafty together with a wine-and-paint class. There’s also nothing wrong with a traditional dinner and a movie! Also, buying season tickets to a sporting or cultural event is a good way to ensure you stick to your date night, since you’ll have already made an investment.
Take a Nap Together
There’s no getting around it: Being a new parent is simply exhausting. Research published in the academic journal Sleep has actually shown that new parents experience disruptions in their nightly rest for up to six years after a baby is born. Not getting enough Zs doesn’t just leave you feeling tired, it also has negative repercussions for your health. Chronic sleep loss contributes to high blood pressure and a weakened immune system, among other issues.
When your baby snatches some sleep, seize the opportunity and join them — with your partner by your side. You benefit from both the physical connection a shared nap brings as well as the added rest incorporated into your day. This small act will further help you stay connected as you continue on the journey of parenthood together.
Guest Post by Emily Graham
Photo Credit: Pexels