Welcoming a new member of the family is an exciting time, but it can put strain on even the strongest relationship. While your bundle of joy is the centre of attention, it's important to remember yourself and your partner, and make extra effort to spend quality time together.
Here are a few suggestions to maintaining a healthy relationship after having a baby.
1. Help each other out
It can be all too easy to assign tasks when you first bring your new baby home, but you might find joining forces is much more effective. If you both have specific duties, the chances are you won't spend as much time together. Bringing up baby should be a team effort, so use it as an opportunity to become closer, not further apart.
2. Keep lines of communication open
A busy schedule can mean it's difficult to communicate with your partner, which can lead to problems for your relationship. Every new parent is under pressure, but it's how you deal with it that's important. Research shows women generally deal with stressful situations by talking about them, whereas men's natural reaction is to retreat. Make sure you are willing to communicate with each other and you will both feel the benefit.
3. Choose a date night - and stick to it
Spending time together away from the children is a great way to keep your relationship alive. A poll carried out by One Plus One found as many as 10 per cent of couples believe their lifestyle changes had a negative impact on the bond with their partner after the birth of a child. Setting a date night each month will make sure you have an opportunity to reconnect, and have a life beyond looking after the youngest members of your family.
4. Get enough sleep
Sleep often takes a back seat when you have children, but the fact is it's more important than ever. The National Sleep Foundation recommends between seven and nine hours per night for adults. But if your new baby has other ideas, take it in turns to nap during the day, or sleep when your baby is sleeping. A lack of shut-eye will leave you both feeling tired and irritable, which is only likely to increase the chances of arguments.
5. Maintain contact with friends
It's important you don't lose touch with your social circle after having a baby. It's tempting to stay home when you don't have the energy to go out in the evening. However, taking a break from the day-to-day routine and catching up with shared friends could be just what you and your partner need.