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Time Out for Us Nurturing relationships (part 2) - You and your partner Nurturing relationships after the birth

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You and your partner Nurturing relationships after the birth

The arrival of a baby can put a strain on relationships, since a couple may shower attention on their baby, but neglect each other. It's important therefore to make time for each other.

  • Arrange a babysitter and spend an evening out together to focus on your relationship and to rekindle feelings for each other. Surprise your partner by reserving a table at your favorite restaurant.

  • If you're worried about your relationship, remember that your circumstances aren't unique; keep communicating, finding quiet time to talk when your baby has settled down.

Rebuilding intimacy Sex after birth

Having sex can be a daunting prospect after giving birth. You may be feeling unsexy, tired, and uncomfortable from stitches, and your partner may be unsure about when to initiate sex. It's best to ease slowly back into lovemaking.

  • Don't launch immediately back into penetrative sex. Spend time first simply caressing and massaging each other.

  • You may experience more vaginal dryness as a result of hormonal changes, in which case, using a lubricant can help make lovemaking more comfortable.

  • Be open with each other about your feelings to avoid resentment and misunderstanding.

Relationships after birth

It's common for one or both partners to feel neglected after the birth, and the constant demands of a new baby can put a strain on the best of relationships. For the mother, it's easy to feel unattractive since her body takes time to return to its pre-pregnancy state. Both partners can feel inhibited by the presence of a baby in the house—probably in your own room—and are likely to be exhausted from weeks of broken sleep. Fathers often feel that all the mother's attention is now directed toward the baby, and they can sometimes begin to feel like an onlooker, expected to be supportive throughout. To ensure that your relationship remains strong, communicate constantly. It's vital that you recognize each other's needs and try to spend some time focusing on each other and being attentive to your partner.

Time alone:

You may be too exhausted to even contemplate sex, but simply being affectionate toward each other and maintaining a language of intimacy will help your relationship to thrive.

NOTE

Human immunity is a marvelous process that works from birth and can protect even the tiniest of babies from illnesses

NOTE

Don't feel rushed into sexual relations. Try to see this as a time when you both need to find other ways to be loving

NOTE

It's good for you and your partner to take time out as a couple. Just a few hours at your favorite restaurant can make a difference

Finding a babysitter Time out with your partner

There are various options for finding a babysitter: advertising locally for a young person, hiring a nanny, joining a babysitting circle with local parents, or asking grandparents or other family members to babysit. Any babysitter should have spent some time with your baby so that they feel comfortable with them, understand their routines, likes and dislikes, allergies, and medical conditions. They should always have your contact details, and you should have theirs. As well as personal recommendations, checking references is essential. Most of all, trust your own instincts.

Enlisting the help of grandparents

Asking a grandparent to babysit can be a lovely way for them to build a relationship with grandchildren, and provides you with peace of mind. Bear in mind that today's grandparents have busy lives too!

Q: What other options are there?
A: Babysitting circles are an informal arrangement where parents take turns watching each other's children. Each time you babysit for another parent you earn credits, which are then spent when your children are being babysat. These babysitters tend to be other parents whom your children will know and will have children of their own, which could be an advantage. There are several ways you can find out about babysitting circles, for instance through your local place of worship, friends, community center, local preschools, or a local health clinic.

Whether you choose a babysitter from an agency or among acquaintances or even family, check references well and you could consider ordering a criminal background check online for a fee.

The help of grandparents:

Having involved grandparents can be an enormous help, allowing you to take time out knowing that your baby is receiving loving care.

Time out together:

Getting out as a couple and spending some quality time alone together is important to keep your relationship strong and maintain your identity as a couple.

Myths and misconceptions Is it true that…

Q: I'll lose all the baby weight if I breast-feed?
A: It's estimated that breast-feeding burns around 300 calories a day, so it certainly helps, but it's unlikely to make you magically return to your pre-pregnancy weight again! To give your body time to recover from labor and birth, wait six weeks or so before you think about weight loss. Be sure to eat sensibly, get regular exercise, and allow nature to do the rest.
Q: I should be able to fit into my old jeans?
A: Is it safe to lose weight so quickly after giving birth? Extreme dieting isn't healthy for a mom or her baby. If you're nursing, you need to take in a certain amount of vitamins, minerals, fat, and other nutrients to maintain the quality of your breast milk. So when you deprive yourself of nutrients, you're also depriving your baby. Plus, you have to remember that giving birth, while natural, is very traumatic for your body—you need time to heal. You shouldn't be pushing yourself to lose weight.
Q: Grandparents will babysit for us anytime, right?
A: Don't forget that grandparents still have their own lives, friends, and activities! Grandparents are usually very happy to babysit, but don't just assume they're always free, and don't use them as a drop-off point at any time of the day or night! Your parents will love taking care of your baby when you need a break, but don't take them for granted.
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