How to Keep a Healthy Relationship After Having a Baby: 7 Tips for Communication, Connection, & Intimacy

How to Keep a Healthy Relationship After Having a Baby: 7 Tips for Communication, Connection, & Intimacy

This article is sponsored by Ritual, a couples therapy alternative, and supporter of Peanut and women alike.

Feeling disconnected after baby? You’re not alone! Reignite communication & intimacy with your partner, with a little help from our friends at Ritual.
Let’s be honest — babies are adorable and amazing, but they can also wreck your date night.

We all know parenthood is a beautiful adventure filled with snuggles, giggles, and enough diaper changes to make you question your sanity.

But let’s face it, between the endless feedings, the never-ending laundry pile, and the ever-present exhaustion, keeping the spark alive with your partner can feel like an uphill struggle.

If you’re feeling a major disconnect from your partner after the baby arrived, you’re definitely not alone.

In fact, relationship problems after having a baby are about as common as spit-up on a onesie.

And hey, there’s no shame in that!

That’s why, with the help of our friends at Ritual, we’re here to talk about it, dish out some real (and actionable) tips to help you reconnect with your partner, and remind you that a thriving relationship is possible after welcoming your new babe.

Do couples drift apart after having a baby?

The short answer is yes, it’s incredibly common.

Studies show that around 67% of couples experience a decline in relationship satisfaction in the first three years of parenthood. [1]

This can manifest in a few ways that might look familiar:

  • The “roommate phase” after baby: Suddenly, conversations revolve around diaper changes and feeding schedules. Romance takes a backseat, and you might feel more like roommates co-parenting than passionate partners.
  • Feeling disconnected from your husband: The exhaustion of new parenthood can make emotional intimacy a distant memory. You might struggle to connect on a deeper level, leading to feelings of disconnection and resentment.
  • Postpartum resentment and disappointment: Let’s be honest, sometimes the division of labor isn’t equal. You might feel neglected by your husband, leading to resentment. And your partner might be feeling sexually frustrated or disappointed that things haven’t “bounced back” as quickly as they’d hoped.

Why do relationships struggle after a baby?

There’s a reason why sleep deprivation and relationship struggles practically go hand-in-hand after a baby arrives.

But it goes deeper than that.

There are actually lots of reasons why many couples have relationship problems after having a baby:

  • Exhaustion is the enemy of romance: Newborns have a knack for demanding attention around the clock. And when you’re running on fumes, cuddling on the couch with your partner might not be at the top of your priority list.
  • Shifting roles and responsibilities: Suddenly, you’re not just partners, you’re parents (😱). This major adjustment can lead to confusion about roles and responsibilities, and maybe even a little resentment if the workload feels unfairly divided (which, let’s face it, it usually is).
  • Goodbye, spontaneity: Remember those pre-baby days when you could grab dinner and a movie on a whim? Yeah, those might be on hold for a while. The rigid structure of baby schedules can leave little room for quality time.
  • You’re not the priority anymore: You and your partner love each other, of course, and you’re there for each other, but not in the same way. And baby will take precedence most of the time — after all, they’re totally new to this world, and they need some help with… well, everything.

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Why do I feel disconnected from my partner after baby?

Feeling disconnected from your partner after having a baby is a totally normal experience, mama.

Here’s what might be contributing to that feeling of disconnect:

  • Your “new normal” is anything but normal: Becoming parents throws everything you know about your routine and relationship out the window. You’re sleep-deprived, your hormones are all over the place, and your entire focus shifts to this tiny human being. It’s hard to feel close to your partner when you’re barely hanging on yourself!
  • Hormones, hormones, hormones: Your hormone levels have some time before they get back to normal — and while they’re fluctuating, they can exacerbate feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, and disappointment. [2]
    It probably doesn’t look like what you imagined: Maybe you envisioned those first few months after baby as a cozy, romantic time with your partner. The reality might be far less glamorous. If your partner hasn’t stepped up in the way you expected, your support system aren’t able to help out as much, or if baby isn’t settling in like you’d hoped, disappointment can definitely contribute to feeling disconnected.
  • Postpartum depression, anxiety, rage, and psychosis: Around 10% of women experience postpartum anxiety, 1 in 7 experience postpartum depression, and up to 81% of women can experience some type of postpartum psychiatric disorder. All of these conditions can contribute to feelings of disconnect — from your partner, your family, your new baby, even yourself. [3,4,5]
  • Communication breakdown: Between endless feedings, diaper changes, and figuring out this whole parenting thing, couples communication falls by the wayside. Misunderstandings can fester, and before you know it, the emotional distance just keeps growing.

Our friends at Ritual understand the challenges as well as we do, which is why they’re dedicated to helping couples communicate more effectively.

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How to reconnect with partner after baby

This all sounds pretty “doom and gloom”, but it doesn’t have to!

The good news is that there are ways to reconnect with your partner and strengthen your bond as a couple after having a baby.

In fact, Naomi Dardik, Ritual’s Head of Experts told us: “Many couples don’t realize how normal it is to struggle with loneliness, anxiety and resentment after becoming parents. We help our members learn how to use these feelings as a starting point for reconnection, confidence and collaborative partnership which is good for them, their marriage and their kids.”

So here are some proven techniques to show you how to get out of the roommate phase after having a baby:

Open communication is key: Talk to your partner! Express your needs and frustrations honestly (and try to listen to theirs!).
Prioritize quality time (even if it’s just 15 minutes!): Steal moments for connection, even if it’s just a quick cuddle on the couch or a shared cup of coffee.

  • Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or a therapist if you’re struggling. Remember, postpartum depression can also impact relationships. If you suspect this might be a factor, talk to your doctor.
  • Explore online marriage counseling: Many resources offer affordable online therapy, making couples counseling more accessible than ever before. Ritual is a great option for postpartum couples counseling, with 94% of users left feeling less anxious about their relationship challenges after starting their sessions.
  • Small gestures matter big time: A little goes a long way! Leave a sweet note for your partner on the coffee pot. Offer to give them a back rub after a long day. Talk to them about how little things like this can help bring you closer together, so they can get in on it, too. These small gestures show you care and can reignite that feeling of connection.
  • Be patient: Your personalities might have shifted after becoming parents. Be patient and understanding with yourself and your partner.
    Remember, you’re both on the same team: Support and encourage each other! Acknowledge that you’re both adjusting to this new normal, and work together to navigate the challenges and celebrate the victories (big and small!). It’s not a competition to see who’s “better”, it’s a team effort.

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How postpartum couples counseling can help

If you’re struggling with relationship issues after having a baby, couples counseling could be just the thing to bring you closer together.

Not sure where to start? Our friends at Ritual offer online marriage counseling to help you get back on the same page with your partner, build a stronger relationship, and create a happy, thriving family — together.

It’s loved by many moms (and their partners) in our Peanut Community, and with good reason:

  • It fits into your schedules: Unlike traditional therapy sessions, Ritual offers bite-sized exercises and activities you can do whenever you want, 24/7, even in those precious stolen moments between nap times.
  • Work on your relationship, together or separately: Maybe you don’t have the energy for a full-blown “couples counseling” session right now. The beauty of Ritual is that you and your partner can go through the program together or tackle it individually — whatever works best for you both!
  • Focus on communication and conflict resolution: Ritual’s new parent pathway is packed with practical tools and strategies to help you communicate more effectively, manage those inevitable disagreements, and rebuild that connection with your partner.
  • It works: Ritual offers a safe space, evidence-based exercises and activities, and your own dedicated mental health expert to help track your progress. And with 91% of users feeling improvements in at least 3 or more areas within 4 weeks of starting, you can be sure it’ll work for you.

Ultimately, parenthood is a wild ride, and it’s totally normal to feel a little lost in the shuffle after welcoming your new babe.

But remember, that spark you shared with your partner is still there, buried under a mountain of laundry and a never-ending stream of dirty diapers.

And hey, if things still feel a little bumpy, don’t be afraid to seek professional help!

Dr. Orna Guralnik, Ritual’s Chief Clinical Officer, tells us why it’s so important:

“Couples who become new parents face a surprising new chapter in their relationship. The switch from being available and attentive to each other and the relationship to a third (or more) infant becoming the primary preoccupation, changes everything. A mountain of new tasks, steep learning curves, shifting priorities, and impossible questions about the distribution of labor can be fertile ground for disagreement and misunderstandings. The first order of business is enlist help, try to take care of the basics (sleep!), and work from the assumption that your partner is your ally, and is doing their very best.”

Postpartum couples counseling can be a game-changer.

Ritual can provide a safe space for you and your partner to communicate openly, work through any lingering resentments, and rediscover the love and connection that brought you together in the first place.

Want to feel closer to your partner and have a healthier relationship after baby? Ritual can help, plus you can get 20% off your first month with code PEANUT20.

You’ve got this. Together. 🫶


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