Keeping sexually connected after you have a baby can be hard. Here's 4 things that will help
1. Tend to sleep deprivation
It is pretty difficult to feel sexy or desire sex when you are sleep deprived. If one or both partners are fighting sleep deprivation, make sure you’re addressing this. Trade off night time feedings. Have a grandparent help or hire a night nanny for a few nights. Find ways to give each other naps. Take the baby away from the home so the napping parent can really catch up on needed rest. Chances are, you're much more likely to find the time to have sex if you aren't walking around sleep deprived or falling asleep at 8:00 PM every night.
2. Don’t make the mistake of seeing sex as just intercourse
You are much more likely to find the time to be sexually intimate if you make an effort to keep up affectionate touch (non-sexual), sensual touch (cuddling, longer kisses, soothing touch), playful touch (sexual flirting, genital and non-genital touch), erotic touch (sexually stimulating touch), and intercourse.
It is also important that each be valued and not treated always as stepping stones on the way to intercourse. Connecting through all kinds of touch and affection can go a long way to improving sex after baby.
*Reference: The Five Dimensions of Touch: The Key to Bypassing Sexual Power Struggles by Barry McCarthy, Ph.D.
3. Make sure you’re talking about the emotions you both are feeling
There are so many normal feelings for new parents: exhaustion, feeling cranky, missing each other, feeling overwhelmed, worries about the baby, body image concerns, feelings about returning to work or staying home, worries about finances, stress from hosting visitors or increased family interactions, etc.
Parenting a child for the first time is also a very vulnerable experience for many people. You might find yourself wanting and needing more reassurance from your partner. This is normal. How you express those feelings and needs, however, can make a world of difference in whether your partner hears you making a bid for closeness or criticizing.
If you find yourself arguing about sleep schedules, responsibilities, or sex, look below to discover all the feelings that might be there for you. Consider leading with the softest feeling you have. If this is difficult, a good Couples Counselor can help.
There can also be a lot of feelings about how sex may be different. That can run the gamut from the physical recovery from delivery or sleep deprivation, to a woman’s body being different, or even finding things that used to be sexually pleasurable aren't anymore.
Connect with your spouse or partner first emotionally. Talk about what it’s like to be parents of a baby. Talk about how your relationship is doing. Many times, feeling emotionally connected with our love leads to feeling sexual desire.
4. Get support from a Couples Counselor
Couples can get stuck around the new division of labor, parenting philosophies and instincts, and the feelings and changes that come with a new baby. It may feel difficult to prioritize working on your feelings and the relationship when a baby needs so much, but it is incredibly important.
Children, even as young as infants, can and do sense when there is strain in your relationship. The stronger and more secure your relationship is will encourage your child’s own secure attachment experiences. Couples counseling can provide the structure and, frankly, the time to focus on your relationship.
Most couples have to work harder to find ways to connect after a baby is born. There is less time, energy and freedom, at least for a little while. Don’t be discouraged, and don’t be concerned that your relationship is broken somehow. It’s not.
You will begin to adjust and find a new way of connecting. If you set an intention to stay as connected as possible and continue to work towards each other, you will find closeness and sexual intimacy again.
If you feel like you are getting stuck as a couple and your interactions are becoming more negative, get some support with Couples Therapy. Call us today at 303-513-8975 or schedule a Couples Counseling appointment to keep the love, closeness and intimacy in your relationship post-baby.