Couple timeMany new parents report that after the novelty of life with a baby wears off, they find they've drifted away from their partner and lost the closeness they once felt. Having a baby is a seismic event in a couple's life together. Because the brunt of the day-to-day adjustment often falls more on one partner, it's all too easy to start feeling estranged.
Acknowledging these feelings — first to yourself and then to your partner — is the first step toward doing something about it. Let your partner know that you miss him or her. If you're feeling this way, odds are good that your mate is, too, and will be relieved that you're bringing it up.
Make a specific plan to spend more time together. Figure out what you miss most about being together and make reclaiming those experiences a priority. Schedule time to spend together, whether it's a weekly date night or another special ritual. Come up with a special code phrase that either of you can use when the talk is revolving too much around the baby or what you have to get done at home.
Re-evaluate ways to divvy up infant care and housework. Not only will this reduce your workload, it will create more time for you and your partner to spend together doing something fun. You'll also see yourselves working as a team.
Coping with separation anxietyIt's natural for your baby to start showing signs of separation anxiety when you leave her in the care of others. In fact, it's a sign of normal, healthy development. Not that knowing this makes it any easier on you to see your baby in distress.
To help the two of you weather the goodbye blues:
• Say goodbye in an affectionate but matter-of-fact way. Try not to draw out farewells or let yourself get emotional in response to your baby's crying.
• Stay away once you say goodbye. Resist the temptation to turn back and check to see that she's okay, which will only make things more difficult for you both.
• Call when you get where you're going. For peace of mind, phone to ask the caregiver how your baby's doing. Odds are she stopped crying almost right after you left and got diverted by an activity.
• Reconnect by spending some special time with your baby after you get home.
• Some babies react differently when different parents leave. If your baby is most upset when you're the one heading out, consider having your partner do the leave-taking when possible.