If you’ve had a baby longer than five minutes, you know that babies change your life. They’re like a black hole for your time, energy and attention. Most of the time, this works out great for baby and parent—they crave the extra love and you love to give it to them. But, if you’re not careful, it’s easy for your other relationships to take a back seat to baby—especially the one that created your adorable energy-sucker in the first place.

Fortunately, while it’s normal for passion and friendship with your partner to end up on the back burner after baby is born, all it takes is a little effort to reconnect postpartum. Here are a few of our favorite ways to rekindle the spark with your co-baby-maker. 

photo: Sirah Quyyom via Flickr

Give Thanks
When you’re in the throes of postpartum exhaustion, saying “thank you” to your partner for taking the 2 a.m. shift with baby (when you had the rest of the night) or emptying the diaper pail (when you changed all the diapers) may not be the first thing on your mind, but research has proven that making an effort to verbally appreciate your partner is a key indicator of relationship happiness, with or without baby. If you think your guy is a great dad, say so! (Bonus: Expressing gratitude to a partner is proven to promote loving behavior on their part. Positive reinforcement for the win!)

photo: Yi Wang via Flickr

Take a Baby Breather
You know what they say: Three’s a crowd. And this is why bringing along baby to every date is a no-no. Having a few minutes to focus fully on your spouse—even 30 minutes to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on life—is a breath of fresh air in a relationship that tends to naturally revolve around baby. 

Solve Your Date Dilemmas
What’s holding you back from post-baby date nights? Worried about leaving your little one during their waking hours? Schedule a sitter for after you’ve put baby down for the night (or their first solid stretch of sleep). If funds are tight, swap hours with a mom friend or enlist the grandparents for extra snuggles.

photo: Kaboompics via Pixabay

Talk About Baby—and Other Stuff, Too.
We’ve all heard the mandates to not talk about your kids while on a date with your partner, but we say, gush away about the amazing human you created together. But chat it up about other things, tooworld events, updates on mutual friends and family, whatever. If your brain is consumed with all things baby, use your phone as a talking points tool. Before you go out, glance at the day’s top headlines or your social media feed to get you back in the outside world loop and give you a few conversation go-to’s.

Take It Outside
Next time you and your partner find yourselves bickering over household chores or diaper duty, strap baby in the stroller and take it outside. Literally. Turns out, stepping outside for some fresh air can be as good for your relationship as it is for your body. Consider this interesting finding: Moving physically forward with another person gives you the sense of moving forward with them mentally, too, thereby creating a sense of connection. So the next time you feel at odds with your honey, walk it out and watch your stress melt away.

photo: Freestocks.org via Unsplash

Up Your Netflix Game
Good news for tired parents everywhere: The best date nights can happen at home, no planning for sitters or working around baby’s schedule required. It’s easy to turn a mundane night on the couch watching your favorite show into something special with a little effort. The next time you settle in to Netflix and chill, order take-out, grab your favorite drinks and trade back rubs or foot rubs while snuggling up on the sofa.

Snap a Selfie
Grab your phone and open your camera roll. If a quick scroll reveals an endless sea of baby pics, it’s time to snag your honey and take a few couple selfiesbonus points for kissing pics! Then set them as your lock or home screen as a reassuring reminder you’re in this parenting/life/love thing together. 

photo: Becca Tapert via Unsplash

Get BusyTogether
We know. You’re busy all day—changing diapers, making bottles or baby food. But that’s not the kind of busy we mean. (*Wink*) After a long day of toting baby around, it’s likely that the last thing on your mind is slipping between the sheets with your manunless it’s to sleep. But making physical intimacy a priority is one of the best ways to establish an emotional connection with your spouse. And remember that having a healthy sex life isn’t only about intercourse. Laughing together, holding hands, hugging and kissing all create a sense of closeness that will keep you connected.

—Suzanna Palmer

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