Your baby is finally here safe and sound. Are you feeling excited, relieved, happy, and nervous, perhaps all at once? I've been there and felt each of those emotions. The first days, weeks, and months after baby arrives are a whirlwind. Your baby and baby care will be all you see, hear, think about, and do in the beginning. Making time for your marriage and your spouse during those first few weeks and months with a baby can strengthen your marriage and family. These are three things you and your spouse should do in the year or so after the baby's born.
Brace yourself: Plan and execute date nights.
Leaving your baby may be the absolute last thing on your mind in the early days. I know I felt that way. Once your baby has started to develop some predictable sleeping and eating habits, it can be much easier to plan a few hours out with your partner. Early on, my husband and I recognized that my daughters all slept well for a few hours in the evening, from around 7 PM until 10 PM. That was the perfect opportunity for us to steal away to grab a bite to eat and a walk in the park.
You don't have to go far or do much. Just get out of the house, just the two of you. Keep your cell phone at the ready, in case you're needed. You'll feel much more relaxed knowing that you can be home in a few minutes.
Test the waters: Spend the night away from the baby.
You've successfully mastered the date night. A few hours away from your baby has probably helped you and your spouse reconnect on a personal level. Now it's time to take it to the next level. Now is the time to spend the night away from your baby. With any luck, baby is sleeping better and it might be possible for you to spend the night away with your spouse and only miss one or two feedings. If you're a nursing mother, make sure to provide an adequate supply of pumped milk and bring along your breast pump for comfort.
You don't have to go far to get away. Consider renting a hotel room locally. You'll get the getaway experience and some romantic time with your partner without lots of travel time. Sometimes, the joy of solid's night sleep is all you and your spouse need to help you unwind!
Take the plunge: Get away for a weekend.
Date nights and a night away are behind you. You've already laid the groundwork for your next feat. You might be wary, but a weekend away with your partner can help you stay connected after the arrival of children. My husband and I try to make it a point to get away at least twice a year, once for an overnight, and once for a long weekend. It allows us time to really unwind, relax, and to remind ourselves about what it is we love about each other. Sometimes, it's easy to overlook when you are taking care of a baby constantly.
If you have family nearby or friends that are up to the challenge, don't be afraid to ask for help. Leaving your baby with someone you trust completely will allow you to feel comfortable while you're gone. Consider a destination within a two hours drive, manageable should you need to get home in a hurry. Once your baby is a toddler and eventually even older, you'll feel more comfortable with greater distances.