Intimacy After Baby...Changes, Challenges, and How to Move Through it All

couple intimacy motherhood new parents newborn relationships Oct 02, 2023
new parent couple

If you’re a new parent and you have noticed changes in intimacy and sex with your partner since becoming a parent, you are so not alone. You may find yourself dreading the thought of sex, feeling guilty for not having sex, fighting about sex with your partner, or feeling scared to have sex. When a new baby enters the picture, the dynamic between parents changes in so many ways. New moms may experience physical changes, such as hormonal shifts, postpartum recovery, and body changes which can affect their desire and ability to engage in intimacy. As a mom you may be dealing with physical pain and trying to heal from birth. While dads and non birthing partners can often times feel ready for sex sooner, wanting physical closeness and connection with their partners (although dads/partners can also experience fear around sex too after baby).  It also isn't uncommon for couples to notice that they really never talked about sex much before baby, so this can feel hard and scary to address.

The demands of caring for a new baby can leave both parents feeling exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed, leaving little energy or desire for physical intimacy. Furthermore, the arrival of a new baby often brings a shift in priorities, with much of the focus shifting towards caring for baby. This can leave little time and space for a couple to connect and nurture their relationship. Lastly, resentment can build due to differences in roles and demands for moms and dads. Moms often times feel the weight of being the default parent, feeding the baby, feeling touched out, and feeling trapped, while her partner may be able to return to work, see friends, or get time alone. As a result, it's common for couples to feel disconnected and distant from each other, leading to a decline in intimacy and a sense of dissatisfaction in the relationship. Sounds kinda helpless huh? 

The good news is it doesn't have to be! It's essential to acknowledge these challenges and work together as a couple to find ways to navigate them. By doing so, you can strengthen your relationship and build a deeper connection that will benefit not only you but also your new family. As a therapist that specializes in working with new parents, I have worked with many couples and individuals struggling to navigate these changes in intimacy, and there are steps you can take to work on building intimacy! The key is to move slowly and purposefully, checking in with your needs along the way, not pushing things that feel painful or that you are not ready for, and being able to communicate these directly. So here are some of my top tips to work on creating space for intimacy and sex after baby:

1. Communicate openly

One of the most important things you can do to improve intimacy after baby is to communicate openly and honestly with your partner. It's essential to talk about your feelings, fears, and expectations. Acknowledge that your relationship has changed, and it's okay to feel overwhelmed or uncertain about what comes next. By communicating openly, you can work together to find new ways to connect and strengthen your bond.

2. Be patient

It's natural to feel a bit of a distance between you and your partner after the arrival of a new baby. It takes time to adjust to new roles and responsibilities, and it's normal to feel tired, stressed, and even a bit disconnected. Be patient with each other and try not to put too much pressure on yourselves to get back to the way things were before the baby arrived.

 3. Prioritize self-care

Taking care of a new baby can be all-consuming, but it's crucial to prioritize self-care for both partners. Make time for activities that help you feel good, whether it's exercise, a hobby or something you love, or spending time with friends. When you take care of yourself, you are better able to show up for your partner and your baby.

4. Schedule time for intimacy

After having a baby, finding time for intimacy can be challenging. Between caring for the baby, work, and other responsibilities, it's easy for sex and physical intimacy to take a backseat. However, it's important to make time for intimacy, even if it means scheduling it on the calendar. This can help ensure that intimacy doesn't get lost in the shuffle.

5. Start small

If sex feels daunting after baby, start small by focusing on non-sexual touch and affection. Holding hands, hugging, and kissing can help you feel more connected and build intimacy gradually. It's okay to take things slow and build back up to sex over time. Remember, there is way more to intimacy than just sex or intercourse. 

6. Seek support

If you're struggling to navigate intimacy after baby, don't hesitate to seek support from a therapist or healthcare professional. They can help you explore the challenges you're facing and develop a plan to improve intimacy in your relationship. Don't be afraid to reach out for help – it's a sign of strength, not weakness! You can schedule a free 15 minute phone call with one of us to see if therapy or supportive coaching might be right for you here

Intimacy after baby can be challenging and can feel hard to address. Be gentle and kind with yourself and remember that in this season of life it’s ok for things to look a bit different. It is never too late to strengthen your relationship and build a deeper connection with your partner. By communicating openly, being patient, prioritizing self-care, scheduling time for intimacy, starting small, and seeking support, you can create a fulfilling and intimate relationship after baby. We cover this and so much more in our online, self-paced course The Connected Couple’s Guide, where we teach you tons of useful tips and strategies to improve your communication, connection, and intimacy after baby. Click here to learn more or enroll today! 


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