Happy families When two becomes three

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Happy families: When two becomes three

When two becomes three

Happy families: When two becomes three

Read these Parenting Club top tips and a real life story to help you look after your relationship after you have a baby.

When your little bundle of joy arrives, the size of your family increases by 50% (and if you've had twins, it's just doubled!) so it's inevitable that your relationship with your partner will change.

Newborn babies are demanding so you'll have less time to spend with your partner, and while you'll be excited about embracing this new family life together, you'll also want to carry on being the couple you were before.

We've got some top tips to help you look after your relationship – as well as your little one - and talk to a couple who've shared their experiences and secrets of their success to do just that!

When two becomes three: top tips

Becoming a parent is a life-changing event and it's bound to take a while to adjust. It's amazing how the smallest person in the house can often bring the biggest challenges! Here are some top tips for smooth sailing through the early years of parenthood.

  • Try to remember that your partner can't read your mind so whatever you're thinking and feeling, you need to say out loud and talk about it together.
  • Say how you feel, sometimes you might just need a hug from your partner before you go back to changing nappies and feeding. The little things can make a big difference!
  • It's common for dad to return to work and mum to stay at home with the baby, which means you're both working hard, but in very different ways. Find time to discuss how your day has been so you can both appreciate what the other one has gone through – the first outing alone with the baby is probably just as difficult as an important business meeting
  • Ask a friend or relative to look after your little one for a couple of hours so you can have some time together, even if it's just to go out for lunch or a walk in the park
  • Share the childcare duties. You may want to express milk so that your partner can do some of the night feeds and mum can get some much-needed rest
  • Share the housework too! Agree that it shouldn't all fall to mum if she's at home every day – looking after a baby is a full time job in itself! And don't beat yourself up if the house isn't as tidy as usual, people who come to visit will understand – and who knows, they might even volunteer to do the washing up!
  • Try to still celebrate important dates and milestones throughout the year. Birthdays, Valentine's Day and anniversaries are a good excuse for a bit of quality time together and romance!
  • Do something nice for your partner so they know you haven't forgotten about them. It doesn't always have to involve spending money - record a film you think they might like to watch or run them a hot bath and leave their favourite magazine by the side of the tub!

And finally, try to remember that the early stages when you're most likely to be lacking in energy, don't last forever. Make time for one another when you can and understand that life will eventually go back to (nearly!) normal.

When two becomes three: Lou and James' story

Lou and James had their daughter in 2009 and share their story of how they've kept the magic alive in their relationship through baby and toddlerhood!

Lou says, "James and I had only been together a year when we decided to have children so our daughter seemed to come along very quickly! That's why it was really important to me that we managed to find time to spend with one another and with our friends as well. We've been very lucky because my parents live quite close by and although James' parents live much further away they're always happy to come and stay for as long as we need them to.

So my advice is, if you have the support network available to you – use it! We do what a lot of other couples do and arrange regular 'date nights' and at least once a year we go away just the two of us for a weekend or long weekend somewhere.

My other bit of advice is to make sure you talk to one another. Be honest about how you feel. If you feel exhausted because your baby isn't sleeping, don't suffer in silence, ask your partner to take over feeding for the night, express some milk, go in the spare bedroom and get a good night's sleep!"

James says "Everything Lou says about using the support network and talking to one another is so true. The other thing that's really helped us was to get Holly into a good sleep routine from the beginning. She didn't sleep through the night until she was two (and yes, we were shattered!) but even so, we were very strict about always putting her to bed at the same time every night. It's paid dividends now because she goes to bed on time every night. If we let her stay up at the weekend because we're with friends, she knows it's a treat. But if we want to have some time to ourselves, we know we can put her into bed and we can have a nice meal at home and still have some quality time together without having to leave the house. It doesn't always have to mean getting a baby sitter and spending lots of money!

The other thing I've learnt is that all the things you go through that bring so much disruption to your family life – the sleepless nights, frustration when they won't eat their meals, endless nappy changes and so on – they're all phases and they do eventually pass."

Read more like this:

Memorable milestones: Your baby's first year
Safe and happy travel with kids
Keeping fit with a new baby
Over to you: coping with two

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Happy families: When two becomes three

Read these Parenting Club top tips and a real life story to help you look after your relationship after you have a baby.

When your little bundle of joy arrives, the size of your family increases by 50% (and if you've had twins, it's just doubled!) so it's inevitable that your relationship with your partner will change.

Newborn babies are demanding so you'll have less time to spend with your partner, and while you'll be excited about embracing this new family life together, you'll also want to carry on being the couple you were before.

We've got some top tips to help you look after your relationship ? as well as your little one - and talk to a couple who've shared their experiences and secrets of their success to do just that!

When two becomes three: top tips

Becoming a parent is a life-changing event and it's bound to take a while to adjust. It's amazing how the smallest person in the house can often bring the biggest challenges! Here are some top tips for smooth sailing through the early years of parenthood.

  • Try to remember that your partner can't read your mind so whatever you're thinking and feeling, you need to say out loud and talk about it together.
  • Say how you feel, sometimes you might just need a hug from your partner before you go back to changing nappies and feeding. The little things can make a big difference!
  • It's common for dad to return to work and mum to stay at home with the baby, which means you're both working hard, but in very different ways. Find time to discuss how your day has been so you can both appreciate what the other one has gone through ? the first outing alone with the baby is probably just as difficult as an important business meeting
  • Ask a friend or relative to look after your little one for a couple of hours so you can have some time together, even if it's just to go out for lunch or a walk in the park
  • Share the childcare duties. You may want to express milk so that your partner can do some of the night feeds and mum can get some much-needed rest
  • Share the housework too! Agree that it shouldn't all fall to mum if she's at home every day ? looking after a baby is a full time job in itself! And don't beat yourself up if the house isn't as tidy as usual, people who come to visit will understand ? and who knows, they might even volunteer to do the washing up!
  • Try to still celebrate important dates and milestones throughout the year. Birthdays, Valentine's Day and anniversaries are a good excuse for a bit of quality time together and romance!
  • Do something nice for your partner so they know you haven't forgotten about them. It doesn't always have to involve spending money - record a film you think they might like to watch or run them a hot bath and leave their favourite magazine by the side of the tub!

And finally, try to remember that the early stages when you're most likely to be lacking in energy, don't last forever. Make time for one another when you can and understand that life will eventually go back to (nearly!) normal.

When two becomes three: Lou and James' story

Lou and James had their daughter in 2009 and share their story of how they've kept the magic alive in their relationship through baby and toddlerhood!

Lou says, "James and I had only been together a year when we decided to have children so our daughter seemed to come along very quickly! That's why it was really important to me that we managed to find time to spend with one another and with our friends as well. We've been very lucky because my parents live quite close by and although James' parents live much further away they're always happy to come and stay for as long as we need them to.

So my advice is, if you have the support network available to you ? use it! We do what a lot of other couples do and arrange regular 'date nights' and at least once a year we go away just the two of us for a weekend or long weekend somewhere.

My other bit of advice is to make sure you talk to one another. Be honest about how you feel. If you feel exhausted because your baby isn't sleeping, don't suffer in silence, ask your partner to take over feeding for the night, express some milk, go in the spare bedroom and get a good night's sleep!"

James says "Everything Lou says about using the support network and talking to one another is so true. The other thing that's really helped us was to get Holly into a good sleep routine from the beginning. She didn't sleep through the night until she was two (and yes, we were shattered!) but even so, we were very strict about always putting her to bed at the same time every night. It's paid dividends now because she goes to bed on time every night. If we let her stay up at the weekend because we're with friends, she knows it's a treat. But if we want to have some time to ourselves, we know we can put her into bed and we can have a nice meal at home and still have some quality time together without having to leave the house. It doesn't always have to mean getting a baby sitter and spending lots of money!

The other thing I've learnt is that all the things you go through that bring so much disruption to your family life ? the sleepless nights, frustration when they won't eat their meals, endless nappy changes and so on ? they're all phases and they do eventually pass."

Read more like this:

Memorable milestones: Your baby's first year
Safe and happy travel with kids
Keeping fit with a new baby
Over to you: coping with two

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