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Looking after your relationship as a parent

How you can share tasks and support your partner when you become parents, and how you can reduce stress and tiredness.

If you are raising a child with your partner, it's important to support each other and work together as a team. You and your partner can share decisions and responsibility for your baby’s care.

This might include things like:

  • getting up at night to feed your child
  • sharing the housework and chores
  • bathing and feeding your child
  • deciding who can take time off work when your child is sick

Tiredness and stress often cause conflict in relationships between new parents and it's important to try not to argue with your partner in front of your child. Smaller arguments can happen at anytime, but for more serious or more emotional issues, you should try to work out a solution together in private, away from your child.

Support your partner

You can take care of your relationship with your partner by:

  • saying caring words
  • doing something nice for them without being asked
  • telling them that you appreciate them
  • talking openly and sharing your feelings, in a calm and supportive way - tell them if you're struggling and talk through issues
  • allowing your partner to develop their own style of parenting
  • praising them when they do well with the child
  • being realistic as a parent - try not to expect too much of yourself or others - all parents make mistakes

Self care

It's important to remember that you are a person as well as a parent. It's healthy to look after yourself so you can take care of your needs, and the needs of your relationship and your child.

Take time to relax and do something you enjoy. For example, spending time with a friend.

Reduce stress

It is amazing to be a new parent but at times it can be stressful. Stress can cause tension in your relationship. To reduce stress after your baby is born, you and your partner can:

  • limit the number of visitors coming to see you and your new baby
  • have a rest or a sleep when the baby sleeps
  • ask for help and accept help from family and friends
  • leave some housework undone for a while, and focus on your baby and yourself
  • prepare and freeze meals ahead of time
  • do some gentle exercises - this can give you more energy

If you're finding it hard to cope, talk to your partner or a friend and ask for help when you need it.

Your public health nurse or GP may be able to refer you to a counsellor.

page last reviewed: 18/09/2018
next review due: 18/09/2021