• Some mums are just too emotionally absorbed with and physically tired by the baby that they’ve little time or energy for their partner.
• Some mums feel burdened by the responsibility of learning about and caring for the new baby as their partners go out to work all day.
• Couples can feel more bonded than ever by the experience of having produced a baby together.
• Some mums are so changed by the experience of motherhood that their partners find it difficult to relate to them in their new role.
• There’s a period of transition from new to settled parenthood when couples have to make the difficult move from the relief and enjoyment of simply becoming parents to the daily grind of dealing with the extra work and responsibility.
• Tension can arise if the new dad wants to hold on to more of his pre-parenthood life than his partner.
• Having a baby or toddler sleep in the parental bed can lead to strong differences of opinion – and a lot less sex.
• Parents can differ in the stage at which they become very emotionally involved with their new child. Dads sometimes take longer to bond.
How to improve your post-baby relationship and love life
Elizabeth Martyn, author of Babyshock! (Vermilion), suggests these 10 ways to improve your love life as parents:
1. Watch your partner being patient and loving with your baby – you’ll see him in a whole new light.
2. Enjoy the chaotic, fun times you have as a family and talk about them – they bring you closer together and create shared memories.
3. Work on resolving problems together – you’ll feel proud that you’re working well as a team.
4. Don’t dwell on everyday niggles and disagreements – focus on your exciting new journey as parents.
5. Snatch quiet opportunities to pounce on your partner – it’ll put a new, creative spin on your sex life.
6. Give each other time off so you remain individuals and not just Mum and Dad.
7. Even if you’re tired, sometimes take an evening to go out together, just the two of you.
8. If you have a toddler, don’t let them monopolise your bed.
9. Allow your partner to do things differently to you as a parent.
10. Share your feelings about the changes in your lives.