Becoming a father for the first time can mean your sex life goes to the back of the queue behind sleepless nights, round-the-clock feeds and nappy changes.
However, a survey for the parenting organisation NCT says many fathers also find that a baby in the home makes them feel closer to their partner.Results from a poll of 869 new mums and 296 first time dads have been released ahead of Father’s Day.
Lacking those intimate moments
The survey found that:
44% of new fathers felt they had a closer relationship with their partner after the birth
19% felt they had a stronger bond with their partner
21% said they discussed having less sex and intimate moments after the baby was born.
It also revealed that 6% of new dads thought their relationship had been damaged because the baby had become the centre of attention.
Among those who reported having less sex, the most common reasons were less time for being a couple, tiredness and different sleeping arrangements.
Sarah McMullen, head of research at NCT, says in a statement: “We’ve got some mixed news for dads – more family time can mean less couple time. Your relationship may flourish but your sex life may not.
“It’s very common for relationships to go through phases where you or your partner lose interest in sex, or life just gets in the way.
“The dynamics of a new family can mean there is less intimacy between a mum and dad but over time the relationship is often stronger than before.”
Tips for life with a new baby
The NCT has issued some tips for new mums and dads to help keep their relationship alive:
Take the time to listen to each other and try to talk openly and honestly with each other. You are both going through a period of immense change so try to be understanding.
Approach physical intimacy with sensitivity and a willingness to find new ways of expressing affection until you both feel ready for sex again.
Plan a date night or regular time together for just the two of you – try to fit or adapt some of the things you used to enjoy together into your new life, such as watching a DVD or having a takeaway.
Rona McCandlish, guideline and development advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, comments in a statement: “It’s important before the birth for both parents to discuss how they will share childcare and also plan for making time to spend together.
“Midwives recognise that couples can go through tremendous changes and challenges in their emotional and physical relationship whilst they’re pregnant and then in early parenthood.
“It’s very positive that most men in this survey said becoming a father had made the bond with their partner stronger. During pregnancy it’s important to involve partners, to support both mothers and fathers as they prepare for parenthood – which means not just offering advice about caring for a new baby, but also helping a couple navigate changes in their own relationship.”