What Researchers Say about New Parents

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Parenting that is compromised by fighting, irritability, and hostility lead to poor parent-child interaction. This creates a dangerous emotional climate for babies. This atmosphere will interfere with an infant’s ability to self-regulate and to stay calm. 

Both parents are working harder, but they both feel unappreciated.  During the first year after babies arrive, the frequency and intensity of relationship conflicts increase 9 times what it was before the baby. It is normal for a mom’s sexual desire to drop precipitously after birth and even stay low for the first year, especially if she is nursing. Consequently, sex declines dramatically.  

New mom’s usually become very involved with their babies. But due to their fatigue, they have less to offer their partners emotionally.  Both moms and dads undergo major changes in their own identities i.e. how they think of themselves not only as parents and partners, but also as friends, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. Their values may change, and their goals in life, too. 

Mom’s and dads often want to be better at parenting than their own parents were with them.  Many couples change their relationship with time. They start to date events as “Before Baby” and “After Baby.” Most important is when baby did something for the first time.

Right after the baby is born, many women close to new moms arrive to help out, but this support group of women can crowd out the new dads. Dads mistakenly respond to this by withdrawing from their babies and working more, especially if there’s more conflict at home.

Babies withdraw emotionally from fathers who are unhappy with their relationship with their partners. Interestingly, babies don’t withdraw from unhappy moms. This withdrawal from dads can be tragic for babies. The best gift you can give your baby is a happy and strong relationship between the two of you.