Once upon a time, Cupid struck you and your partner. You fell in love, you did what many couples do…and now you have a baby. Although being a new parent can certainly add some stress to your relationship, Valentine’s Day is the one day all year when it’s safe, if not expected, to relax and enjoy each other. (After all, you might want to add to your family again one day.) We asked the relationship experts for tips on how to make your first Valentine’s Day with baby memorable (in a good way).
Think of activities that you and your partner rarely do together that you’ll both enjoy and ask for some time alone. “Try to take the day off or take a longer lunch break so you can take a walk together or have a picnic,” says Alexandra Blumencranz, founder of Positive Parent Coaching. Your main goal is to step away from the chaos of parenthood, even if it’s only for an hour and in any way possible. Your partner will appreciate your efforts to get her or him alone—it shows you still think they’re sexy. Though many husbands might be tempted to surprise their partners with a special activity, it might be difficult to get up and leave baby without planning when to pump or feed, or what to wear, for example. Plus, as Blumencranz points out, it’s fun to have something to look forward to the week before.
“You’ve been giving everything to your new little one, today is the day to give back to each other,” says Blumencranz. Rather than stressing out over the perfect store-bought gift, make your own. Your thoughts count for double these days. Blumencranz recommends commemorating the day with a family picture or a keepsake of baby’s hand or foot print in a heart-shaped frame. And, think about what your partner likes to do but hasn’t gotten the chance to for awhile, suggests Blumencranz. Recruit a sitter for a couple of hours and give your partner the freedom to go to the gym or to the bookstore alone. Relaxing gifts like a manicure, or just the simple opportunity to take a bubble bath or take a nap will make him or her ridiculously grateful. “A homemade coupon book with back rubs and extra sleep time is another great way to show each other you care,” says Blumencranz.
Couples therapist and The Nest expert Dr. Ingrid Schweiger of New York City says “Valentine's Day is an opportunity to make your relationship center stage again.” While a dozen roses, a box of chocolates and a fancy dinner out are all great (and universal) ways to woo your partner, think about what you can change within your own home. “A clean bedroom, a made bed, some candles and soft music is pretty romantic when you’re used to diapers, bottles, piles of laundry and dirty dishes,” says Blumencranz. Once baby goes down for the night (or for a couple of hours) uncork the wine and whip out the china—even if it’s just takeout or pasta on the fancy ware, the ambiance is key. Bonus points if you take the time to cut out little hearts from construction paper and sprinkle them on the table when your partner isn’t looking. And remember, says Blumencranz, Valentine’s Day is the day when you show your partner how much he or she means to you. The day can be as special as you want it to be. Dr. Schweiger agrees. She says the biggest mistake you can make is to not acknowledge the day because baby is here. Schweiger recommends writing your partner a love letter. “Even if life has been stressful with all the changes brought by parenthood, reflect on what makes your partner unique and lovable,” she says. “Deepening your intimacy is what it’s all about.”