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The new parent's toolkit

Here are some tips on how to ensure your relationship stays on track when two become three

by Psychologies

the shock of a new baby

1. Manage expectations. Many couples who run into difficulties are simply not prepared for the reality of having a new baby. Discuss how you will manage the adjustment phase and minimise conflict.

2. Avoid competition. Don't fall uinto the trap of rowing over who has it the hardest. 'Both sides can feel that their role isn't really understood or valued,' says David Hewison at the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships. Try to climb into your partner's shoes to get a true sense of what their day-today life now involves and how they're feeling.

3. Carve out time. Finding opportunities to replenish as a couple is vital, whether it means asking extended family to help out with an evening's babysitting, or simply spending 10 minutes a day catching up properly over a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

4. Don't panic. Stress and conflict in the early months are normal. Take a deep breath and trust that the difficult phase will pass.

Photograph: iStock

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Read How to spring clean your relationships by Sarah Abell on LifeLabs

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