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You're exhausted, covered in spit-up and completely consumed with your brand-new baby. You want to be the cool mom who has it all together and still makes time for her spouse…but it's hard to care about your marriage when you're spending all of your free time sanitizing breast pump parts. Here are some simple ways you can keep your relationship rock solid in your first year of parenting. 

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new parent walk

Take a walk...alone

If you've ever thought twice about something as benign as sleeping in, then you know that new mom guilt is real. Taking time for yourself isn't selfish; it's good for your baby and your marriage. Start with something simple, like a walk around the block or a long shower, and eventually work your way up to a girls' night out. If you make yourself a priority, your family will, too.

new parent dad

Let each other make mistakes

Your husband is in the other room watching the baby and he's doing everything wrong. (“She doesn't like to be held like that! Hold her bottle this way!”) You might think you're an expert, but giving your partner the space to discover his own best practices will build his confidence and keep your connection solid. Stop hovering, and let him mess up a little. Nobody's perfect, even you.

new parent snuggle

Snuggle, Snuggle, Snuggle

Babies aren't the only ones who need affection. Obviously sex is good (Great! Amazing!) for marriage, but when your body is healing from childbirth and you're exhausted, you might have to cool it for awhile. Snuggling will keep the intimacy alive until you're ready to get back to it. Pretend you're in middle school again! (Minus the zits).

new parent money

Make a money plan

You want to buy a tiny stuffed pony for your son's first birthday and he wants to buy a real live one. Differences about finances can cause deep rifts in a marriage if you don't communicate. Whether you have plenty of money or you struggle from month to month, make sure you talk to your partner about your plan for spending, saving and affording this demanding little person you’ve just created.

RELATED: 7 Money Talks All Couples Should Have

new parent bra

Buy New Underwear

Stella did not get her groove back in a pair of old underwear. If you've been rocking the same ripped granny panties since you brought your baby home from the hospital, it might be time to change it up. Confidence is sexy, so start from the outside with something that makes you love your body again. The better you feel, the better partner you'll be.

new parent dinner
kupicoo/Getty Images

Eat Dinner Together

Sure, it's gonna be awhile before your baby is able to share your pad Thai, but it's never too early to start family dinners. Taking at least one moment a day to put down your phones and experience each other as a family will go a long way toward reminding you why you wanted to have kids in the first place. So put your baby in the bouncer by the table and stare lovingly into your husband’s eyes over that veggie lasagna. 

new parent couple

Talk about something other than your baby

You're obsessed with your new tiny human, but it doesn't have to completely define your relationship. If you take some time to talk about more than just how many times she pooped today, it will remind you that you're not just parents, you're people, too. Chat about work, friends, politics, the weather (if you're desperate!) and reconnect.

new parent text

Send sweet texts

Before baby, you probably sent pictures of your boobs as foreplay. Now there’s a little mouth connected to your nipple, and the caption says, “Lunch.” You're going to be communicating a lot to scheduling feedings, naps, playdates, etc., so take a moment and write something nice, too. A simple “I love you” can go a long way toward keeping your partner feeling special and appreciated.

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