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17 May 2017

Half of New Mums Admit they Don’t Leave the House for More than Three Days in a Row

New research has revealed that a third of new parents feel unprepared for having their baby and parents would sooner Google baby advice then seek help from a health professional.

Research* undertaken by The Baby Show with MadeForMums, has revealed the extent to which new parents feel unprepared for their new arrivals, despite being a time where information and advice is more readily available than ever before.

A third (32%) of parents said they didn’t feel prepared for having their baby once it had arrived with self-doubt being a constant theme for new mothers, with 18 per cent of women confessing to an irrational fear of hurting their new baby.

The impact with which a new arrival can affect the day-to-day lives of parents is well known – however it continues to surprise new parents. Chief amongst concerns is the age-old problem of a lack of sleep, which the research found to be the most difficult thing about having a newborn.

Chireal Shallow, Sleep Expert and Speaker at The Baby Show, offers this advice: “Think about your state; are you calm, relaxed and ready to charm your baby to sleep? Your baby picks up on your mood, your body language and your mental state so if you are feeling anxious or stressed, then so is your baby. In order to help your child, you first need to examine yourself and change how you feel and in turn, your baby will mirror your state.”

For most first time parents, the continual night time disturbances will come as quite a shock to the system – but there are steps that can be taken to help manage the big sleep issue.

Milli Hill, author of The Positive Birth Book and Speaker at this month’s Baby Show says: “Having realistic expectations is really the most important preparation you can do for a new baby. Talk to other mothers about their baby’s sleep patterns and their coping tips. Talk to your partner about how you might both approach night-time parenting. And try to put as much support in place for those first few weeks as you can, for example by building a stock of frozen meals you can easily prepare when you’re too tired to do anything else, and by asking relatives to gift you a few hours of cleaning instead of another baby toy that you could probably live without!”

The research showed that the physical pain after birth is the second worst thing, with 41 per cent of new mums saying the pain was more severe than expected. The lack of time spent alone due to the new arrival was the third biggest thing they struggled with, while the feeling of isolation and a lack of freedom came as quite a surprise. More than half (53%) said they have stayed in their house for more than three days in a row while 39 per cent said they stayed in their pyjamas for days at a time and over a third (37%) went more than two days without showering. This is all due to a lack of personal time as a result of the ever present requirement for attention in newborns.

However, the research shows that people are not always looking for help in the right places. 14per cent of people resort to asking Google for advice, more than the amount that would seek help from their health visitor or GP – something which could result in the misdiagnosis of an issue. Nearly half (48%) use a family member as a first port of call but a third (34%) of new parents would sooner ask their parents for help rather than their partners.

The difficulties that occur during the early months of raising a newborn can be overwhelming, however there is little doubt that it is all worth it! Witnessing the growth and development of a baby was found to be the number one best thing about having a baby. The unconditional love it offers - the second best and seeing a baby smile for the very first time the third!

Milli Hill adds: “It’s undeniable that there are lots of ups and downs when you become a new parent but it’s so important to talk about how you’re feeling and ask for help if you need it. New parents can be very tough on themselves, worrying if they are getting it ‘right’, but remember, if your baby is safe and loved, you are doing an amazing job. Our babies think we are wonderful – we sometimes need to learn to appreciate ourselves as much as they do!”

*The research was undertaken in January 2017, based upon the feedback of 1,000 new mums and dads.

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