Common disputes during year one include who is the most tired and which parent should get up in the night – but 16 percent of couples will grumble about the lack of sex. Just under 20 percent argue about the general lack of affection from a partner once baby is born, with 12 percent of couples falling out after one pressured the other to get intimate. Division of responsibilities also set couples off bickering – with housework not being done, who should be responsible for feeding, burping and changing the baby also featuring in the list.
Unfortunately, a fifth of couples split up for good within the 12 months of having their child, after the disagreements proved too much to handle.
Siobhan Freegard, founder of parenting site ChannelMum.com, said: “Even those couples who usually communicate brilliantly can find the first few months of having a baby tough, and arguments are a really normal part of the adjustment process.
“Lack of sleep during the early months, and getting used to the new-found responsibilities can pile pressure on new parents and contribute to arguments.
“Making time for each other can be just as important as learning how to look after the baby, as happy parents will naturally result in a happy child.”
The study also revealed more than six in 10 parents feel they weren’t prepared for the huge impact having a baby would have on their life.
Half of couples reported arguing more frequently and a third said they could sometimes go five days at a time without talking to their other half.
More than a fifth of parents found it difficult getting used to having less money than usual, and 19 percent would bicker about one partner going out more than the other.
Whether the baby is poorly or not, how much they should be eating or drinking, and whether they should be left to cry alone also lead to disagreements.
Sadly, one quarter of couples found very little time for each other once the baby was born, and 28 percent said when they were together, all they would do is argue.
Looking back on their first year of parenthood, four in 10 parents wish they’d done more to prepare for what was ahead.
More than 25 percent of parents were shocked at feeling less close to their partner once the baby was born, and 42 percent wish they’d considered taking a course on how to ‘baby-proof’ their relationship.
However, 23 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, did call on family and friends for additional support, and 24 percent made sure they shared out the housework.
Sharing night-feeds, planning ahead, making time for regular sex, having time-out with friends and regular date nights were other methods used to maintain a happy relationship.
Zo Bonser, show director at The Baby Show added: “It’s disheartening to see so many couples break up in the first 12 months of parenting – one of the most exciting times in their lives.
“While it is a wonderful period, there’s no doubt about it, it’s stressful with the change in sleep patterns, routines and responsibilities and getting used to there being a third person around that you have to care for all the time.
“The most important thing is to keep talking and recognise how you’re both feeling and ensure you make time for each other, as well as your baby.
“Because this is such a huge issue we have joined forces with ChannelMum.com to offer visitors at this weekend’s Baby Show advice on how to prepare for and overcome the challenges that parenthood brings and really enjoy this amazing time you go through together, as a couple.”
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