2,500 arguments in baby's first year leads a fifth of new parents to split

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

Many couples can attest having a baby brings about new relationship challenges.

A recent survey confirms the increase in conflict the arrival of a baby can bring about, with findings revealing that the first year of an infant's life can result in up to 2,500 arguments between couples.

ChannelMum.com and The Baby Show polled more than 2,000 parents who revealed that a third of new parents experienced serious problems with their partners and one fifth of respondents had split in the first year after a baby.

Parents said the most common arguments were over who was the most exhausted and who should get up to tend to the baby in the night.

A third cited a "lack of communication" as the major cause, with 30 per cent identifying an unsatisfying sex life as the culprit. The most common time for couples to split? The six month mark.

23 per cent said that one partner had cheated in the first year of their baby's life, with 60 per cent saying they hadn't felt prepared for the huge life shifts that having a baby brought about.

30 per cent said that they often go five days at a time without speaking to their other half, and more than a fifth said being on a greatly reduced income was stressful. 

A quarter of respondents reported feeling blindsided by the loss of closeness and intimacy with their partner.

That said, 25 per cent said that their relationship was rocky before baby, with 23 percent citing the support of friends and family essential during baby's first year.

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Siobhan Freegard, founder ChannelMum, said: "Forget the seven-year itch – it's six months of sleepless nights that are most likely to prise apart new parents.

"Sleepless nights, less time for intimacy and added responsibility can test even the most committed relationships."

Zoë Bonser, show director of The Baby Show observed, "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."

She added, "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."

Freegard said, "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."

She advised, "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."