Parenting Concerns

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Parenting Concerns

Top concerns of new parents include not being good enough, a child's health, nutrition, and development, as well as their housing situation. They frequently post child photos and videos, participate in online parenting groups and communities, use high-tech devices, and rely on parenting apps. Parents with young children tend to seek child product recommendations, as well as baby health- and nutrition-related content. Major challenges they face are finding the right work/life balance, managing household budget, fatigue, relationship tensions, and loneliness.

Concerns

Child's Overall Health

  • Health is the top concern of US mothers with new children, with 58% naming it as the key issue they are worried about.
  • In the first year after giving birth, mothers spend 1,400 hours worrying about their baby's health.
  • Most frequently observed symptoms include diaper rash (54%), fever (41%), cradle cap (36%), baby acne (34%), vomiting (32%), issues breastfeeding (30%), ear infection (25%), colic (23%), allergies (21%), and swollen belly (11%).
  • Among British new parents, 54% are primarily concerned with their child being fit and healthy, which makes it their top worry.
  • Also, 44% of them stress about their baby's health daily, and 20% do it hourly.
  • For UK new parents, one of the most worrying symptoms is excessive crying. Out of those who worry over it, 36% do it every hour. Other major concerns include the quality of poop and the length of sleep.
  • 18% of women and 23% of men deal with worrying over the baby's health by drinking a glass of wine.
  • In Ireland, 70% of new and expecting parents named their child's health and safety as their top concern.

Reaching Developmental Milestones

  • Their child reaching developmental milestones at the right time is the top worry of 54% of American new parents, according to SWNS. Zero to Three confirms that it's a major concern.
  • Also, 70% of US parents with young children seek information on developmental milestones, which makes it a key topic of interest.
  • According to a study by AIA Singapore, a child's developmental and learning disorders are also among the top three concerns of new parents in Singapore.
  • Additionally, 27% of British new parents stress over their child's development.

Nutrition

  • 52% of new American moms are worried about their child consuming the right amount of milk or formula.
  • Also, 47% of them are concerned with their child's nutritional intake, such as vitamins or supplements.
  • According to a survey by Zero to Three, nutrition is one of the top three concerns of millennial parents with children aged 0-5.
  • In the UK, 22% of new parents are worried about their child's eating habits.
  • A report by Mintel discovered that most Chinese new parents are concerned by their child's insufficient nutritional intake. They are also confused with conflicting advice on baby nutrition and eager to learn and share the proper way to feed the baby.
  • Also, Chinese new parents who choose complementary food mostly look at whether it fulfills the child's nutritional needs (52%), followed by a safe country of origin (47%), and a reliable brand (46%).
  • Proper baby nutrition is increasingly concerning for new parents in the whole Asia-Pacific region. It is one of the main drivers for the shift from conventional to organic food. As parents become more focused on the quality of baby nutrition, manufacturers replace traditional ingredients with healthy alternatives.

Not Being Good Enough as a Parent

  • Globally, 55% of parents admit to feeling not good enough in the first year after the birth of their child. 60% of new mothers and 45% of new fathers feel this way.
  • 42% of new parents blame social media for the pressure to be perfect. 39% fear they would be judged if they talked about the issues they are having, and 45% choose to "put on a brave face" instead of being open about their problems.
  • Unrealistic portrayals of parenting in TV, advertisements, and movies also contribute to the feeling of failure, together with tiredness and feeding issues.
  • New parents from Australia and New Zealand are the most self-critical, followed by British parents.
  • In another survey, 71% of new parents from the UK admitted that social media makes parenting increasingly competitive, while 22% felt pressured to be perfect.

Housing

  • Affordable housing is the major concern for Chinese new parents, especially those born after 1990.
  • While the majority (77%) owned or bought a place before their child was born, they frequently struggle with debt payments.
  • 21% plan to buy a house, and 24% want to sell their place and find a bigger one. Out of those who are renting in 1-st tier cities, 24% feel pressured by rising rents.
  • Housing-related concerns are also among top worries for British parents. 14% are preoccupied with not having enough room for a nursery, while 13% think that their home may be too small. Further 12% are worried about the location of their home.
  • The issue is especially pressing for young parents living in London, where seven in ten homeless households are located, and 80% include children. Also, there is a home shortage, and the lowest rent is 115% higher than in any other place in England.
  • In the US, 59% had to postpone purchasing a house or a car due to child-related expenses.


Digital Habits, Attitudes, and Preferences

Posting Child Photos and Updates on Social Media

  • Average British parents have posted 1,300 videos and photos of their child until he or she turns 13.
  • 60% of UK parents of children under four have shared child's pictures via social media, though they tend to only make them visible for family and friends.
  • In the US, 73% of new parents post monthly progress pictures of their child, with 45% admitting to posting more on social media since their child was born. However, their child-related activity decreases after the first two years.
  • Child-related posts account for around 56% of American women's and 40% of American men's social media output. This translates into 7.34 and 6.16 posts per month, respectively.
  • US parents may spend up to two hours trying to take the perfect baby picture they will later show on social media. One in five feels competitive about child-related posts.
  • The main reasons for child-related social media activity include giving updates to family and friends (70%), easily creating photos or videos (17%), and feeling good about "showing off their kid" (13%).
  • At the same time, 60% of couples talked about rules related to posting their children's photos. 15% of parents experienced tension with their partners because of child-related social media posts and 20% — with their family and friends.
  • Overall, 85% of mothers in the US, Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand admitted to posting a photo of their child under two on social media.

Participation in Online Communities

  • In China, most of the new parents use parenting group chats on WeChat. A typical new parent is in three such group chats, while mothers average five.
  • New parents from first-tier cities tend to join chats with parenting lectures and online courses. Among those from second-tier cities, 52% participate in baby shopping groups.
  • In the US, three in four expecting or new parents are a part of an online group and community.
  • 36% of American parents of newborns (0-4 months) and 39% of parents of babies (5-9 months) are members of an online parenting group. Women are 1.7x more likely to join.
  • In Italy, mothers of children 0-3 are the most likely to be members of at least one parenting Facebook group. 59% of those who belong to such communities think of it as an element of their daily routine.
  • Italian mothers use parenting groups to feel less alone, make new connections, and find parenting information.

Device Preferences

  • In the UK, while parents typically use around three connected devices, young parents and parents with younger kids tend to use more.
  • Young parents are also more likely to use high-tech devices like smart home devices and VR headsets. Overall, 16% of parents use the former and 6% — the latter.
  • In the US, millennial parents are much more likely than childless millennials to own a voice assistant (47% to 22%), use a tablet (51% to 44%), and a smartwatch (37% to 21%).
  • 94% of American millennial parents of children aged 0-5 own a smartphone.
  • In India, 70% of mothers of children aged 1-3 used smartphone for parenting. 26% used iPad or tablet, 18% — baby monitor, 17% — virtual assistants, 16% — video monitoring camera, 13% — smart toothbrush, 10% — toddler monitor motion sensor, and 10% — baby shusher.
  • The global market for baby-monitoring is expected to grow from $929 million in 2016 to $1.63 billion in 2025. China is the biggest market, though the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow quickly.

Parenting Apps

  • In the US, 49% of millennial new parents use parenting apps.
  • In the same age group, 65% of Latino and 62% of African American parents use such apps.
  • In March 2018, in China, there were 82.5 million monthly active users of parenting apps, demonstrating 15% year-on-year growth. In 2018, parents with children aged 0-3 were the core user group.
  • 77.7% of the users are daily ones. They usually spend 5-10 minutes on one use.
  • Chinese new parents turn to parenting apps as a source of parenting knowledge, a way to record child stories and write articles, as well as for financial tools and e-commerce. They like to consume short video and audio content.
  • Around 70% are willing to pay for knowledge inside parenting apps. Also, 64.5% don't hate in-app adds, and 51.2% accept or approve of them, especially if they are relevant.
  • Parenting apps are also one of the preferred child-related digital products or services among Indian new mothers. 54% used them, and 42% either want to use or recommend them to others.


Type of Information Sought from Digital Resources

Recommendations on Baby Products

  • In China, most new parents use WeChat to get information on baby products and services.
  • 57% of them take recommendations from chat groups, 54% — friends' shares on moments, 54% — official branded accounts, 46% — branded chat groups, 39% — brands' shares on moments, 30% — key opinion leaders content, 12% — WeChat search, and 11% — WeChat MiniProgram.
  • In the US, 45% of parents with newborns and 46% of those with babies name social media as the preferred way to learn about baby products and services.
  • Furthermore, 65% of newborns' parents and 73% of babies' parents use Facebook for friends or family recommendations on products and services.
  • India is another country where new parents, particularly moms, are looking for new product recommendations from online influencers and bloggers. Brands try to benefit from the huge audience by finding creative ways to collaborate with blogs, blogging platforms, and influencers.

Nutrition and Breastfeeding-related Content

  • 45% of Chinese new parents follow WeChat accounts that focus on baby nutrition and food.
  • Also, 75% of users of Chinese parenting apps (as noted above, most of them have children aged 0-3) seek parenting knowledge from them. Nutrition advice is their preferred function.
  • In the US, nutrition is the most searched topic among millennial new parents. 70% of them sought such information.
  • It is worth noting that American new parents' interest in this topic is universal across all education and income levels. It also doesn't depend on the marital status.
  • In an online survey by researchers from the Newcastle University, 98% of British new mothers reported using social media for breastfeeding advice, compared to 44% who turned to their health visitor, and 6% — to a general practitioner.
  • Also, qualitative studies show that social media groups offer breastfeeding support and knowledge to women in Australia and African American mothers in the US.
  • In Australia, new mothers tend to seek answers or encouragement related to breastfeeding management, breastfeeding and health, or breastfeeding and work.
  • African American women in the US turn to Facebook groups because there is always someone available to provide guidance.

Medical/Wellbeing Content

  • Among Chinese new parents, 44% consume child-related content that provides medical and general wellbeing knowledge.
  • In the US, an average new mother does 330 Google (or other Internet) searches related to her child's health.
  • Overall, US parents are more likely to seek medical and safety content online if their close family and friends are at different life stages or aren't digitally-savvy.
  • Among millennial new parents in the US, 60% seek health and wellbeing information from science-based websites, such as WebMD and Centers for Disease Control.
  • 82% of them trust such websites, compared to 54% that trust the information they find on social media.
  • 91% of Swiss-German parents of children aged 0-2 use digital resources for baby-health related information, mainly because it is available around the clock. 55% use search engines, and 47% turn directly to websites for parents.
  • However, the same percentage (91%) of those parents have doubts about the accuracy of the content, with 67% discussing it with their pediatrician.
  • In the UK, 69% of new parents research their baby's symptoms on the Internet. They do it weekly, daily, or hourly.


Challenges

Finding the Work-Life Balance

  • Finding the right work-life balance is the key challenge for parents with young children in multiple geographies across the globe.
  • For instance, 50% of young Filipino parents think their workplace doesn't provide enough flexibility to take care of their child.
  • The inflexible workplace is one of the main reasons why parents with young children from the Asian-Pacific region quit their jobs.
  • Among young parents from the Philippines, especially those with new children, 62% of men and 71% of women are planning to change jobs next year. In Singapore, the same is true for 76% of males and 70% of females from the same group.
  • In Malaysia, 75% of young mothers quit their jobs due to a lack of workplace flexibility. 55% also say that their boss and overall working environment are unsupportive toward balancing work and childcare.
  • In the US, seven out of ten parents surveyed by the Bipartisan Policy Center said raising a child "affected their ability to stay in the workforce."
  • 42% of parents with young children reported having changed jobs in search of a more flexible workplace, while 55% had to work extra hours to afford childcare-related expenses.

Loneliness and Isolation

  • According to a Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, parenthood is always socially isolating. Parents with new children tend to focus solely on their child's needs, which makes them likely to lose meaningful social relationships.
  • In the UK, 56% of parents with young children admit to feeling lonely at least sometimes. Among those with children under five, the number rises to 76%. Additionally, 90% of new mothers struggle with loneliness, and 54% feel friendless.
  • 21% of English parents with children younger than five experience a lack of companionship, while 23% tend to feel isolated.
  • Groups of new parents with the highest risk of feeling lonely are mothers, young parents (aged 25-34), and those in low-income households.
  • Also, 52% of Canadian new parents feel both socially isolated and lonely. The country's mothers of new kids lack time to maintain relationships and pursue their interests. They also feel disconnected from their past life.
  • In Australia, one in ten adults lacks social support, and one in six feels emotional loneliness. However, single parents are among the most likely to struggle with those two issues, with around 40% of single fathers admitting to them.
  • According to the American Time Use Survey, new mothers in the US spend 22 hours on childcare-related duties, which contributes to their feeling of loneliness. Other reasons include little cash to spend on social activities, changing relationships with their partners, friends, and colleagues, a different routine, and physical tiredness after giving birth.

Managing the Household Budget

  • According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, 59% of American new parents had to decrease their spending on essentials, such as food, gas, and clothing. Also, 75% reported cutting back on nonessential spending.
  • The same survey shows that nearly 50% of parents with children under five either decrease or delay retirement savings, 42% take credit card debt and 26% struggle with payments on student loans.
  • In Australia, 45% experience financial stress after having a child, while 46% do not feel financially secure the year after having a baby.
  • Also, 49% of Australian parents of children aged 12 or less wish they had more savings before becoming parents. 12% think they should have bought a house before having a baby.
  • Similarly, managing their household budget is a key concern for young Chinese parents. According to a study by Babytree, they are often forced to cut back on personal expenses due to childcare costs and house debt payments.

Fatigue

  • In Australia, up to 60% of new mothers experience insomnia and increased fatigue.
  • Around 25% of Australian parents have "really unsettled" babies who wake up multiple times during the night and cry a lot. Most mothers of such children have severe fatigue.
  • Also, 20% of new mums and 10% of new dads in the region suffer from anxiety, which prevents them from sleeping even if their newborn doesn't require them to stay up.
  • In Germany, a study on 3,600 new parents found that that sleep duration and satisfaction decreased at childbirth and were at their lowest after the first three months.
  • The researchers discovered that sleeping patterns don't go back to normal until six years later.
  • In the UK, new parents get 59% less sleep than the recommended eight hours, which adds up to 50 nights in a year.
  • Two-thirds of them report arguing with their partner because of sleep deprivation, and 23% admit to behaving "slightly unusually" due to lack of rest.
  • 48% of American new parents name lack of sleep as the biggest challenge. During the first year of parenthood, 22% of them fell asleep when standing up, and 33% fell asleep at work.
  • In the US, most mothers go back to work ten weeks after giving birth, which is 15 weeks before their children start to sleep through the night. 73% of them struggle with being tired at work.

Tension in the Relationship

  • In the US, couples with new babies have up to seven arguments a day, which adds up to 2,500 arguments in the first year of their child's life.
  • Common issues they fight about include choosing who should get up at night, lack of intimacy or affection, sex life, house chores, and how much a child should eat.
  • According to the latest State of Motherhood Survey, 20% of American mothers pulled them apart from their partner. Three biggest issues are spending time together (33%), sex life (26%), and money issues (19%).
  • The survey also found that 38% of new US mothers need 6-12 months to regain interest in sexual intimacy.
  • In Australia, 50% of new mothers whose children don't sleep well have relationship tensions with their partners.
  • Also, marriage and partnership tensions among young Australian parents are frequently caused by the combined stress of work and family life. Overall, one in three parents have experienced this issue.
  • Among first-time British parents, 40% admit to arguing more after their child was born, most commonly about childcare duties.


Research Strategy

Our research encompassed a multitude of parenting sites, reports by think tanks and nonprofit organizations, white papers by companies that offer child-related products and services, as well as national media sites from different regions. We concluded that most of the available information on the requested topic is country-specific. Therefore, we made an assumption that a concern, challenge, habit, or information type can be considered "top" or most relevant if it was named as a major issue for at least three different geographies. We included quantitative data to additionally justify its inclusion.

Please note that while we didn't prioritize any regions, the availability of the information in English-language media forced us to focus on certain countries, such as the US, the UK, and China.

We also included some of the findings from the initial research. The two lists of top concerns from the US and the UK are the only available reports that give general overviews of top concerns, which is why we decided to use them. However, we made sure to provide more robust data and additional context.
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