First-time parents on the reality of life with a new baby

How do the hopes and fears of pregnant women compare with the reality of giving birth and life with a baby? We asked new parents for some insight

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A new survey from Asda and Mumsnet asked over 1,000 pregnant women and first-time parents about their hopes and fears - and the reality of life with a newborn.

Cheeringly, although 79% of pregnant women had worries in advance of their baby's birth, new parents found there was much to be positive about once the baby was born.

The survey was conducted to mark the launch of Babyfest, Mumsnet’s annual pregnancy and birth event. Results showed:

  • More than a quarter (26%) of first-time mothers were surprised at how well they felt after giving birth

  • Two thirds (66%) fell in love with their baby at first sight

  • Nearly half (45%) were unprepared for just how much time they would spend just staring in wonder at their baby

  • An upbeat 18% like doing the washing for their baby (although 38% do not)

  • The three best things about caring for their new baby are cuddles (74%), seeing them learn new skills (68%) and watching them grow up (46%)

Get ready for sleepless nights

Six out of ten (64%) first-time parents say they were unprepared for just how tired they would be. 

Sleepless nights were also the top worry for pregnant women, with 77% saying that the lack of sleep was the aspect of caring for a new baby that they were least looking forward to.

Discover a new perspective

The new parents surveyed also shared how having a baby changed their outlook and relationships.

  • 87% are more appreciative of what their parents did for them since having a baby

  • 81% say they’re less selfish since having a baby

  • 91% say it’s made them view the world differently

Throw away the birth plan

Birth plans are one area in which people’s expectations don’t quite match up to the reality. 41% of expectant parents felt that 'writing a birth plan will enable me to have the birth I want' - but only 19% who had given birth in the past two years concurred.

One in ten (10%) of the pregnant respondents said that they feared not getting to the hospital in time.  However, none of the first-time mums polled said that this was the worst thing about giving birth.

Re-calculate the costs (for the better)

10% of the pregnant women surveyed expected to spend more than £5,000 on their baby up to the age of six months.  But in reality, the first-time parents said that they had spent just over £2,500 on baby equipment such as cot, pram, toys and clothing (excluding any lost income).

Be prepared - with Babyfest

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet CEO said: "Nothing can completely prepare first-time parents for the reality of labour, birth and looking after a newborn, but we like to think Mumsnet comes closest; it’s full of straight-talking and supportive mothers and fathers who have been there and done that. Babyfest is a brilliant opportunity for expectant mums and dads to get the jump on this exhausting but brilliant life-changing experience."

Simon King, Brand Manager for Little Angels at Asda said: "Little Angels is delighted to support Mumsnet with their fantastic Babyfest event. Anyone who can help make navigating the amazing but mind boggling world of parenting easier gets a huge thumbs up from us."

View the full results from the survey.

Buy tickets for Babyfest now - £25 or two for £45.

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Last updated: over 4 years ago