New parents will have more than 2,500 arguments in the first year of their baby’s life, a study has found.
The study of 2,000 mums and dads found they will have up to seven arguments a day about how to look after the baby, and who is doing the most around the house.
Common disputes during year one include who is the most tired and who should get up in the night – but 16 per cent of couples will grumble about the lack of sex, according to the study.
A further 17 per cent argue about the general lack of affection once baby is born, while 12 per cent of couples have fallen out after one pressured the other to have nookie.
Division of responsibilities also set couples off bickering – with housework not getting done, who should be responsible for feeding, burping and changing the baby also featuring in the list.
And 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 ten 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 per cent 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 per cent said when they were together, all they would do is argue.
Zoë Bonser, show director at The Baby Show, said: “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.”
Looking back on their first year of parenthood, four in ten parents wish they had done more to prepare for what was ahead.
More than 25 per cent of parents were shocked at feeling less close to their partner once the baby was born, and 42 per cent wish they had considered taking a course on how to ‘baby-proof’ their relationship.
However, 23 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, did call on family and friends for additional support, and 24 per cent 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.
Top 20 ‘year one’ arguments, according to the study
1. Who is the most tired / had the least sleep
2. Who should get up in the night with the baby
3. Housework not getting done
4. Having less money than usual
5. One person being out at work all day and the other being left alone to parent
6. Who should be responsible for feeding, changing, burping the baby
7. Someone not doing their fair share of the work
8. One person going out and socialising more than the other
9. Lack of affection
10. Not having time to go out together
11. One of you not putting in enough effort
12. Not being able to soothe the baby when it is crying
13. Lack of sex
14. Whether the baby should be left to cry alone
15. Disagreement over relatives / in-laws getting involved
16. One of you isn’t talking to the other as much
17. Pressure to have sex when you don’t want to
18. One party being bored when home alone with the baby
19. Whether the baby is poorly or not
20. How much the baby should drink / eat