– with video

By Emma Elsworthy

The first week after a baby’s birth is the part parents enjoy the most – but it is also the toughest, according to a study carried out among mums and dads.

Researchers found the unbridled joy of bringing a new baby into the world makes the new-born’s first days so exciting.

But gruelling sleepless nights feeding and changing the new arrival leaves many mums and dads in a blurry haze of exhaustion.

The study by parenting site ChannelMum.com also found six to seven months later when babies start to sit up, and 11 to 12 months when they begin to walk are also cherished times.

Parents also loved weeks two to six when babies are still new-born, along with, three to four months when babies begin to respond to familiar faces.

Five months is also fun, according to the poll, when little ones start to ‘chat’ by cooing or even blowing raspberries.

Cathy Ranson, editor of ChannelMum.com, said: “The saying ‘nothing worth having comes easy’ could have been born for the first year of a baby’s life.

“There’s no denying the first year can be incredibly tough, especially for first-time mums and dads, with the new-born week a shock to even the most prepared parents.

“But the highs outweigh the lows, and the sense of love and achievement gained from watching your baby develop and grow is one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

“So if you’re struggling, keep going as it will get better and you’ll remember the good times more than the tough ones.”

However, the stages mums found hardest were the first week, followed by 11 to 12 months when many mums go back to work, then the new-born’s week’s two to six.

Other least-liked stages were weeks six to nine, when most babies still wake several times a night, three to four months when they may begin to roll over or get teeth, and weeks nine to 12 when babies start to have their first jabs and chew anything they can reach.

But even these difficult weeks were outweighed by the positive aspects of parenthood, with seven in ten (71 per cent) saying ‘meeting my baby at birth’ was a magical baby milestone, followed by ‘hearing my baby laugh’ (59 per cent) and seeing my baby smile (57 per cent).

Lack of sleep was named as the biggest reason for finding a baby stage difficult, experienced by two-thirds (65 per cent) of parents.

Over a quarter (28 per cent) said they struggled with ‘my baby being so dependent on me’ and 27 per cent were ‘in shock’ at becoming a parent.

One in five loathed being ‘stuck in the house’ while one in nine (11 per cent) said parenthood meant they rowed more with their partner.

‘Seeing my baby change and grow’ was the most popular reason for enjoying a baby stage (55 per cent), followed by ‘special bonding time for my baby and me’ (half of parents polled) and ‘seeing my baby develop a character’ (49 per cent).

Baby’s first steps were voted for by 33 per cent along with first words by 31 per cent.

However, the study of 2,204 parents also revealed the extent of family interference in the first year of a baby’s life.

Over half of mums and dads (54 per cent) admit their families gave unwanted advice or tried to change their parenting style in the first year. Interference is worst aged two weeks to six weeks, then again at 11 to 12 months.

The worst culprits were Mother-In-Laws with 69 per cent of affected families saying MILs tried to take over, followed by the mum’s own mother (33 per cent). And one in five even received unwanted advice from friends without children.

The biggest cause of arguments was new parents being accused of ‘spoiling the baby’ (42 per cent) followed by rows over routines (40 per cent).

A further 37 per cent of families fought as relatives wanted new parents to go out and leave the baby, so other family members could look after him or her.

Find out more at http://www.channelmum.com/baby-development

1. Meeting my baby at birth – 71%
2. Hearing my baby laugh – 59%
3. Seeing my baby smile – 57%
4. Walking – 33 %
5. First words – 31%
6. Sleeping through the night – 25%
7. First sounds – 20%
8. Crawling – 19%
9. Rolling over – 14%
10. Weaning – 12%
11. First bath – 10%
12. First tooth – 7%

Six stages parents enjoy the most
1. First Week
2. 6 to 7 months
3. 11 to 12 months
4. Weeks 2 to 6
5. 3 to 4 months
6. 4 to 5 months

Six stages parents find toughest
1. First Week
2. 11 to 12 months
3. Weeks 2 to 6
4. Week 6 to 9
5. 3 to 4 months
6. Week 9 to 12

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