NEW YORK — Although kids don’t come with an instruction manual, a new study finds many moms and dads admit they could use one. Two in three parents of infants say they have no clue what they’re doing when it comes to parenting.
A recent survey of 2,000 American parents with children under one year-old finds 68 percent feel like they’re just winging it, especially for the first six months of their baby’s life.
The ongoing pandemic hasn’t made things easier either. Two in three parents also say the crisis has completely changed the way they take care of their children. In addition to being a parent, many are taking on other roles at home such as being a chef (55%), daycare provider (51%), a maid (50%), and teacher (50%).
Juggling all of these jobs has cut the sleep of nearly a third of the poll (31%), who average about five hours of sleep every night. Besides not getting enough sleep (63%), parents also struggle with not having enough time for self-care (58%) or for doing other errands during the day (56%).
Who do parents turn to for sound advice?
Parents often seek advice when it comes to their baby’s health and development. For 54 percent, their baby’s pediatrician is their top choice for getting words of wisdom, with friends (45%) and online searches (43%) following closely behind. However, all of this advice can be overwhelming for 56 percent of parents. In fact, three in four (73%) want to prioritize caring for their infant’s emotional needs just as much as their physical ones.
“As a pediatrician and mother, I am extremely passionate about informing new parents on how to fuel their baby’s development and immune health,” says pediatrician and Enfamil NeuroPro spokesperson, Dr. Mona Amin, in a statement. “The first year is critical to a baby’s cognitive development and growth – to maximize this window of opportunity, baby’s brain and immune system need to be nourished.”
Seven in ten (69%) respondents wish there were more accessible resources so they could help their child’s cognitive development. That’s why 68 percent have taken extra steps to support their child. Eight in ten (81%) took advantage of their time off during the pandemic by bonding more with their newborn.
During COVID, parents also encouraged their little ones to play with learning-based toys or games (70%), read books to them (66%), and sang nursery rhymes together (62%) about five days a week. To further stimulate their cognitive development, respondents say they show their child their reflection (62%) and feed them enriching foods (56%).
Two-thirds (67%) of parents feed their baby infant formula and 85 percent take the time to do extensive research and pay close attention to ingredients and their benefits before selecting a formula for their child.
“One of the things that most parents surveyed (94%) specifically value in formula is the ability to provide cognitive development and immune support for their baby,” Dr. Amin reports. “In order to fuel their potential, parents should supplement their baby’s brain-building formula with interactive and independent activities that will exercise their baby’s cognitive development to set them up for the best start in life.”