Pressures Biggest Challenge Facing Parents, finds Parenting Index study of 8,000+ in 16 countries

The Parenting Index1, a first-of-its-kind study into parenting experiences commissioned by Nestlé and conducted by Kantar, has identified universal factors2 that impact parenting across the world – with the most significant being internal and external pressures. The Index reflects the views of over 8,000 moms and dads of babies aged 0-12 months in 16 countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia.

“At Nestlé, we are always challenging ourselves to better understand the complexities of the parenting journey, so we can further support parents and help make their lives easier,” said Sophia Jalal, Business Executive Officer, Nestlé Nutrition, Middle East and North Africa. “While parenting comes with so many joys, it is also accompanied by universal pressures which we are exploring in this study so we can contribute to making life easier on parents, especially in the first crucial 1,000 days of a child’s life.”

Unsolicited advice topped the list of social pressures which The Parenting Index found parents face, with 60% of respondents from around the world reporting feeling everyone has a view on how to raise their child. Loneliness in a hyper-connected world was also a big concern, with 32% saying it’s easy to feel isolated and lonely with a baby in their arms despite friends and family being only a text away. And the unexpected realities of parenthood were raised by nearly a third (31%) who reported feeling unprepared for the realities of becoming a parent, with 53% of them having to make more compromises than expected.

Pressure across the world  

One first-time father experienced particular pressure via social media: “It’s good for our parents and friends who live far away to see pictures of our little daughter. Normally people comment really positive things, but sometimes they start to criticize us and try to push us down.”

Another mother said: “I believe that my mom taught me everything and of course, sometimes you have to hear them out. But it doesn’t mean that you have to apply it to your children.”

“The Parenting Index allows us to better understand the experiences and challenges facing parents today, and in the future, as we plan to repeat the study every few years and work with more partners to better gauge and support the needs of parents,” added Sophia Jalal.

“We have already started this journey by updating our Global Parental Support Policy for employees, providing science-based support to pediatricians so they can better integrate nutrition into their clinical practice and support parents, and by expanding Nestlé Mom&me – our educational online service for moms and dads – to ensure we are addressing the findings of our study and providing broader support for parents.”

Nestlé’s Global Parental Support Policy offers Nestlé employees 18 weeks of fully paid parental leave for primary caregivers, and a minimum of four weeks for secondary caregivers, flexible working arrangements, and access to breastfeeding rooms, among other facilities.

Nestlé’s Mom&me is a new online platform that provides articles and questionnaires to help parents navigate the first three years of a child’s life.

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