Why firstborn babies strain your relationship

Researchers discover what most new parents already know: lack of sleep really affects you and your partner!


Your first baby can put a big strain on your relationship because of the lack of sleep, a new study has said.


Even if mums and dads don’t realise it, disturbed nights do impact on how they get along with each other. Satisfaction with a partner is directly connected to the amount of sleep had, the study of 22 first-time parents found.

So what good can come of knowing this? Well, it shows how important it is for new parents to prepare for sleep issues after their baby arrives.

“Preventive measures that target sleep during the postpartum period could potentially be used to buffer against decreases in relationship satisfaction among new parents,” said Professor Salvatore Insana, a neuroscientist at West Virginia University, reports the Telegraph.

“Furthermore, positive parental relationship satisfaction has been previously associated with positive parenting behaviours.

“Therefore, our current findings could be used to ultimately promote positive parenting and healthy infant development.”

The study uncovered another interesting finding – first-time dads are more satisfied with their relationship than their first-time mum partners thought they were.

The parents involved in the study wore sensors on their wrists, so their sleep could be measured. They also wrote a sleep report each morning, noting their own opinion of their sleep and their partner’s sleep, plus their view of their own and their partner’s relationship satisfaction.


Professor Salvatore said the study suggests it could be beneficial to increase maternity and paternity leave.

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