Parenthood: Coping With Common Struggles For New Parents

Parenthood: Coping With Common Struggles For New Parents

Becoming a parent is one of the most profound transitions in life. It brings a surge of joy, love, and fulfilment, but it also introduces an array of challenges and struggles that can be overwhelming. For new parents, the journey is often marked by sleepless nights, constant worry, and the pressure to balance various responsibilities. Understanding and addressing these common struggles can significantly enhance the parenting experience and foster a healthier environment for both parents and children.

Sleep deprivation

One of the most immediate challenges new parents face is sleep deprivation. Newborns have irregular sleep patterns, often waking every two to three hours for feeding. This disrupted sleep can leave parents feeling exhausted and irritable, impacting their ability to function during the day. Managing sleep deprivation can be challenging, but parents might find some relief by taking turns to ensure that each partner gets a block of uninterrupted sleep. If napping when the baby naps does not help, consider asking for support from family or friends to watch the baby for a few hours, allowing you to rest. Additionally, establishing a consistent bedtime routine for the baby from an early age can help regulate their sleep patterns over time, which can benefit the entire family.

Feeding issues

Feeding, whether breastfeeding or formula feeding, can present its own unique challenges. Many mothers struggle with breastfeeding, facing issues like latching difficulties, low milk supply, or pain. Seeking support from lactation consultants can be invaluable in addressing these issues. For formula-feeding parents, finding the right formula that agrees with the baby’s digestive system can be a trial-and-error process and may require experimentation. Regardless of the feeding method, patience and persistence are key. Consulting family general practitioners or paediatricians for guidance and reassurance can help alleviate concerns and ensure the baby is getting adequate nutrition.

Emotional and mental health

The emotional toll of new parenthood can be significant. Many new parents experience the "baby blues," characterised by mood swings, anxiety, sadness, and difficulty bonding with their baby, usually peaking within the first few weeks postpartum. However, if these feelings persist or intensify, they might be indicative of postpartum depression, a serious condition that requires attention. Although postpartum depression is typically associated with mothers, fathers can also experience depression after the birth of their child.

If you find that you have difficulties managing your emotions after the birth of your child, seeking support from healthcare providers, counsellors, or support groups may be beneficial. Open communication between partners about feelings and struggles can also provide emotional relief and strengthen the parental bond.

Relationship strain

The arrival of a baby often shifts the dynamic between partners. This change can sometimes result in feelings of neglect and resentment within the relationship due to lack of attention. To maintain a healthy balance, couples may find it helpful to prioritise spending quality time together, even if it's just a few minutes each day. Sharing responsibilities and being mindful of each other’s needs can also help alleviate strain. Counselling can be beneficial for couples who are struggling to navigate these changes, providing a safe space to express concerns and work on solutions.

Managing expectations

New parents often face immense pressure to meet societal and self-imposed expectations of perfect parenting. This pressure can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure. It is important to understand that perfect parenting is not possible. Each baby is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Setting realistic expectations and being kind to oneself are essential steps in managing this pressure. Joining parenting groups or online forums can offer support and reassurance from others experiencing similar challenges.

Balancing work and parenthood

For working parents, balancing professional responsibilities with parenting can be daunting. The feeling of parental guilt when leaving a child in daycare or with a caregiver can be overwhelming. Employers are now increasingly recognising the need for flexible working arrangements, such as remote work or adjustable hours, to support new parents. Communicating openly with employers about the challenges and seeking flexible solutions can help alleviate stress. Time management strategies and prioritising tasks can also assist in finding a balance between work and family life.

Seeking help and support

Raising a child truly takes a village. New parents often feel pressure to do everything on their own, but accepting help from family, friends, or professional services can lighten the load and provide much-needed support. Whether it's having a relative babysit for a few hours or hiring a cleaning service to reduce household chores, accepting help can significantly reduce the burden on new parents. Community resources, such as parenting classes and support groups, can also provide valuable information and emotional support. Remember, accepting assistance does not indicate a sign of weakness; rather, it can be a strength to recognise when you need support and be willing to accept it.


Parenthood is a journey filled with highs and lows. Coping with the common struggles of new parents requires patience, support, and self-compassion. By addressing sleep deprivation, feeding issues, emotional and mental health, relationship strain, managing expectations, and balancing work and parenthood, new parents can create a nurturing environment not just for their child, but also for themselves.

Seeking professional help, such as a child’s therapist in Singapore, can provide specialised support for children facing emotional or developmental challenges, using a variety of techniques. Additionally, adult counselling in Singapore can offer parents the guidance and emotional support needed to navigate the complexities of parenthood. Embracing the journey with an open heart and a willingness to seek help can make the path of parenthood a rewarding and fulfilling experience.


Rai, S., Pathak, A., & Sharma, I. (2015). Postpartum psychiatric disorders: Early diagnosis and management. Indian journal of psychiatry, 57(Suppl 2), S216–S221.

Scime, N. V., Metcalfe, A., Nettel-Aguirre, A., Nerenberg, K., Seow, C. H., Tough, S. C., & Chaput, K. H. (2023). Breastfeeding difficulties in the first 6 weeks postpartum among mothers with chronic conditions: a latent class analysis. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 23(1), 90.