HEALTH CARE

Never alone but often lonely: New study by Maltesers® reveals how new mums need more than ‘likes’ to feel supported

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Maltesers® launches #LoveBeatsLikes, a new social media campaign highlighting how mums need their networks to show up and show some love, not just give them “likes” on social media

New research from Maltesers® has explored the impact social media has on mums’ mental health, revealing that a third of first-time mums admitted to only sharing positive posts on social media about parenthood. While almost two-thirds (64 per cent) believe the content that other mums chose to post online doesn’t reflect the reality of how they are feeling or coping.

Commissioned by Maltesers®, the study of 1,000 UK mums who had their child in the past five years found that almost half admitted to using social media as a distraction from feeling lonely during their first year as a parent. In fact, 44 per cent couldn’t help but compare themselves to other mums on Facebook and Instagram.

The survey aims to shines a light on what also happens behind the phone screen, with new mums finding the first year of their baby’s life more tiring, stressful, and chaotic than they’d ever expected. Some of the biggest challenges identified included a lack of sleep, constant worrying and trying to live up to expectations.

Other challenges during the first year were feeling a loss of identity, realising time is no longer their own and feeling disconnected from friends.

In fact, the study found during the typical week in that first year, mums would receive two face-to-face visits, six texts or WhatsApp messages from friends, and four social media messages. However, to compare, mums found that on average eight hours and 21 minutes a day were spent alone with just their baby, which demonstrates the importance of the Maltesers awareness campaign.

The findings come as Maltesers® launches an important new social media campaign,#LoveBeatsLikes, which aims to encourage the support networks of mums – from their friends and family – to check in, show some love and recognise that social media likes don’t help with the tough and lonely challenges that new mums face. 

Speaking about the campaign, Ellie Taylor, comedian, and mother said: “Baby photos are gorgeous and it’s easy to feel that ‘liking’ them online is a supportive thing to do but behind that photo could be an exhausted and sometimes lonely new mum who needs a bit more love. That’s why I’m proud to stand with Maltesers® for the #LoveBeatsLikes campaign to call on the friends and family of those weary eyed new mamas to show up and show some love.”

Whilst three quarters admitted the first year of parenting was harder than they had thought it would be, almost nine in 10 said becoming a mum was one of the best things they’ve ever done and 55 per cent still described their first year as exciting.

Leah Dyckes, Brand Director, Maltesers® said: “Alongside the benefits and networks that social media brings, it can also impact the meaningful connections new mums need to make when they’ve had a baby. In a world that has acknowledged that ‘likes’ are not enough to support the causes we care about, we can be slow to recognise that the people we love need more than a double tap and a ‘heart eye’ emoji.

“Through our survey we found that, while motherhood brings many joys it can also be incredibly challenging and tough, with more than half of new mums wishing the loneliness and impact on mum’s wellbeing was spoken about more openly. Through our #LoveBeatsLike campaign we’re asking mums’ support networks to go one step further through small gestures, physical connection and a bit more love – to show mums they’re not alone!”

Of those polled via OnePoll, 47 per cent were the first out of their friendship group to become a mum and more than half felt their friends couldn’t relate to their lifestyle.

Today’s Maltesers® research shows that three in 10 used social media as a way of reaching out to others and 26 per cent said ‘likes’ online gave them a boost. However, more than a third also felt left out and 32 per cent said their peers didn’t know what to say or how to help.

In order to ease the pressure of parenting, friends could have visited more for face-to-face catch ups, offered to join them for walks and included them in conversations about ‘normal’ life, according to mums.

In addition, the #LoveBeatsLikes campaign, Maltesers® has partnered with Comic Relief for a multi-year partnership. Money donated by Maltesers® will fund projects aimed at supporting women’s mental health and empowerment journeys. For more information, visit comicrelief.com/maltesers for more information on where to find help.

Join the conversation with #LoveBeatsLikes

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