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Pressure: Parent's Biggest Challenge, finds Parenting Index study

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The Parenting Index, 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.


Media: Layal Dalal , Tel.:00971559803757, Email: [email protected]

1.About The Parenting Index 

The Parenting Index was commissioned by Nestlé as part of its ongoing commitment to support families in the first 1,000 days of life, with a methodology developed and executed by Kantar. The Parenting Index provides a new framework for understanding the experience of parenting around the world today.   

The first edition of the Index is based on data from a survey conducted by Kantar in January and February 2020 among mothers and fathers of babies 0-12 months old in 16 countries: Brazil, Chile, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America. Wave 1 involved 8,045 interviews. Wave 2 included 900 interviews (300 in China, Spain and the US) to gauge early indications of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Index and was carried out in July 2020.

2 The 11 factors which make up The Parenting Index are: 

1. Absence of pressure (contributes 22.6% to the Index ranking): the internal and external pressures parents face when raising their children. Lower pressure makes parenting easier

2. Financial resilience (16.7%): the level of stability on family finances. Higher resilience means less impact

3. Supports for working life (15.6%): Policy and local employment protections plus access to childcare which impacts parents’ ability to stay home or go to work as they wish

4. Easy baby (10.1%): As old as parenting itself: the perception that an easy baby makes parenting easier 

5. Health and wellbeing resources (9.0%): access to adequate healthcare and trusted parenting information

6. Supportive environment (8.0%): an environment that allows parents to do things they want without barriers. Parent positive and baby friendly

7. Shared parenting (5.8%): Involvement from partners and shared responsibilities

8. Parenting confidence (2.7%): how parents feel about themselves; their sense of confidence, satisfaction and resilience

9. Paid Maternity Leave (3.5%): employment-protected leave of absence for employed women directly around the time of childbirth

10. GDP PPP per capita (3.1%): a measurement of prices in different countries that uses the prices of specific goods to compare the purchasing power of the countries’ currency

11. Reverse Gini (2.8%): a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income or wealth distribution of a nation’s residents

About Nestlé Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Nestlé’s heritage in the Middle East and North Africa goes back over 100 years with the sale of the first Infant Cereals in Egypt. Today, Nestlé operates 25 Food & Beverage factories across the 19 countries of the MENA Region, and provides direct employment to more than 15,000 people who are all committed to Nestlé’s purpose of Enhancing Quality of Life and Contributing to a Healthier Future. Nestlé MENA also provides indirect employment across the region to several thousand more.

The Nestlé portfolio in the region currently exceeds 60 innovative product brands in a wide range of categories: Dairy, Infant Nutrition, Coffee and Creamers, Confectionery, Bottled Water, Breakfast Cereals, Culinary products, Health Science, and Pet Care, among others. Nestlé NIDO, Nestlé CERELAC, Nestlé NAN, S-26, PROGRESS, NESCAFÉ, NESPRESSO, Bonjorno Café, Coffee-mate, KitKat, MAGGI, Nestlé FITNESS, Nestlé Grain d’Or, Nestlé Pure Life, OPTIFAST, and PURINA Friskies are just some of the brands available in the Middle East and North Africa.

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About Kantar

Kantar is the world’s leading evidence‐based insights and consulting company. It has a complete, unique and rounded understanding of how people think, feel and act; globally and locally in over 90 markets. By combining deep expertise, data resources and benchmarks with innovative analytics and technology, Kantar helps their clients understand people and inspire growth.