New parents ‘turning to drink to ease the strain’: One in six increased alcohol intake birth of first childNineteen per cent of those surveyed said their drinking 'impacted positively' on their childrenFive per cent of mothers said they drank more than usual WHILE pregnant
01:10 GMT, 8 October 2012
Drinking: A report has found new parents are turning to drink to ease the strain
Many new parents are hitting the bottle to help them cope, a children’s charity has warned.
A survey of hundreds of parents of under-16s found that one in six increased their alcohol intake after the birth of their first child.
A similar proportion believed their drinking to be good for family life.
The poll of 575 men and women found that while many curtailed their drinking on the arrival of their first baby, 23 per cent drank as much as usual.
And 17 per cent increased their intake.
Others did not wait for their baby to arrive before reaching for the bottle, with 5 per cent of the mothers questioned saying they drank more than usual while pregnant.
And 19 per cent of the parents surveyed said their drinking ‘impacted positively’ on their children.
The research was carried out for the charity 4Children, which runs Sure Start centres and youth services across the country.
It said parents may turn to drink to help them cope with the changes to their lifestyle or lack of sleep.
A linked poll of members of parenting advice website Netmums found almost a third of mothers and fathers exceed the recommended weekly limits for alcohol.
Happy families Some of those asked said that drinking was 'good for family life'
The charity said many parents are oblivious to the damage alcohol can cause and called on the industry to divert 1 per cent of its revenue into alcohol awareness campaigns and treatment services.
It also wants new parents to be given advice on drinking in the same way that there are recommendations for pregnant women.
Anne Longfield, 4Children’s chief executive, said: ‘We need to see a greater focus on families within wider strategies around addiction.
‘Addiction and the subsequent breakdown in many families is the end of a story that often starts with so called “normal” use.
‘With proper warnings to parents and better awareness of the impact that alcohol can have, we can avoid the crises that addiction can cause.’
Drinking more: Parents admitted increasing alcohol intake after the first child