Study: First-Time Moms Spend More Time On Facebook After Giving Birth

By Julie D. Andrews 

We’re not sure how they find the time, or the open arms, but 44 percent of new, first-time mothers spend more time on Facebook after childbirth compared with before, according to a new study published in the July issue of journal Family Relations.

This may sound symphonic to sites such as STFU, Parents, which collect parents’ Facebook posts and make them laughable, or to advertisers trying to reach new parents.

In the study — reportedly the first to track and analyze changes in Facebook use among new parents — researchers analyzed responses from 300 new mothers and fathers to questions regarding how they interacted with the social network nine months after the birth of their first child.

Among new mothers surveyed:

  • 44 percent reported increased Facebooking.
  • 27 percent reported decreased Facebooking.
  • 29 percent reported no change in Facebooking.

Among new fathers surveyed:

  • 31 percent reported increased Facebooking.
  • 19 percent reported decreased Facebooking.
  • 51 percent reported no change in Facebooking.

Some 58 percent of the mothers surveyed visited their accounts at least once daily, compared with 44 percent of fathers.

Ohio State University Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, co-author of the study, said in a release:

Given all of the stress that new parents are under and everything they have to manage, it wouldn’t have been surprising if we had found a decrease in Facebook usage. But that’s not what we found.

Lead Study Author Mitchell Bartholomew added:

These mothers may be taking time off from work, and may be far from family, so this network they created for themselves on Facebook can be very valuable in helping them cope.

Among activities new parents engaged in on Facebook:

  • 98 percent of mothers reported uploading photos of their child to Facebook.
  • 83 percent of fathers reported the same.

As to how this posting changed after childbirth:

  • 63 percent of mothers reported uploading more photos post-childbirth.
  • 73 percent of fathers reported the same.

Schoppe-Sullivan added:

Parents may feel like they’re getting positive feedback about their role as parents. These are all first-time parents, and they particularly need that.

And Bartholomew suggested that stressed-out new moms may find in Facebook a place to vent, find support, and compare notes with other new parents.

Still, not all couples are hip to posting about their kin. Indeed, some parents end up deciding not to post any photos or information about their kids, as one writer recently revealed in The Wall Street Journal.

Readers: Have you seen an increase in your friend’s posts on Facebook after they become parents?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.