Night-time nappy changes and a lack of sleep are a part of parenting which every new mum dreads. But spare a thought for the nation’s dads as new research from Mintel reveals that they are enjoying less shut-eye than mums and lead the way with night-time nappy changes.

Indeed whilst an average of 67% of parents with babies and young children* change nappies at night, dads are bearing the brunt of the nightly nappy routine. More than seven in 10 (71%) dads say that they change nappies at night, compared to less than two thirds (64%) of mums.

In correlation with nappy changing responsibilities, today’s dads are getting less sleep than mums. Some 57% of mothers get seven hours or more of sleep a night compared to (54%) of dads. Meanwhile, 43% of dads get just four to six hours of sleep compared to 38% of mums.

While parents of young children are most likely (41%) to get around four to six hours sleep, babies and children are enjoying significantly more sleep than their parents, with nine in 10 (87%) children getting seven hours or more of sleep per night and half (47%) enjoying 10 hours of sleep or more.

However, whilst dads lead the way with night-time changes, daytime nappy changes are mostly the responsibility of Britain’s mums: the majority of mums (59%) change their youngest child’s nappy four to six times in a day, compared to just 41% of dads who do the same.

71% of dads say that they change nappies at night, compared to 64% of mums.

Charlotte Libby, Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, said:

“While daytime nappy changes are largely the responsibility of the mother, likely due to mums spending the daytime caring for their child whilst on maternity leave, Britain’s dads are taking the lead with night-time nappy changes. We’re seeing this trend more and more where men are increasingly occupying spaces previously thought of as ‘feminine’ – spending more time on housework and taking a more proactive role in parenting.”

Indeed, it’s not just in nocturnal duties that men are leading, today’s dads are also taking a more proactive role in buying for baby. Men are more likely than women to buy more traditional products such as baby lotion (34% of men vs 32% of women), baby powder (31% of men vs 26% of women) and baby oil (32% vs 21%).

However, many dads appear to feel frazzled when purchasing baby products and distress buying is a common occurrence. Over half (56%) of dads who have run out of a product have had to immediately go to a shop to replace it. What’s more, over half (56%) of dads find the range of babies’ and children’s products overwhelming and, as such, 36% of dads seek the advice of experts, rising to 44% of fathers aged 16-34 (compared to 34% of mothers the same age).

“While women are supported by friends and professionals at baby groups, men do not have the same kind of social discussions surrounding baby products, and, as a result, feel they need more advice. Offering parents, particularly dads, the opportunity to consult experts on demand will help them feel more comfortable selecting the right products for their children.” Charlotte adds.

Today, 78% of children aged 0-2 wear disposable nappies while one quarter (26%) of children aged 3-4 are disposable nappy users.

Mintel research reveals that sales of babies’ and children’s nappies, personal care and wipes continue to decline as the baby boom comes to an end. Last year, Britain’s mums and dads are estimated to have spent spent £785 million on these products. While total market sales for nappies, personal care and wipes declined 5% between 2014 and 2015, sales of babies’ and children’s personal care products (£100 million) fared better, falling by less than 1% over the same period. Within the market, disposable nappies currently account for the largest share of sales (61%). However, sales of this baby essential fell 6% between 2014 and 2015 declining to £475 million. The only segment that saw any growth is baby bath which increased 3.5% over the same 2 years to reach £18.5 million in 2015.

“The babies’ and children’s nappies and wipes market continues to see sales decline as parents switch to discounters for cheaper options. However, our research indicates that the personal care market is not seeing the same sales declines, as consumers are more conscious of quality ingredients and willing to pay more in this category. Markets such as bath products and suncare are particular areas of new product development focus, while products for sensitive skin hold appeal with parents. However, with the baby boom ending and fewer babies requiring products, the market faces challenges. As children under two are the most frequent users of disposable nappies, declines are expected to continue in 2016.” Charlotte concludes.

*parents who have children aged between 0-4 years and with a younger child in nappies at night.

Press review copies of the research and interviews with Senior Beauty Analyst Charlotte Libby are available on request from the press office.

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