Why You Need to Consider Paternity Leave. 3 Things.
You’ll thank me for this later.
First off — I’d like to note that many mothers do great without a partner taking paternity leave, and babies turn out perfectly fine. But if you have paternity leave offered at your company, please consider it. With it, you can definitely raise the bar on the new child experience and the relationship with your partner.
1. It can take 3–12 weeks for mother to recover from childbirth.
Even in the best case scenario — a relatively short labour natural birth with no drugs — should be treated as a surgical event. Soreness, difficulty getting around, walking or carrying the baby are common. This can take up to three weeks. Now throw in other variables, like a longer labour, epidural, a c-section, or postpartum depression, you are optimistically looking at north of 6 weeks for recovery. So you can see that carrying, burping, diaper changing the baby can give mother much needed recovery time especially in the beginning when the baby is feeding frequently. Every little bit of help goes a long way. Having family or hired help like a postpartum doula around can also be incredibly helpful.
2. There is a never-ending list of stuff to do
You’ve been preparing for pregnancy, and labour. But only when the baby is born and does that first adrenaline-inducing cry, do you realize that the real work starts! There is a never ending list of tasks to do. Clean the house, do the laundry, wash the dishes, make food, clean up, make more food, clean up, it keeps repeating. But you’ve done all this stuff before as an independent adult, why would this be any different? It is driven by two things: a breastfeeding mother’s voracious appetite, and serious lack of sleep. The kind of sleep deprivation that you endure as a first-time parent is insidious, and can hurt relationships. So those nights when baby is cluster feeding, and mother is completely exhausted and there is no food in the fridge, having you around can be incredibly helpful. It is just unrealistic to work in the office or from home at this time, it would be a disservice to your family and your work.
3. Bonding with your child
When you see your child for the very first time, it will bring on a set of emotions and brain rewiring that no grouping of words can articulate effectively. It will be as though you sent a ship out to space and it returned 10 months later completely in your image. But the baby doesn’t really need you. The baby needs mom, for food, for her heartbeat, for her comfort. While you may have been womb bonding during the pregnancy, talking and singing to your child, birth bonding with your newborn in the first few weeks can have profoundly good effects on reducing your stress and boosting baby’s cognitive development. But research aside, it is really about you — to feel like you have a place in raising your child, and those first few weeks can set in place your role as a parent.
Now you have no idea how your experience will be until it has happened. And for those who’ve already had a baby before — every baby is different. For even those with a busy schedule, choosing 3 weeks for paternity leave is a smart thing to do, and then add and subtract weeks depending on how things are progressing with mom and baby.