My husband is taking partially vacation and partially a leave of absence because they have no maternity leave at work. His year is planned well in advance so the minute we hit the 12 week mark next week he'll be in a meeting with his boss to take his time off. I was thinking of having him take six weeks. I figured that would at least give him some bonding time and a chance to get used to not getting consecutive hours of sleep before he has to be back in charge of his team in an awake fashion. I'm worried his boss and peers will try to whittle his time away till he's left with a few weeks. Since it's our first I can't say with certainty what anything might be like. What kinds of paternity leaves are your partners taking and are you feeling like it's going to be enough?
I'd say to ask him to start with 8 or 12 weeks and let him get whittled down to 6.
Dh owns a landscaping company and so far we have planned for our babies to be born in the winter (although, DD was born on the very last day of winter, and he had to work two weeks later).
Since he doesnt have a boss, he can work more sporadically than most men, but this time we will be preparing for him to be off for the better part of two months. He may have to go in a few days, be he wont be working regularly until the end of march. My babies will be born no later than Jan 24th (38is weeks), so we know we'll have until around the end of March. When DS was born last January DH went back to work a little earlier, but since there are two this time, I really want him to have two months off. The thing is, when April comes, he will be working 12-16 hours a day, with an hour commute tacked on both ways, so it will be a huge wake up call for me.
Good call. I'll see if he can push a longer period first and then settle on 6. I too am nervous about the long hours that will come up after he gets back and all the work trips. I was also thinking that he could split the time a bit so when my parents arrive he's not also here at home vying for baby time. It might be like 4 off, two on, two off.... but maybe that's harder to coordinate.
Anyway, I found both times that two weeks was plenty of time off. He really didn't deal with being up at night (I don't see the point in both of us being up when I am the one feeding baby anyway), so it wasn't like he needed time to recover from exhaustion or anything like that.
One thing you should consider is when to schedule your DH's leave. First time mom's typically go 41 weeks on average, NOT 40, unless there are complications. It will be useful for him to be home before the birth to help get the house in order and freeze meals and whatnot, but that only takes so much time... On the other hand, you could deliver early - you never know! You could consider hiring a doula of sorts to help out in that situation.
We're self-employed, so we had the freedom to set our own hours as needed when DD came, but being self-employed also means not having anyone to cover for you! (at least in our situation). So DH took about 2 weeks off (except he still had to go out and feed the animals every day and attend to a few small things on the farm that couldn't be put off), and then went back to work mostly full-time at 2 weeks. He still had the flexibility to jump in and help as needed, but DD and I were doing pretty well on our own by then. I also have my mom next door. She works full time but was able to take DD in the evenings and weekends a lot (I was always "on call" though, since DD never took a bottle). I forget when I started back to work on the farm (DH and I split childcare). It wasn't super practical in some ways for DH to watch her while she was still nursing every 2 hours, but I needed to get out of the house for my own sanity. I love being a part time SAHM, but DH is actually better cut out for it than I am! It is a lot more work than working outside the home is, in my opinion, and my hat is off to all of you full-time SAHMs .
Thanks everyone. Brambleberry, the 41 week thing is good to think about. All babies in my family have been a little late so I am wondering if that's a trait we'll have too. ;) I might see if my DH will be able to book something that's a bit flexible. Like starting whenever the birth is. I also have to schedule my parents and in-laws visits so they don't overlap or drive us too crazy.
My DH took off about a week with #1 .. that was fine, i was fine alone when he went back to work (she was born on a monday, he went back to work the following monday) .. with baby #2, he took way less.. born on thursday, back half days on tuesday and full time by the end of the week.. no problem, again. with #3, she was born on friday, back half time following thursday - I needed the extra help with #3, but my mom was around as needed, my first day 'alone' was when baby was 11 or 12 days old... my DH and i both would have gone insane had he been home more than a week with any of them.. i expect he might get off work a bit longer with #4 because taking care of 3 other kids while recovering from birth just doesn't sound all that fun... this would involve him taking the other 3 kids and getting them out of the house, not staying home, helping/bonding with the baby.. maybe we are weird .. ;)
I expect DH to take a week off, but it might be more like he'll work from home for a week. I HOPE HOPE I don't need to have another C-section as that will make being alone more difficult. My parents will be in Florida from Jan-Mar, so that means no help from my parents, but I'm sure we will be able to work something out, and I think it wouldn't take too much convincing to get my mom to fly back for a week or two. DH's mom isn't terribly maternal/grandmotherly, but she would probably come for a day or two as well.
I agree with those who have said that too much time can be a bad thing. Too short can be hard too.
It also depends on how your birth goes (c-sec will need a lot more time and more help during healing).
I ended up with DH off of work for a couple days ahead of the actual birth of my second and it was kind of awful. My labor with #2 was on/off for a few days before it finally kicked in. So one of those days was stronger and DH just decided to stay home. Thought it was a good idea at the time but it was really frustrating to have him around doing work around the house (like washing the car or whatever) while I was just waiting waiting waiting for labor to really get going.
So part of that was my mindset, which finally took a turn for the better and more relaxed. But part of it was me just needing him to be there with me and he wasn't, not really. What did I expect him to do? I don't know, but whatever he was doing was just annoying me the whole time.
So, if possible, have him take a flexible leave that starts when you go into labor.
My DH will probably take off a week this time, depending on how well I'm feeling. We own our own business and actually have someone to cover for him this time (never before) which is nice. So he'll be able to just come home whenever I call him and go back when I'm ready for that. His biz partner is telling him to take 2 weeks but I have a feeling that will be too much for me. :) I healed up a lot quicker with my second (because I made myself stay in bed and ask people to bring me food/water and change diapers for me) so I'm hoping that'll be the case with this one too. I could use a week with him home, then have him make a big trip to the grocery store and go back to work.
This is all fascinating to me. I love my husband dearly and I think after a week or so.. he would be better back at work or working from home.
My mother in law and mom will be around but honestly in the past I have preferred a nanny. Someone who isn't overly emotional and just gets stuff done and who I trust.
Typebug, I agree that it makes sense for your DH to shoot for as much time as possible and then get it whittled down from there. Especially because from what I gather you have no family in the area? With my first I would've LOVED to have had DH around for as long as possible! With my second, I was more "meh" on the matter and didn't feel like I needed him to be around all the time. My DH wasn't able to take too much time off with our boys-- I think it was less than a week with each. But with DS1 we lived in an apartment above his work (boss was our landlord) so he was able to come home for lunch and had no commute. My mom and sister were also around the first couple of weeks to help out.
Typebug, I agree that it makes sense for your DH to shoot for as much time as possible and then get it whittled down from there. Especially because from what I gather you have no family in the area? With my first I would've LOVED to have had DH around for as long as possible! With my second, I was more "meh" on the matter and didn't feel like I needed him to be around all the time.
Oh this is totally true, I had forgotten what it was like with the first one. Healing time aside, it's just such a major life change that nothing can really prepare you for.
We've set our schedule now. He's taking his 6 weeks in two chunks. 2 weeks before the two sets of grandparents arrive back to back to help out and then another 4 weeks so he can overlap and visit his folks and help out for a while after everyone leaves. Looks like this covers me for 8 weeks. After that I'm on my own till I get an au pair and start doing a few hours a day so I can work a little.
With DD1 my DH was only able to take two days off and it was hard. My Mum was around but only for a couple hours a day at most and I was recovering from a c-section. He had just started working as a contractor at the time after we had both been unemployed for a while and so we were afraid for him to take time off. With DD2 he took two weeks vacation and it was great. I think it really helped DD1 adjust to being a big sister. I still cried when he went back to work though. We are planning for another two weeks after this one is born and what that really means is that he will spend a lot of time with the girls while I rest and nurse and recover. (And I will still cry when he goes back to work).