Now that you say more about your situation, I get more why you are feeling a bit at loose ends. This isn't just about finding your space as a non-bio-mom and connecting with this new baby, you guys have a LOT up in the air (school transitions, contemplating going back to work for you, not knowing what's up with leave, etc). That would make anyone nervous. I know it's still super early and you will have time to figure things out, but that is still a lot to be wondering about (and clearly a lot for you and Lena to be thinking through).
Originally Posted by lexbeach
It definitely will be more complicated to have her be the pregnant-and-breastfeeding one while I am the "primary" stay-at-home parent. How has that part worked in your family, Lyn?
I'm happy to share how we worked out care, but it really sounds like we're a lot different from you and Lena, who came at parenting from much different starting places. We headed into parenthood equally enthusiastic about all things baby, and both with a desire for pregnancy, though I put that desire on the backburner since Gail is significantly older. If anything, I was *more* enthusiastic about some things than she was (cloth diapers, babywearing, EC...maybe even nursing even though I wasn't doing it).
We were dependent on Gail's job for benefits and income as I was still in grad school, so we exploited my student flexibility for all it was worth, and after both of us took two months home, I did most of Leigh's care for months 2-6 (Gail took about a day home, we had about 1/2 day sitting, and I took 3 1/2 days home). Then the roles reversed second semester, with me taking a day home, and Gail working a part time and doing about 3 1/2 days of care. I then took three more months home after I graduated, and now we each take 1 day per week home, and Leigh is in outside care 3 days per week (that started at 15 months). For us, this is a good balance. We like both having one-on-one time with Leigh, and that either of us is easily able to take over in the other's absence. We like that our 4 day schedules help us set good boundaries at work.
What might be most relevant for you though is what it was like in months 2-6 or the summer I was home with Leigh (months 12-15). I had been worried about being alone with nursing infant, but it actually worked great. Leigh had no trouble going back and forth between bottle and breast, and Gail's supply for pumping held up OK. I was careful to make feedings very slow and cuddly. I wore Leigh a lot. Lots of skin to skin. Mostly, I just did what any mom would do, though I did develop many more soothing options than feeding. I absolutely loved it. I know some folks at MDC might think that this was substandard care, since I was not actually nursing her, but Leigh thrived in my care, and she and Gail were able to maintain a healthy nursing relationship (I think Gail's one day/week home helped with that). So, other than that, I don't know what to say. We found navigating our discrepancies in nursing (which was the extent of the biological distinction in role) to be not as difficult as expected. I feel so lucky to have had that time to bond with Leigh early on. I really think it helped get our family onto solid footing right away, but also, I know not all families have that opportunity. For this baby, our plan is to have Gail to do something similar, with Gail taking on more infant care than I do.
Not sure if that helps at all. Good luck.