Parenting & Family

Dad taking parental leave

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  • Sep 17th, 2019 8:09 pm
[OP]
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Apr 13, 2017
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GTA

Dad taking parental leave

Has anyone taken parental leave as a dad while the mother went back to work?

My wife has taken 17 months of leave after our daughter was born. Plan was that she will go back to work when child is 17 months and I'm taking a month off.

Except for feeding, I do everything that my wife does and I'm comfortable talking care of our baby. However, I've a bit of cold feet with my parental leave . Appreciate if anyone give your experience.

When baby is fussy / hungry, its usually my wife that calms her down by breastfeeding. This is also how my daughter usually sleeps. I can calm her down with food, play etc, but no matter what I do, she wont sleep in my hands or on her own. This is my biggest fear that she may be fussy all day. I have some experience of my wife being away for 2-3 hours, but not the entire day.
26 replies
Deal Addict
Nov 28, 2013
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Quebec
headleygrange wrote: Has anyone taken parental leave as a dad while the mother went back to work?

My wife has taken 17 months of leave after our daughter was born. Plan was that she will go back to work when child is 17 months and I'm taking a month off.

Except for feeding, I do everything that my wife does and I'm comfortable talking care of our baby. However, I've a bit of cold feet with my parental leave . Appreciate if anyone give your experience.

When baby is fussy / hungry, its usually my wife that calms her down by breastfeeding. This is also how my daughter usually sleeps. I can calm her down with food, play etc, but no matter what I do, she wont sleep in my hands or on her own. This is my biggest fear that she may be fussy all day. I have some experience of my wife being away for 2-3 hours, but not the entire day.
I’m still 2 weeks left before I got back to work but my case is after feeding I swaddle my kid ( not to tight) and slowly tap his ass and let him sleep

When he sleeps I slowly put it in the crib and shake the crib a little if needed
Deal Fanatic
Sep 21, 2004
8526 posts
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I know some who have. I'm currently on pat leave but concurrently with Mrs Stock.

You'll have to figure out how to do all the tasks before your wife goes back to work or it'll be rough.

The only thing I can't do is breastfeed. Otherwise everything else is doable. I've been putting baby down for naps/bed since 3-4 months so it's pretty routine now. We have 3 kids at home right now for the summer so either of us have to basically be able to manage solo at any given time or everything would fall apart Face With Tears Of Joy
Deal Addict
May 1, 2018
1580 posts
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Vancouver
Better start putting your daughter to sleep now before your wife goes back to work. This goes for both naps and night time. That way, your daughter will be comfortable having you with her bed/crib side and won't rely on having to suck on her mother's breast as a soother to go to sleep. We got a rocker to help ease ourselves a bit from having to hold her in our arms while rocking her to sleep and now my daughter has gotten used to sleeping in the rocker. Linked you to the one we got below, just a different design.

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/6000199266485
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
16881 posts
7170 upvotes
My personal opinion is that it sounds like your child has issues with soothing herself. Similar to a child who uses a soother to nap, your child is using breastfeeding to nap.

The good news is that this is a habit that is breakable. The bad news is that it does take some time to do so - it could be as little as a couple days or it could be a couple weeks. The key to breaking it is unfortunately consistency and it will likely require your wife to also work to break the habit, or give you enough opportunity with your daughter to break the habit. At our daycare they "break" the habit of soothers with their new children (no soothers allowed) and do so by establishing regular routines (lights dim when sleeping, music playing), use physical touch (lightly rub or pat the back), and occasionally sing / hum. It takes the 12 months old about a week to drop the soothers at nap time it seems. The key is consistency and not letting defeat bring you down. You will have many "defeats" before a victory.


An alternative, which may not be ideal, is to use a soother. That is one way that is "easy" for babies to self sooth. I would say "well you haven't needed one yet" but it sounds like you just substituted it for another form that is similar in nature so I do not see it as a stretch. This is obviously the "easy" way out of all this.
Jr. Member
Apr 24, 2017
125 posts
45 upvotes
vancouver
Agreed with what most have commented above. Gotta start trying to put your little one to sleep before your wife goes back to work.
Ours didn't like it when I tried putting her down for naps or bedtime, but kept persisting. by month 3 she was sleeping on me and moving her to her bassinet or crib. It allowed my wife to go out every night and take a break.

I had a couple of co-workers that did parental leave, and they said the hardest part was staying energized the whole day. They had said, they created routines every day so that they're occupied and stimulated.
Not sure which province you're in, but in BC they have StrongStart which is a free service at participating elementary schools where parents can bring their kids and let them play and socialize. We take ours there during the afternoon which works well. She gets to play with other kids, listen to stories or music (depending on what they have scheduled), and even gets a snack.
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/educ ... ngstart-bc
Member
Aug 31, 2014
331 posts
168 upvotes
Toronto, ON
At 17 months, the baby should be on one nap? Do you have car or stroller? The back-up plan can always be drive or stroll around until they pass out if that works with your kid. Everything else you'll be fine!
Ontario has EarlyON center for play time. But at 17 months I'd imagine a trip to the playground, mall, or grocery store is fun too.
Deal Addict
Dec 31, 2007
4664 posts
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Richmond Hill
Send your wife on a solo vacation now and practice.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Apr 13, 2017
2310 posts
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GTA
Thank you all for helpful answers. Although my wife is going back to work in Feb, I'm going to practise putting her to sleep right now.

We live in Gta. We've been going to early ON programs and will make it a daily routine during my pat leave as well.
Newbie
Jul 18, 2012
79 posts
38 upvotes
BRAMPTON
I did a month of parental leave for each of my kids. My son was a terrible sleeper and didn't like taking the bottle. Your wife CAN'T be in the same room/house while you are trying to figure out how to get things done on your own. Honestly, it was a struggle for all 3 of us while trying to get things ready for when we switched roles. When my parental leave finally approached, I was "ready".
Sr. Member
Aug 12, 2012
858 posts
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Richmond Hill
I did 6 months of parental leave when my wife had a good opportunity to go back to a new job. It was the best decision ever. The bonding you'll make with your daughter will be amazing and make it all worth whatever sacrifice or worries you might have. I only wish I had the same opportunity with my first kid. Definitely worth it.

Everyone is different, but I'm sure you'll find your groove within a couple days. Go for walks, visit a park, make her laugh, just have fun with it. Good luck and enjoy it!
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Jan 25, 2004
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Frank311 wrote: I did 6 months of parental leave when my wife had a good opportunity to go back to a new job. It was the best decision ever. The bonding you'll make with your daughter will be amazing and make it all worth whatever sacrifice or worries you might have. I only wish I had the same opportunity with my first kid. Definitely worth it.

Everyone is different, but I'm sure you'll find your groove within a couple days. Go for walks, visit a park, make her laugh, just have fun with it. Good luck and enjoy it!
I can't believe how few fathers take paternity leave, and how much they are still stigmatized by society for doing it. I really wish they'd mandate a split of some kind in the laws surrounding it.
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Aug 22, 2011
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Konowl wrote: I can't believe how few fathers take paternity leave, and how much they are still stigmatized by society for doing it. I really wish they'd mandate a split of some kind in the laws surrounding it.
Wife had separation anxiety and wanted the full 12months with the kid...
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vkizzle wrote: Wife had separation anxiety and wanted the full 12months with the kid...
My comment was not directed towards you specifically but was a generalization based on personal experience.
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Aug 22, 2011
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Konowl wrote: My comment was not directed towards you specifically but was a generalization based on personal experience.
Well, that's my experience as well as several other dads that I know.
Mom wants the full 12mths and dads are more than happy to oblige.
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vkizzle wrote: Well, that's my experience as well as several other dads that I know.
Mom wants the full 12mths and dads are more than happy to oblige.
Ok?
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vkizzle wrote: Alrighty then...
Sorry just didn't see the point to your post, and you are kind of making my point for me LOL.
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Aug 12, 2012
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Konowl wrote: I can't believe how few fathers take paternity leave, and how much they are still stigmatized by society for doing it. I really wish they'd mandate a split of some kind in the laws surrounding it.
When I announced I was going on leave, my manager was fully supportive, but my director stopped talking to me. The stigma is real, but it's a stupid one. Nobody should be shunned for wanting to be a bigger part in their kids' lives.
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Frank311 wrote: When I announced I was going on leave, my manager was fully supportive, but my director stopped talking to me. The stigma is real, but it's a stupid one. Nobody should be shunned for wanting to be a bigger part in their kids' lives.
You can see it in this very thread.

I got a fair bit of negative remarks - Some from complete strangers

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