This is kind of a poll question, but I was wondering.

I always thought I would keep going to work when my baby was born and take some time off after a year or so, but when we actually were pregnant, I decided I would take some time off right away. I am now on paternity/parental leave for about the first two months, starting on the day of delivery.

Even though my daughter is just 10 days old I have come to appreciate this, as I have no problem coping with the sleeplessness, as I don't have to stand up and go to work. I know some other dads from work who did the same but also some who only stayed at home for two weeks.

I will probably take a month or so off (if possible) in about a year, just to compare, but in the meantime: What have you done and why and what are some pros and cons of taking a long time off at the start vs. later.

asked 11 Oct '10, 18:59

Alexander's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

edited 11 Oct '10, 19:33

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

+1 Great idea to make a poll for and about "fathers"

(12 Oct '10, 05:47) Emi

So, if this is a poll, shouldn't that be a wiki then?

(12 Oct '10, 06:38) brandstaetter

I smiled at "when we actually were pregnant", a nice Freudian indication of your very real involvement (which I thoroughly approve, to avoid all ambiguity).

(13 Oct '10, 05:38) Benjol

For all 4 of my kids, once I knew my wife was pregnant I would save up all the vacation time I could for the birth. My work was always accommodating for me to start my vacation at the last second, when she went into labor. This usually gave me about 2 weeks of time from birth.

There are two reasons for me, first, is I think it's important to plan for the worst case scenario, which would be my wife needing complete support due to bed rest requirements and such. And the second is, you can't beat that initial bonding time.

To elaborate, in my opinion, fathers go through the pregnancy different than mothers. Mother's create a bond while the baby is in the womb, some men do too, but it's different. The majority of us create our bond after the baby is born. I think it's important to finalize that bond as soon as possible.

I'd like to take off longer, but I need to feed these four kids too! :)


answered 12 Oct '10, 14:13

Jeff%202's gravatar image

Jeff 2
accept rate: 35%


Great answer, thanks! Especially the bonding. So I guess the US doesn't have a paternity leave, correct? I have come to appreciate Canada's laws on this. We dads get paternity leave paid for by the government (depending on the plan you choose, i.e. amount of money you want per time period, 5 or 3 weeks) just for dads. You can then add your own vacation time if you want. Or you can use up some of the parental leave time (shared amount of time between mother and father)

(12 Oct '10, 14:37) Alexander

@Alexander the paternity leave may just be in Quebec, we don't get that in Ontario. Just maternity leave (fist 15 weeks after birth) and parental leave (subsequent 37 weeks that can be divided between the parents). Some work plans do offer a paid leave for dads but from my experience this is usually hospital or government organizations with excellent benefits.

(12 Oct '10, 21:23) Tammy ♦♦

I stayed at home with my wife after she came home from the hospital for approx. one week. Currently, I'm working, but will stay at home for 4 months when our son is 20 months old (one of the maternity/paternity leave schemes in Austria).

The first time is the most important one in my opinion, so that the mother can regain her strength.


answered 11 Oct '10, 19:29

brandstaetter's gravatar image

accept rate: 24%

When our son was born, I stayed home for 3 weeks. In Belgium, you get 2 weeks holiday, paied by the government. So I took 1 week extra.

And, every parent (mother and father) get 3 months holiday for every child, that they can spend until the child is 12 years old. This can be taken fulltime (with a minimum of 1 month), or in a halftime-way, or even in 4/5-way. This 3 months is also paied by the government.



  • Supporting my wife, cooking, cleaning, helping with the baby. Since this was our first one, we both had to get used to our new life, and this three weeks at home really helped with that.


  • nothing I can think of so far.

answered 12 Oct '10, 07:45

Fisherman's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 12 Oct '10, 13:01

Wow, is that 3 months every year?

(14 Nov '10, 15:03) Mungo

For our first child, I took off about two weeks-worth of days, but in a kind of -___----_-_-_ pattern (the first days they were still in hospital, then I had a solid week at home, then I alternated gradually while my wife got used to the new configuration).

For the second child, I did solid time off from the start, as there was an older sister to look after...

In both cases, I had the privilege of giving the first bath, and that was a very important bonding experience.

//I'm currently using up all my remaining holidays and overtime for this year to take Fridays off so my wife can follow a course; spending one extra day with both girls is a delight and a privilege.

A sort-of answer to the pros/cons part of your question is in my first two examples above: there's no point "staying home" at the very start if there's no-one to look after.


answered 13 Oct '10, 05:44

Benjol's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

For both our daughters I took 2 weeks holiday starting from the day of labour. I could have opted for paid paternity leave, but it works out a lot less than paid holiday for many in the UK. I found that 2 weeks was enough to be of help to my wife, to bond with my girls and to be there for when visitors arrived to see them.

I've also saved up holiday to take their birthdays off, and plan to for the foreseeable future.


answered 26 Oct '10, 21:00

Lazlow's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I took 2 weeks off after the birth and 0.5 - 1.5 days a week since, but I'm lucky in that I am self-employed and can easily work offset shifts if I am busy.

I love the extra time in the week, even if I'm stressed I find spending time with my son brings me back to earth and puts everything in perspective.

2 weeks is the standard paternity allowance in the U.K. and a good level, any longer and I think I might have begun to get in the way!


answered 14 Nov '10, 15:02

Mungo's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

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Asked: 11 Oct '10, 18:59

Seen: 3,769 times

Last updated: 14 Nov '10, 15:02