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Shared parental leave - transitioning from mummy to daddy

(17 Posts)
pregnantgrump Thu 10-Dec-15 23:11:48

has anyone shared leave with their partner? I'm going back to work 4 days a week in the new year and my DH will be taking three months off to look after the little one. Then they will start daycare 4 days a week.

My little one has started to exhibit quite strong separation anxiety. Sometimes when he is tired he won't let his dad hold him, crying and reaching out for me. The longest I've been away from him is two hours.

Not going back or changing the arrangement isn't an option financially - DH will get his full salary for the three months whereas I'd just get stat pay then nothing.

My question is how to manage the transition so that by the time I go back he is more comfortable with me leaving and being in his dad's care. We will overlap by two weeks because of my accrued annual leave. I feel that I will need to go off for periods of time but I'm sad about this as it will be my last precious weeks with him.

I'm also really worried this will damage the secure attachment he currently has to me.

Thanks in advance.

JassyRadlett Fri 11-Dec-15 00:11:59

It's a tough one. I went back to work when DS1 was 7 months old, and it worked just fine. Like you I hadn't had much time away from him at all, particularly time awake.

In the two weeks crossover, make sure that your DH takes the lead on parenting, particularly at non-tired times - Daddy needs to be the 'default' parent. It's harder than it sounds as you are so used to taking the lead when you're on maternity leave.

I wouldn't worry about it damaging his attachment to you. How old is he?

pregnantgrump Fri 11-Dec-15 09:47:30

Thanks for your reply. He will be just under 8 months when I return. Do you think it's necessary to leave him physically during those two weeks to get him used to my absence?

Iguessyourestuckwithme Sat 12-Dec-15 14:20:09

He will be fine when you're not there.

I think you don't need to go out unless he really is that clingy but dh needs to be the person who gives him his milk, puts him down for naps, takes him out for little trips out the house etc. If ds is crying then you NEED to leave Dh to handle it, it does no one any good for you to swoop on and deal with it.

starry0ne Sat 12-Dec-15 14:26:12

You don't need to go out for the 2 weeks but I think it would be useful for both you DH and DC to have short periods away from you.. Whether DH takes little one out for a walk or you go get stuff done..It will help learning the mummy goes away and comes back...

pregnantgrump Sat 12-Dec-15 21:30:29

Thanks so much. All useful suggestions and good to have a plan. He is ebf at the moment. We're just starting solids. The plan is for me to carry on breasrfeeding morning and evening. I don't think work will let me express enough during the day to make all his bottles so will be switching at least two of these to formula. I guess I could pump and build up some supplies while his dad tries formula.

Iguessyourestuckwithme Sat 12-Dec-15 21:35:32

Start building a supply now if you pump at least 6oz a day then you could build up quite a stash by the time you go back

Coldand Sat 12-Dec-15 21:39:13

I had a lot of worries about this with DD. She would not be separated from me even for a half hour. But when I left them to it she coped fine with dad.

pregnantgrump Sat 12-Dec-15 21:40:19

A couple of my NCT buddies did this but said the defrosted milk smelt off and tasted awful - almost fishy. This put me off a little I must say. But perhaps it doesn't happen to everyone's.

pregnantgrump Sat 12-Dec-15 21:42:00

Thanks Coldand that is very reassuring! I am pretty anxious about it even though his dad is great. He's just started being able to reach accurately and will dive for me out of his dad's arms, while wailing.

icklekid Sat 12-Dec-15 21:46:37

When I'm around ds will always want me. If I'm not he's perfectly content with dh/my mum/mil it might reassure you to have a morning /afternoon away prior to going back to work

purpledasies Sat 12-Dec-15 21:47:53

I did similarly with DD. I'd agree it's worth letting your DH have a go at taking the lead. But if your DS won't accept him doing so I wouldn't worry too much. It may be that DS will accept his father much better when you're not around. Leaving him for short periods is probably a good idea, partly as your DH will need a chance to get used to being in charge.

Separation anxiety is often about the moment of saying goodbye. Most kids are fine once you're out of sight.

Being in sole charge was a wonderful thing for DS's relationship with his dad though. They found their own way of doing things and became closer for having time when I wasn't always in the way

Ughnotagain Sat 12-Dec-15 21:53:54

We're doing this now smile

DD is 6.5mo. I went back to work at the start of December. DH had been off a week, so we had a week off together. Because of annual leave I've accrued I'm working two or three days a week until the end of the year, easing myself back into it!

And in all honesty, it hasn't been as bad as I expected so far. I'd already built up a freezer stash of milk but we've found DD doesn't drink that much while I'm at work. I express twice a day at work (once on my lunch break, then once later on in the day) and I seem to bring home more than she drinks!

I don't start work til 10 so that helps in keeping our mornings quite low-key. But so far it tends to be:

I wake up, breastfeed DD, leave her in bed with DH while I get showered and dressed, he changes her nappy etc

Take DD downstairs while DH showers

DD and I have breakfast - usually we share toast and a banana (though she doesn't actually "eat" much, has a good suck though!)

Then DH will come down, between us we get DD dressed and bag ready etc, drink coffee, he then gives me a lift to work

I don't finish til 6, so it does mean that DD's bedtime has been pushed back a bit what with her wanting a feed when I get in etc.

The thing I've found toughest is being tired at work if we've had a bad night's sleep. But I honestly find being at work less tiring than being at home all day (which I think DH is realising too!).

Sorry, that was long. But really I'm glad we're doing it; it's good for me to have a bit of adult conversation and time to myself, and it's definitely good for DH to appreciate what a full day of childcare involves, and for his bond with DD.

Iguessyourestuckwithme Sat 12-Dec-15 21:57:40

I am a nanny and most my employers have frozen their milk and we haven't had any issues smile

pregnantgrump Sun 13-Dec-15 11:17:20

Thanks so much. It's great to hear positive stories. I think my buddy with the weird tasting frozen milk has excess lipase in her milk. I guess I need to try, and see. Any suggestions about the best time to pump?

Hufflepuffin Sun 13-Dec-15 11:20:44

If you have the lipase in your milk you can stop it going funny in the freezer by heating it first. I don't know the exact details but I'm sure a quick Google will help!

FannyTheChampionOfTheWorld Sun 13-Dec-15 12:43:51

I'd definitely take the opportunity to go out for an afternoon here and there, to get DS more used to being with DH alone. It's understandable to be anxious but remember he'll be with someone who loves him more than anything. It will be a great chance for them to build a really strong relationship together.

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