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Was 2 weeks paternity leave enough? How long would you have liked DH/DP to be off with you and DC1?

(30 Posts)
sockgate Tue 28-Feb-17 17:21:37

DC1 is due in a few months. All family members are at least a four hour drive away, there's no one who could come to stay and help if necessary.

DH will get two weeks of paternity leave, and can potentially add another one or two weeks to that. Due to previous health problems, I'm consultant led and slightly more likely to have a difficult birth.

I know it is impossible to say, because a lot depends on whether I end up with interventions/c-section, but was two weeks of paternity leave enough? Would an extra week or two weeks have been helpful with DC1? DH has some annual leave spare, but we're not sure if we'd be better saving that until I need a break a few months in. His work can't be that flexible ie if he wants to take off more than the odd day, he needs to give at least a few weeks notice.

Any experiences or suggestions would be very useful, thank you!

sockgate Tue 28-Feb-17 17:23:24

Also just to add that I know we're in the lucky position of having this choice and that lots of parents manage without any paternity or other leave.

Rubberubberduckduck Tue 28-Feb-17 17:52:38

My DP had 6 weeks off when DD was born - we were lucky though, some of that time fell over xmas when his work shuts down anyway, some of it was paternity and then they allowed him to work from home which basically meant he checked his emails on his phone and if anything needed sorting he would log on to his pc.

Having him around after a particularly difficult emcs was a godsend for me.. I could hardly walk for 3 weeks and he did everything apart from breast feed!

From his POV he loved every second of being around DD, and was very grateful to be around to see her first few weeks of life.

In your position I would ask him to take as much time as possible.. for his sake as well as yours. It's a magical time which flies by.

Good luck with everything

TiltedNewt Tue 28-Feb-17 17:52:53

I spent a while in hospital last time so not much of the two weeks was spent at home as a new family, so no, it wasn't enough. But of course you cannot plan for that so it's not much help! This time DP is planning holiday and all sorts to be able to take 6 weeks off, I think this may be to long!

MrsCharlieD Tue 28-Feb-17 18:22:55

Dh had 4 weeks off and I loved that time together. He took 2 weeks paternity leave and 2 weeks mat leave. By the time he went back to work in was getting the hang of things and it wasn't at all bad when he went back and I was flying solo.

Marley45 Tue 28-Feb-17 18:26:54

My h had two weeks off and I would have loved it if he could have had longer. Those weeks just flew by. This week is my first flying solo and it's ok but I preferred having him around!

BellaGoth Tue 28-Feb-17 18:28:41

My dh is self employed. When I had my eldest he took 6 days off. With my youngest he had the day I had her, worked the next 2 days (I was in hospital, my eldest stayed at my mums), then had 2 more days and that was it, straight back to working 6 days a week.

He has very little bond with either dc and I think a lot of it stems from missing those early days.

DeleteOrDecay Tue 28-Feb-17 18:33:26

My DP had 2 weeks off both times. It's no time at all really, especially if mum and baby are in hospital for the first few days. I think men should get 4 weeks paternity leave at least.

welshweasel Tue 28-Feb-17 18:34:42

DH had 2 weeks off. I had a c section and was in hospital for 3 days as DS was 5 weeks early. I loved every minute of those two weeks and we did loads of fun things together but actually i needed him to go back to work so that I could get into the swing of things mat leave wise, go to baby groups, make friends etc.

AnyFarrahFowler Tue 28-Feb-17 18:36:15

My DH tagged a week's holiday on to the end of his Paternity Leave, and I found 3 weeks was lovely. Our first night home I remember really worrying about how I was going to cope doing night changes and feeds without his help, but by the end of week 3 I was getting more confident and it was fine. I was lucky that my Mum was able to come over once a week to help as well though.

Laura05 Tue 28-Feb-17 18:38:12

My DH only had the two weeks off for DD and DS. He worked mostly nights then so was there during the day which was a big help. I also am fortunate enough to have both sets of parents close by (mother in law doesn't work) so I had help available if needed.

This time round DH is hoping to add two weeks annual leave after his paternity leave. Part of me is crapping myself at having 3dc all day on my own but the other part of me thinks I'll get annoyed with DH being home so will gladly be kicking him out the door to work grin

KickAssAngel Tue 28-Feb-17 18:42:52

It's impossible to tell - it varies so much. DH took about 1 full day off, and several part days. He was actually in work while I was at the hospital in labour. I had a difficult birth (it took DAYS) and an em c-section, but as soon as I was back home everything was fine, we got our routine up and running and I really didn't need help.

In fact, I was discharged from the midwife after just 2 visits, as the house was tidy, baby smiling, me looking fine etc.

Pregnancy was the complete opposite for me, though. So I went from hideous barely coping to suddenly everything in life being fine! I know it sounds smug, but I had such an awful pregnancy, but having DD was like a miracle cure and I sailed through the first few months without a single problem.

adjsavedmylife Tue 28-Feb-17 18:43:00

Can he book extra and cancel it if you feel ok / things are relatively straightforward? Relative being the key term here for first baby! Our 2 weeks flew by. We had 3 days in hospital as DS was a bit early (35w) then readmitted on day 5 for jaundice, out 3 nights later but back and forth for days, only had 4 days after that til he went back.

Chrisinthemorning Tue 28-Feb-17 18:44:30

DH took 2 weeks paternity leave and 2 weeks annual leave straight afterwards so had a month off altogether. I had a CS and was driving by the time he went back. We had a lovely time together.

toffeeboffin Tue 28-Feb-17 18:47:33

It honestly would have been better if he could have just had two days off every week for five weeks TBH.

Rockandrollwithit Tue 28-Feb-17 18:54:48

My DH had two weeks off and couldn't have any more as he's a teacher and it was term time. I had a difficult birth and was in no way ready to cope on my own. Luckily we have family close by.

thenewaveragebear1983 Tue 28-Feb-17 18:54:56

I'd have preferred him to have reduced hours for a longer period or s few days after the birth and then maybe a week later on. I found the long days, school runs, early starts and looking after a newborn absolutely exhausting. If dh had been able to start work later for example, I could have had more time in the mornings after bad nights while he took ds to school etc.

I found two solid weeks of him here was a bit annoying after a while, and he got stressed about work too. A day off a week would have been better, or a week off while the kids were off school etc. Sadly none of these were possible from his employer.

AmyB1986 Tue 28-Feb-17 20:59:39

Hi, with dd1 my husband had 4 weeks off work. 2 holiday and 2 paternity. I'd had a c section but to be honest I didn't really need him at home for that long. He irritated the life out of me!
After having dd2 though and another c section + a 15 month toddler running around, 2 weeks wasn't enough!

Bear2014 Tue 28-Feb-17 21:25:27

My OH only took the 2 weeks, and I had a c-section. It was ok, if a bit daunting. We made sure we were organised so I didn't run out of any essentials during the day and I used a sling for short walks rather than lugging the buggy. Make sure you go to NCT or similar, have a support network in place and you can all help each other out.

sockgate Tue 28-Feb-17 22:23:21

Thanks so much everyone, lots of good suggestions. I think adjsavedmylife has it - I'll get him to book an extra week and a bit, and he can always cancel if we have a relatively easy birth and baby it will never happen and we want some space from each other.

DirtyDancing Tue 28-Feb-17 22:59:43

I would say space it out! Save some for later in the year

Lapinlapin Tue 28-Feb-17 23:03:55

For me two weeks was fine. I quite liked being able to get into a routine once dh was back at work!

I'm thinking it would be good to save some time in case you need a break later on. Mine screamed his way through his 4th month and I could have done with the help then instead.

adjsavedmylife Wed 01-Mar-17 04:34:22

Good luck!

Littlelegs19 Wed 01-Mar-17 05:28:10

My DH had 2 weeks off but 4 of those days I was still in the hospital, so only had 10 at home together. I wish he could have been able to have had more time off to spend with us.

TwoDogs9 Wed 01-Mar-17 05:47:23

DH is self employed but took two weeks anyway. It was nowhere near enough! Four weeks would have been much better as it took me that long to start feeling a bit more normal again if you can call it that

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