Men are overwhelmed by a feeling of joy and responsibility when they hear the news of birth of their babies. Parenthood is a bliss as well as a responsibility and for the new dad it is more so. It is the father who is supposed to look after both the mother and the baby in the immediate aftermath of birth of the child.
The mother has done her part of job. Now it is time to share the responsibility of rearing and nurturing the infant and to help him grow up to be a healthy adult. But the new dad has his responsibility cut out in his office too. How can he take care of the infant and its mother if he is busy in office! He can – only if takes a paternity leave.
Reasons Why Every Dad Should Take Paternity Leave
Though paternity leave is never as long as a maternity leave, yet it does contribute to the nurturing of the child in some small, but significant ways. Let’s learn why you should take paternity leave as a new dad.
1} Both of you are new to parenthood
You have just experienced the pleasure of parenthood. Both of you are new to parenthood and have no experience of nurturing a child. Raising an infant is no mean task. It is a difficult task, especially for the newbie parents. You only have tits and bits of instructions from the nursing sisters and grandparents of the baby.
It is easy to feed the infant, change its nappies, give medications to it and do all the chores under the watchful eyes and guidance of the nursery sisters. But it is a difficult task when the mother is alone with the child at home. She needs all kind of support to nurture the child, at least in the first few weeks of its arrival at your house. The first few days are really edgy. Sometimes the mother is at her wits end to calm down a crying child or feed it. She needs support, and you are the best person to stay by her side and offer that support.
2} You can’t concentrate at work
If you don’t take a paternity leave, don’t think that you can continue to concentrate on your work. The thought of the child and the problems of the mother with it will continue to worry you even if you are hard at work. It is a persistent botheration that will not go away until you reach home and hold the child in your hands. So take at least two weeks of paternity leave, even if it is unpaid.
3} It helps in building up your relation with the baby
The bond between the child and the mother is innate to pregnancy and motherhood. But, for the father the bond with his child needs to be nurtured. The baby’s psyche needs to be oriented to the dad in order to foster the bond. The first few weeks and months is a wonderful time to nurture and foster that bond. Taking or not taking a paternity leave is entirely your choice. However, to foster the bond between you and your baby, it is a compulsion.
4} It helps in development of your child
Studies have shown that if a baby spends its early days with its father it can have better cognitive development. Not only that, another study has shown that if a 6-month old child regularly shares playtime with its father it can learn advanced vocabularies by the age of 3. It’s just a small contribution to your child’s development, but it may bear a significant outcome for the child.
5} Your wife is susceptible to depression
Postpartum depression is a reality. It entails a mix of physical, emotional and behavioral changes. Researchers in Spain have indicated that women whose husbands take time off from work in the early days of the infant are less likely to feel depressed. They have found that the presence of husband boosts the levels of prolactin and oxytocin in the mother. This also boosts breast milk production and helps the mother to let out the feelings.
6} You get a break from work
A break from work is a nice time to rewind your emotions, feelings, interests and hobbies. Though you may not get much time to pursue your hobbies or interests, you would get some respite from the rigors of regular work and routine. This can energize you further.
7} Change the perception about dads
The perception about dads that they are less caring for their child is far and wide. You need to change that perception. It is not only suicidal for the reputation of fathers, but also for the perception of the child about its father. So take a paternity leave and experience the bliss of fatherhood, first hand.