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Making the Most of Paternity Leave

I am fortunate to work for an employer that offers 4 weeks of paternity leave with full pay. I was incredibly lucky that the policy was unexpectedly implemented the month Penny was born in 2017! This time around we actually had the opportunity to plan on my paternity leave after Goldie’s arrival and still take vacation time during the year. In 2017 I had saved vacation time and was ready to cash it all in to help Leslie at home – the announcement of the leave policy was an amazing surprise!

Tengo la suerte de trabajar para una compañía que ofrece 4 semanas de ausencia paternal posparto con salario completo. Fui increíblemente afortunado que este beneficio fue implementado el mismo mes que Penny nació en 2017. Esta vez tuvimos la oportunidad de planear mi tiempo fuera del trabajo luego de la llegada de Goldie y aún poder tomar vacaciones durante el año. El 2017 tuve que guardar todo mi tiempo de vacaciones y estaba listo para usarlo todo una vez que Penélope naciera. El anuncio del nuevo beneficio fue una sorpresa espectacular!

feeding Penny in the NICU
holding Goldie in the mother & baby ward

With Goldie, our goal with my time off has been to formulate a routine so that by the time I have to go back to work, things are manageable for Leslie at home with the girls. I also want to be involved in caring for them as much as I can, so Leslie can heal and have a bit more rest. One thing is certain; I do not want to be the absent or aloof husband who is letting his wife do all the heavy lifting raising the kids. It took two of us to make a baby, it will take two of us to raise the child (shoutout to single parents, you are superheroes).

Con Goldie, la meta de mi tiempo libre ha sido poder crear una rutina que, una vez ya vuelva al trabajo, Leslie pueda cuidar de las niñas sola en casa con la menor cantidad de problemas posibles. También quería estar envuelto en el cuidado de ella lo más posible así Leslie puede sanar y descansar. Una cosa es segura, no quiero ser el papá que está ausente y que deja que la mamá haga todo lo que se refiere a cuidar y criar a los niños. Nos tomo a ambos crear al bebé, nos tomará a ambos criarlo (destaco a los papás y mamás solteros, ustedes son superhéroes).

holding Penny on paternity leave in 2017
2 years later…so much has changed and so much is the same.

Leslie and I work as a team when it comes to house chores and parenting. We both have tasks that one will take care of more often than the other, but if it needs to be done either one of us can handle it. Dishes, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, yard work, meal preparation, etc. It works the same with parenting tasks – playing, changing diapers, bath time and bed time routines – we’re both involved. There is one specific activity, however, that only mom can take care of as nature did not provide me with the proper equipment to complete the task: breastfeeding. 

Leslie yo funcionamos como equipo cuando se trata de hacer las cosas en la casa y la crianza de los niños. Los dos hacemos algunas cosas más que el otro, pero cuando algo se necesita hacer cualquiera de los dos pueden encargarse. Lavar platos, lavar ropa, limpiar la casa, compras en el supermercado, jardinería, preparar comida, etc. Funciona de la misma manera con actividades relacionadas a la crianza, jugar, cambiar pañales, dar baños, acostar a los niños, etc. Si hay una actividad que solamente la mamá se pueden encargar ya que la naturaleza no me dio el equipamiento adecuado para poder hacerlo: amamantar.

During the day Goldie is breastfed and we use bottled milk to top her off and make sure she’s full. The milk for the bottle comes from what Leslie is able to get from the Haakaa pump during feeding. My contribution to the baby’s meals during the day is to feed the top off bottle, burp Goldie once she’s finished eating, and clean bottles and pump parts. We both change diapers when needed, soothe Goldie when she’s fussy, and keep Penny’s needs covered.

Durante el día Goldie recibe pecho y usamos mamaderas para suplementar y asegurarnos que esté llenita. La leche para la mamadera es la leche que Leslie consigue sacar usando la bomba manual Haakaa mientras Goldie está comiendo. Mi contribución en esos momentos se trata de darle la mamadera, sacarle el gas a Goldie una vez que termina de comer, y limpiar las botellas y la bomba. Ambos cambiamos pañales cuando es necesario, calmamos a Goldie cuando no está contenta, y mantenemos las necesidades de Penny bien cubiertas.

At night our strategy is different. To ensure quick and efficient feeding, I feed her a bottle while Leslie pumps. We bring one bottle of milk that Leslie pumped during the day upstairs for the first feed of the night, and while I change Goldie’s diaper and feed her, Leslie is pumping for the next meal. This strategy minimizes our time awake. During the first week home with Goldie we tried alternating getting up and feeding while the other person stayed asleep, but it took longer to feed and get Goldie back to sleep. Also, Goldie would inevitably start crying, and the person who was supposed to be taking a break and sleeping was never able to actually rest.

Durante la noche nuestra estrategia es diferente. Para asegurarnos una alimentación rápida y eficiente yo le doy mamadera a Goldie mientras Leslie bombea. Para la primera mamadera (justo antes de acostarnos) usamos leche que Leslie bombeo durante el día. Mientras cambio pañal y doy de comer a Goldie bombea leche para la próxima comida. Esta estrategia minimiza el tiempo despierto para ambos. Durante la primera semana de Goldie en casa intentamos alternar quien se levantaba a darle de comer mientras la otra persona continuaba durmiendo, pero nos demorabamos más en darle de comer y Goldie en volver a dormirse. Inevitablemente la bebé lloraba y la persona que se suponía continuaba durmiendo, no podía descansar.

Having a baby is a huge responsibility and as a husband and father my goal is to contribute as much as possible in order to reduce stress and promote the well being of our baby, our family, our relationship and ourselves. Moms go through a lot during pregnancy and postpartum. Many experience anxiety and depression once the baby arrives. Fathers can help, should help, should be allowed to help, and should be asked to help. Teamwork makes dreamwork. 

Tener un bebé es una responsabilidad tremenda y como padre y marido mi meta es contribuir lo más posible para poder reducir el estrés y promover el bienestar de nuestro bebé, familia, relación de pareja, y nuestra salud. Las madres tienen que soportar muchos problemas durante el embarazo y después de dar a luz. Muchas sienten ansiedad y depresión una vez que el bebé llega a casa. Los padres pueden ayudar, deben ayudar, deben dejar que ayuden, y se les debe pedir ayuda. Trabajo en equipo es clave para el éxito! 

8 thoughts on “Making the Most of Paternity Leave Leave a comment

  1. You get only one chance to be a good Father and if you lose that opportunity, you will be sorry for the rest of your life. Shame on those who miss this special and important time…
    Cheers to you both, and the little two.

  2. Thanks for all the love and support you are to your sweet family. It certainly makes us happy that you are Leslie’s life partner and daddy to our granddaughters. We love how you support and care for each other. Makes all the difference for happy days and strong family life. ✌🏼❤️

    • One of the best dyhing my husband would do when our 3rd was born was the grocery shopping. At that time there was no click list. I would take the 2 youngest (22mths apart) feed newborn amd snuggle with other one for nap. Mom and babies got good naps while daddy took care of shopping.

      • Nice thing to do. We have used going grocery shopping as outings right now since we have been stuck in the house during flu season while we wait for baby to get her vaccines. I think dividing activities in the future will be something we implement.

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