Friday, October 9, 2009

Extended Maternity Leave

Our maternity leave should be longer.

While I appreciate I won’t get any sympathy from the likes of my mom, who had to quit her job when she was pregnant with my older brother; those from Holland who get only six weeks of maternity leave; or those from the States who get an equally short time to spend with their newborns, I still think Canadians should get a longer maternity leave.

Particularly now that doctors, healthcare workers and moms have returned to the idea that “breast is best.”

“They” say that you should breastfeed your baby until he is one year old. Wonderful. I agree.

However, if you are as unfortunate as I and you have to return to work, how can you feed on demand until your child is one when you have to go back when your child is one?

Should you quit breastfeeding cold turkey? Pump at work? Or, as I am attempting to do, wean prior to the first birthday?

My best friend JM, who has been doing daycare for years and who has two children of her own, said I don’t have to worry about weaning my son from his daily feeds prior to going back to work. She told me babies, or toddlers as he will be in a couple short weeks, are clever creatures.

He is not going to look to daycare provider, LC, for breast milk. And he won’t miss it because I am not there tempting him with it. She said I should be more concerned about weaning him at night, not for his sake but for my own.

While that did put my mind at ease, I still want to help my son learn to fall asleep on his own, without nursing. I want to make his transition to daycare as easy and stress-free as possible - for him anyway.

So if my maternity leave was say ... two years or even a year and a half, I could nurse until he was one and have him weaned before having to head back to work.


Cindy said...

Hi there - I peeked at your site from having seen your comments on a mutual friends Moments Of Clarity site :)

While I never returned to work after my first was born, all three of my children continued to nurse after one year. My daughter went 19 months, my son 16 and my third child is still going at 15 months (today!).

I'm not saying it to brag, only to point out that the nursings gradually changed to two a day - first thing in the morning and last thing at night. My youngest, K, still nurses once during the day as well, but right now I could easily drop it and he wouldn't miss it.

Your friend is right - little ones are very adaptable, and very smart! As for the nighttime nursings, well, I wish you good luck on that one :) K still wakes sometimes, mostly when teething.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Although I have no children of my own I whole heartedly agree that maternity leave should be longer.

I've studied a lot in the way of early childhood development and it is not a mystery that children who have parents around longer in the first two years of life have very strong foundations for the rest of their psychosocial development. However, having worked with many children who stayed home with "mommy" until they were 3 or 4, I fully believe that “mostly mommy time” until school starts is not such a good thing. These children enter the social world stunted and at odds with their new environment. They don't know how to play with other children, how to solve problems, how to get hurt and get back up again of their own volition. This is because mommy has been micromanaging them since they were born. These children are uncomfortable in their own skin, they don’t know how to act and interact independently of adults. They seem to struggle as compared to those who have done preschool or daycare part time. The children who are given the opportunity to interact with children their own age are most often extremely well adjusted as compare to those who have been coddled by mommy alone since birth.

So the long and short of that is - we NEED longer maternity leaves and we need parents to let go sooner so that their children get the best of both worlds.

Cindy said...

While my eldest child was a bit at odds during her first year of school, JK, she was also one of the ones NOT crying.

I think it all depends on the freedom we give our children while they're with us - freedom to express themselves; freedom to try things and learn that yes, they can fail; freedom to know that we'll still love them at all costs.

But if we are home with our children (like I am with mine), we also have our own responsibility to teach them what we can. My girl started JK knowing how to print all the letters of the alphabet, how to print a few words (mom, dad, cat, hat, etc. and both her brothers names), and she also knew how to share and what it's like to try to play with others. She has two younger brothers, so she has to share (even if she doesn't want to). She also has a few friends on our street, her age, younger and older than her.

We also got together with others with young children, as well as did many community centre programs.

It's a balance - if you stay home, you need to also provide a rich learning environment for your children.

I've also seen how children that have gone to daycare act. More yelling, more hitting, more fighting, less listening, etc. Granted, it depends on the child and the daycare, but if they're not taught how to get along at all and are not supervised well, isn't that worse?

Um ... I'll get off my soapbox now ;) Sorry to rant! Especially since I don't know you :)

Julie said...

Late to the game here but just wanted to let you know that I'm still nursing T 2x/day and he'll be 20 months tomorrow. I dropped him down slowly to 3x/day before going back and introduced him to homo milk about 1 week before hand. But, I was prepared to pump if needed and I had informed my manager of that.

I would love a longer maternity leave but I also know that I needed to get back to work after the 2nd mat leave because I needed some adult time.


Anonymous said...

I just discovered the website who discuss about
home based business reviews

If you want to know more here it is
home based business reviews