TOPICS: All for the baby

The arrival of the baby lightens up your life and of those in your house. Once you return home and come face to face with your baby’s vulnerability and its dependence on you, you don’t want to leave its side or entrust its care to anybody else.

The baby becomes your top priority. That’s when reality strikes that

you have just about three months of maternity leave and that you can not possibly leave your little bundle of joy in crèche-in fact, you don’t want to be away from the baby even for a moment.

Plus, you are breastfeeding the baby and weaning so early will affect the baby’s health. Then, there are the sleepless nights, the endless nappy-changing and you worry that resuming office will make it just impossible for you to cope. What’s worse, you need the job and can’t run the risk of being sacked.

Though many employers do give maternity leave, any extension from what is mandatory is usually frowned upon. They have their reasons but it leaves the hapless mother in a quandary. With increased responsibilities support systems like the joint family vanishing, peer pressure, misconceived notions and even shortage of leave often compel her to work as late in her pregnancy as possible, sometimes even till the day before the delivery. Some try to save leave for usage post -partum.

The minimum mother care time post-partum should be three months, though ideally, it should be six month or a little earlier if the baby needs top up feed after breast-feeding. The lesser the mother care duration, the

more are the chance of the child’s growth rate being slower or the child suffering from recurrent infection. Ultimately, this leads the mother to take leave more often even after resuming office, the very thing she wanted to reduce in the first place.

So, the right amount of maternity leave is like a foundation for the

baby’s future health, the mother’s balance and her work. Alternatively, the mother could opt of flexible time or part-time work with permission

from her employers.

Finally, a wonderful period in life, when you are creating a new life, is in front of you. Equip yourself before

taking on the responsibilities of

motherhood and you’ll cope with or without leave.