Paternity leave may be a mind-blowing experience for dads and offer great support for baby and mom!
Paternity leave offers incredible support for mom and baby, and can be a mind-blowing experience for dads! Scientific research shows important changes in the brains of dads who spend more time with their little ones. The ability of the brain to change in response to demands like parenting is called Neuroplasticity and it is the hottest thing in neuroscience!
Research from the scientific journal "Social Neuroscience" explains how brains of fathers who spend time caring for their little ones can develop more sensitivity to their baby’s needs. The human brain is able to change itself through neuroplasticity in order to support new and more complex behaviors, like caring for a newborn.
Family leave is an important benefit that allows parents to take off time for childbirth, illness, and injury without the risk of losing their jobs. Moms have benefitted from maternity leave for years, but now dads are screaming for equal time. The argument for fathers to have equal time is valid and scientifically supported. Lucky babies may enjoy having both mom and dad take off time from work to welcome them into the world!
When mom and dad both take maternity/paternity leave, it is easier to share responsibilities and allow each parent to get enough sleep during those critical first few weeks of baby’s life. When both parents are daddies, then paternity leave becomes a practical necessity.
From a practical perspective, moms who have just given birth deserve the support and care of co-parents. Newborns benefit from the additional attention and care when both mom and dad are home for those first few weeks after childbirth. Family systems also receive an important boost from paternal leave. Fathers who take off time to care for mom and newborn are more likely to get in synch with their infant’s needs and care routines.
These lucky dads will not whimper "I just don’t know what to do" when baby wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. Being there from the first moments of life, new fathers on paternity leave will have plenty of time and opportunity to learn about changing, rocking, singing, snuggling, and feeding little baby bunting. This reduces the family challenges that typically follow welcoming a new baby into the world.
What if dad takes paternity leave, and mom goes back to work? Research shows that newborns need to be loved, nurtured, and cared for by a committed and nurturing caregiver. Even though mothers have traditionally been the ones to stay at home, dads are completely capable of providing infants with important nurturing and care, even when baby is breast feeding. Moms who go back to work while dads are on paternity leave can pump breast milk, giving baby the best of both worlds! For all these reasons and more, paternity leave is a win-win situation for the entire family!
Kim, P., Rigo, P., Mayes, L. C., Feldman, R., Leckman, J. F., & Swain, J. E. (2014). Neural plasticity in fathers of human infants. Social Neuroscience, 9(5), 522-535.