In the Philippines, dads can have up to 14 days of Paternity Leave. While that number may be small compared to other countries’ paternity laws, you can still make this a fun and quality time with your little one. This article shares how you can make the most of your paternity leave.
Having a newborn is a beautiful, scary, and tiring period for parents. The mothers are given more time to care for their newborn, but fathers in the Philippines are only given 14 days. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, husbands can still have a great and meaningful two weeks with the newborn and wife. Here are some tips and information on these 14 days.
Husbands, this time can go by quickly, so make sure to help your wife organize her support system or team of people she can ask help from when she needs it. Ask your friends who have had babies for advice. Consult with experienced family members and talk to them about your fears and apprehensions about caring for your child.
The baby will sleep intermittently for 18 hours throughout the day, but they will be up every 2-3 hours to eat. Eating takes about 1 hour, which means you might only be able to sleep for an hour at a time.
Daddies, make sure to ask your wife what she needs. Ask questions like: “How do you feel now as a mom?” and “How can I help you?” When your wife experiences pain, don’t say lines like: “Magtiyaga ka na lang, para sa anak natin yan,” or such talk that might be insensitive to her. Say lines like: “Really it’s so painful? Describe to me how painful it is.” Be a listener. Be supportive and encouraging. “I’m so proud of you, you’re bearing the pain for our child. What can I do to help you?” Specific questions may help like: “Is there any way I can help you in putting the baby to sleep?” Sometimes, fathers can feel left out, so it’s good for them to ask questions. Do not wait to be asked for help. Also be wary of possible post-partum blues of your wife. She may be more irritable.
Mommies, don’t expect your husbands to know exactly what you want them to do. They will need cues and instructions from you. Husbands are not mind readers. If wives say “You should know,” husbands please calmly respond: “Just tell me what you need. I’d like to help you, but you have to give me information of what you need.”
Be prepared to cancel all appointments and be late for everything you’re supposed to go to. New parents are late for everything. There are things you can plan but inevitably there will be things you cannot prepare for, like your child suddenly dirtying the diaper!
Also, make sure you two go out on a date on about the 10th day. Get someone – your parents, or a caretaker, or another family member – to take care of your child for just an hour. Perhaps those who’ve undergone caesarian delivery will find this difficult, but for those who can, take some time out to reconnect, celebrate as a couple, and just talk. Try dressing up and staying in a secluded part of the house and bring out your favorite food. Or if you can, spend some time outside just to take a break from taking care of your child.
Things won’t be all that easy when you start out caring for a newborn. For the first 6 weeks, you’ll be lacking sleep, changing diapers, and helping your child burp. The baby takes and takes while you give and give. But trust the process, in about the seventh week, you’ll see your baby smiling and laughing and it’ll be all worth it.
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Have fun parents!
About The Expert
MA. ISABEL SISON DIONISIO, MA, Family, Relationship & Marriage Expert
Maribel, a Relationship and Parenting Consultant for over 25 years has co-authored books, like “Helping our Children do Well in School, Growing up Wired” and “I’ve been Dating…now what?”. She was a contributor and the Parenting Expert of Wyeth’s Nurture Network from 2010 to 2018. Maribel is a regular Parenting Expert for various TV and radio programs, like Radyo Singko’s Relasyon and ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda. Maribel served as a Judge for the Jollibee Family Values Award.
In 2008, she set-up AMD Love Consultants for Families and Couples. She worked at the Center for Family Ministries and trained as an Imago Therapist of the Imago Relationships International, New York. Maribel and husband, Allan, are both graduates of the Family Ministry course, Ateneo de Manila. They prepare couples for marriage in the Discovery Weekend and are columnists for the Feast Magazine. They have co-authored two relationship books, Thinking of Marriage and Teen Crush. Allan and Maribel, happily married for 36 years, have 3 children, Rafael, David, and Angelica.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.