Maternity leave can be a magical, albeit exhausting, time. Although the United States government does not guarantee paid maternity leave — instead, any paid time off following the birth or adoption of your child(ren) is at your employer’s discretion — it is highly beneficial for both you and baby, if you are able to afford it.
Here are four reasons why maternity leave is so good:
Your mental & physical health. Taking maternity leave allows you space and time to physically heal after giving birth without added pressures of a work environment, which means you may be better equipped at caretaking. Researchers have also found fewer depressive symptoms associated with maternity leave among moms.
Breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding, you are more likely to breastfeed for longer if you are able to take maternity leave. Time off enables you to avoid a work place pumping schedule early on, which can decrease your milk supply and impact your ability to breastfeed for an extended period of time. This means your baby will receive the nutritional, immunological and emotional benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding for longer.
Baby’s health. In addition to the health benefits of breastfeeding outlined above, maternity leave may also offer long-term benefits to your child’s brain development, social development and overall wellbeing. Also, with a flexible maternity leave schedule, the likelihood that your baby will get to her well-baby appointments and receive her vaccinations is greater.
Bonding. Here’s an obvious — if not the best! — benefit: Taking maternity leave gives you more time to spend with your baby. This is a two-way street. During maternity leave, your baby gets to know you better, too, ultimately strengthening that parent-child bond, which can last well into childhood and beyond.
Authored by Jill Castle