Unfortunately, you may as well be asking ‘How long is a piece of string?’ because only you can decide how long to take off. You know yourself and your child better than anyone, and therefore what would work best. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. What do you honestly feel would work for you and your family?
Hopefully the fact that there is no ‘right’ answer comes as somewhat of a relief. But if you’re still ‘anguishing’ ... to help you think through possible contributing factors, here’s a few questions you may like to consider for your individual situation. From there you can create an action plan to help you make your decision.
- How much time do you want / need to spend with your baby?
- Are you breastfeeding – how long do you envisage (roughly) you will breastfeed for?
- Is breastfeeding / expressing at work something you’re comfortable with?
- What type of care (aside from you) are you comfortable using for your baby?
- Are you emotionally, physically and mentally ready for a return to work?
- What level of responsibility / authority do you have at work – and therefore what would be a reasonable length of time to be on leave?
- What’s your financial situation – do you need your income?
- Are flexible work arrangements openly supported and encouraged? What are your partner’s expectations?
- Are you communicating regularly with your partner about your feelings and expectations regarding returning to work?
- Does your partner share the same responsibilities of parenthood and housework?