The first I heard of the goverment's new Shared Parental Leave policy was when an email dropped into my inbox about it.
From April 2015, parents will have greater choice over how they share time off work to care for their child. Shared Parental Leave allows working couples to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay in a way that suits their work and family needs. For example, parents can take time off together or they can tag team, stopping and starting leave and returning to work in between if they wish.
I would imagine that this new policy will really be beneficial to some new parents, especially if Mum is the higher earner or if it's a critical time within the workplace.
It's also great that Dad can share care of baby and do his share of the main caregiver which is likely to strengthen a good bond and connection between father and child.
For me personally, this is something that I wouldn't of taken advantage of when DS was born.
For one thing, I exclusively breastfed DS for the first six months of his life so going back to work would of been very difficult.
Of course, I could of expressed my milk for his Dad to give to him but to be honest, I wasn't very good at expressing and would struggle to get a full feed into a bottle. I could do a few ounces really easily and then it would slow down. I remember mentioning to the midwife who said it was normal and that my baby was the best pump I would ever have for my milk.
I used to go to a weekly breastfeeding group where all breastfeeding Mums would meet with our babies (ran by a health visitor who had breastfed her twins). We talked about our boobs and babies all afternoon! We were like a little sisterhood :D I will always remember one new Mum who produced lots and lots of milk - waaay too much milk for her baby so she donated it to the neo-natal at several hospitals for premature babies - how fab is that? :) The unit would come to collect her breastmilk once a month which in that time she had filled her freezer as well as her next door neighbours freezer with milk! haha :)
Another thing was that when I breastfed baby DS, I enjoyed the time we cuddled up for a feed and how it bonded us. I would of struggled to have to limit that special time for us both.
Another reason why I personally wouldn't of used this policy was that after having DS, I was no way mentally ready to start back at work.
I took 1 years maternity leave and even after a year, I wasn't really ready to go back.
I remember being close to tears so many times having to leave him of a morning for the drive to the office and always raced back home to see him!
These were personal reasons to me and my family and as I say I can imagine that this will be very welcomed by many new parents.
More on this https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/shared-parental-leave
What do you think of the new shared parental leave, is it something that you would consider?