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5 Reasons Dads Should Take Paternity Leave

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Updated Apr 11, 2024
5 Reasons Dads Should Take Paternity Leave

Studies have shown that less than five percent of American men take paternity leave. Paternity leave is the equivalent of maternity leave for mothers; however, it is not as well known. Most of the time, when a couple has a baby, only the mother takes time off from work. This is a great misfortune because men can also benefit from paternity leave.

By taking time to go home and spend time with their wife and new baby, new dads will be able to cultivate their relationship with their family. Even though the average time men take off for paternity leave is one week, new dads need to take more time off to spend with their growing family.

New moms and dads need to take advantage of FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), in which they are guaranteed 12 weeks off with job protection after the birth of a child, adoption of a child, or fostering a child.

While state laws vary from state to state, most states have a protected law requiring employers to give Family and Medical Leave to their employees. If you are about to be a new dad, it is good to look into taking advantage of paternity leave.

By doing this, you will be able to be there for your new baby as well as help your wife. Your wife will need your help with bringing the baby home, taking care of the baby, and help with her own postpartum care.

Having a new baby is a wonderful experience for a couple and one that needs to be cherished by both parents. As a new dad, you need to try to soak in every moment you can with your baby. Babies need lots of love, support, and time with their parents.

Even though babies don’t normally remember everything as they get older, it is important to start forming bonds with your baby from the start. Your wife will also appreciate the time that you choose to stay home as she will need you more than you know.

Here are five reasons dads should take paternity leave.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Olena Domanytska

dad hugging toddler son joyful

1. Spend Time with Your New Baby

A main reason dads should take paternity leave is to spend time with your new baby. While this might sound generic, it is very important. A baby’s development is crucial to help your child cultivate a positive self-image, to know they are loved, and to help them be happy. As your child gets older and becomes an adult, they will truly appreciate all of the time you invested in their life, including taking the first days off during paternity leave.

There are many drawbacks of taking paternity leave, such as taking 12-weeks of unpaid leave, and this needs to be validated. Many individuals do not have the financial bandwidth to be able to take off this much time without a paycheck, especially after having a new baby.

With babies, you have to pay for many new expenses, including diapers, special formula, and baby food. Therefore, it is understandable why many men feel they are not able to take time off from work.

However, it is more beneficial for the emotional well-being of your wife and your baby to take time off. Trust God with the process and know that you will be provided for — often in unexpected ways.

Prior to your baby being born, maybe you could create a savings account to use after the birth of your baby. In this way, you will not have to worry about not having enough money or falling short by the end of the month. Consider being proactive, and then, you will be able to take time off without stressing about finances.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

Happy couple family holding newborn baby in house

2. Help Your Wife

Helping your wife is another reason why dads should take paternity leave. If you are already a new dad or are about to become a new dad, you have probably been educated on what will happen after your wife gives birth.

Your wife may tear during giving birth and this will require extra attention and time. Not to mention your wife will be exhausted after giving birth to your child. Giving birth is something that is beautiful, but also draining, an emotional battle, and painful.

Your wife needs you at this time. While most men are present in the delivery room, they are back to work the next time. Remember that your wife just gave birth, may have had injuries from the birth, and might be drained already by the lack of sleep and constant cries of the baby.

She needs you more than ever after the delivery room. This is why it is vital for you to take paternity leave because you will not be able to physically help her if you are not at home with her.

You know your wife better than anyone. Oftentimes women try to manage too many things at once, which only leads to burnout and short tempers. Even if your wife might say she has everything covered, she really doesn’t.

She needs you. Your wife needs help taking care of the new baby, carrying the heavy emotional feelings, and any postpartum care she may need. Many women develop postpartum depression, which is another sign that you need to take time off to help your wife.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/jacoblund

father holding baby

3. Father-Baby Bonding

A third reason dads should take paternity leave is because of father-baby bonding. Most of us have heard of mother-baby bonding, but father-baby bonding is equally as important. 

Father-baby bonding occurs with skin-to-skin contact, playing together, and caring actions. A father will not be able to do this if he is at work all the time. It is important to note that father-baby bonding will not stop after the first few weeks after your baby’s birth.

Father-baby bonding will continue for quite some time because it takes about six months for a bond to form. Even after this bond is formed, dads need to continue to cultivate their relationship with their baby. 

Times may get difficult, and you may feel overwhelmed, but your baby needs you. Taking care of your child and loving your child is not only found in providing for your baby’s physical needs. Rather, your baby needs emotional needs to be met, too. 

Take time off to invest in father-baby bonding and you will not regret it. The love you have for your baby will significantly increase as you continue to bond with your baby. Keep dedicating time for your baby and it will help your baby grow into a loved child. 

As a father, you have a new responsibility to care for your child in all areas. This includes physically, mentally, and emotionally. Many men only provide for their children in the physical concept of financial needs, but your baby needs you much more than just through finances. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Halfpoint

Family parents with newborn baby relaxing on bed

4. Cultivate a Stronger Relationship with Your Wife

Cultivating a stronger relationship with your wife is a fourth reason to take paternity leave. As mentioned, your wife needs you right now. Taking care of a baby, breastfeeding, and lack of sleep will begin to affect your wife pretty quickly.

Not to mention she might be more emotional because of hormonal changes during and after pregnancy. If your wife becomes angrier, crankier, or more sad after giving birth, be there for her. Meet her where she is and choose to continue to cultivate your relationship with her.

Remember that your wife is still your wife. Many men make the mistake of seeing their wives differently after having a baby and this can lead to many issues, including lust after other women and infidelity. Don’t make this mistake as it could destroy your marriage and your new family. Choose to cultivate your relationship with your wife during this time and ensure that you prioritize times to spend time with her, have date nights, and express your love for her in words and actions.

You will not be able to do this if you never take time off. Paternity leave will give you the chance to take time off from work and be there for your wife.

Your wife understands how difficult it can be to step down from work for an extended period of time and she will appreciate your sacrifice.

You will find that during the weeks you take off, you will build a stronger relationship with your wife by helping her, taking care of the baby together, and still loving her as the love of your life.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Mladen Zivkovic

asian family with baby watching church online on laptop

5. Create Lasting Memories

Creating lasting memories is a fifth reason dads need to take paternity leave. In the days leading up to the due date of your baby, you might find that you and your wife are savoring the final memories before having a family of three.

These memories will stay with you forever, but you are also about to enter a new era of life. You are about to become a dad. While many men don’t dream of starting a family as women do, having a baby is a huge part of life that brings many memories — both happy and sad.

When you take paternity leave, you will be able to have more chances to form lasting memories with your baby and wife. If you miss these new moments with your growing family, you will never be able to make up for them.

Whether this is your first baby, second baby, or third baby, know that you will miss out on incredible memories that will not happen again. Take advantage of paternity leave and use it as a chance to create lasting memories with your life and baby.

While it is true that some memories might be sad or even stressful, know that just as you are forming memories, so are your wife and baby. They are forming memories of you being present with them, loving them, and weathering the storm of a new stage of life.

As mentioned, your baby probably will not remember this as they get older, but they will always know that their dad chose them over their job. Your wife will remember that you chose to take time off because you care about your baby and her.

Never underestimate how important it is to your wife and baby to take paternity leave and form lasting memories with them.

Dads should take paternity leave for many reasons. A few of these reasons is because it will give you time to spend with your baby, you will be able to help your wife, participate in father-baby bonding, to cultivate a stronger relationship with your wife, and to create lasting memories.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/twinsterphoto

Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

Originally published Thursday, 11 April 2024.