Last Monday marked my return to work, following five and a half weeks of customary holidays and then paternity leave. I was expecting it to be hellish, as Elizabeth hasn’t been the most consistent sleeper – which is to be expected for a bay her age. A week on, and I’m actually coping okay – I’m getting just about enough sleep most nights, albeit in chunks rather than a contiguous block. My performance at work hasn’t been quite as good this week as normal, but I put that down to another major factor which I will talk about soon. Don’t worry, it’s good news.
The week I spent working abroad last year was probably worse than last week in terms of tiredness. Back then, I had several nights with minimal sleep – or none at all in some cases – and very long working days. At least Elizabeth is letting us get some sleep, and I have had regular work days without any late nights or especially early starts. I did have to work for part of the day on Saturday though.
Going back to work has meant that I’ve needed to step back from my responsibilities with Elizabeth; so that I can get enough sleep for work, I’m not doing any overnight nappy changes. We’ve also stopped doing top-up feeds with formula (which was mainly my responsibility), so Elizabeth is now almost exclusively breast-fed. This was our intention from the start; top-up feeds were only really a stop-gap because she wasn’t putting weight on initially. Now, Christine’s able to produce enough milk for her.
I’m glad that I was able to take off more than the minimum amount of time for paternity leave. Going back after two weeks would have been painful, and would have put more pressure on Christine. Those few extra weeks have made a positive difference and – most of the time – Christine has been coping well whilst I’ve been at work. Unfortunately, I only have a couple of weeks’ holiday allowance left, to last me until the end of July, so apart from some accumluated time of in lieu of overtime, I’m not going to be able to spend much more time at home during the week before Christine returns to work in the summer.