Breastfeeding- how long is too long in your opinion?

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 12/22/2011 ( 411 moms have responded )

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This is stemming from the other thread about the Duggars. One poster stated that over 6 months was just strange and another poster stated that WHO says that 2 years is perfect. My own opinion is that whenever you feel weird about it stop, but anything after 2 in my opinion is very odd.

This isn't to bash formula mommies or bash formula or whatnot. Play nice. I have to go do laundry because my Breast fed baby is a poopy baby.

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Jodi - posted on 01/13/2012

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Kel, you are incorrect. The need for iron of any baby depends much more on their iron stores at birth than on whether they are breastfed or not. Yes, the iron in formula is absorbed differently to the iron in breastmilk, so it does have an effect, but not all breastfed babies still have sufficient iron stores at 6 months, and not all formula fed babies have had their iron stores depleted at 6 months. There is no single answer for every baby. It is also fact that all babies display readiness for solids at different ages. I had one ready at 5 months, and my other wasn't ready until she was nearly 8 months old.

Maree - posted on 01/13/2012

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So i just researched some more and found some other studies...some say 6 months ,some say 4 months and they have many different reasons for this. It doesn't affect me in any way whatsoever but i did find it interesting.

Maree - posted on 01/13/2012

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I don't seem to be able to post the links but just looked it up and it says that it is recommended that ff babies start solids at 4 months because they are not getting enough iron from the formula at that stage. No matter how much is in the formula,they will still not be able to get enough where as in breast milk there is plenty of iron up to at least 6 months and usually still enough up to 9 months...plus it changes as your baby grows and his/her needs change,it is not the exact same thing feed after feed for several months....so anyone who claims (and many have) that breast milk is not a super food truly is either a liar or uneducated.

Jodi - posted on 01/13/2012

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"In Australia until recently it was 4 months for bottle an 6 months for breast".



Bullshit. Even as far back as my oldest I was advised 4-6 months for ALL babies and that it depended on the baby, not whether they were breast or FF.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/13/2012

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Laura point taken, but it doesn't seem fair to tell moms who do sent their children to daycare or pre school that they are doing something unnatural. Many parents don't have a choice if they want to stay home or not, so to call it unnatural is an unfair judgement.



Also unless you are adopted or have adopted children it's not fair IMO to say what should and shouldn't be done with an adopted child. My brother and I were adopted when we were babies (well my brother was a toddler when the adoption was finalized) We've had no issues adjusting or bonding. Which seems to be another issue some breastfeeding moms (not you) worry about with FF babies.



I have a friend who was in foster care for a short time and was adopted at 13. At a school I went to there were a lot of other kids who were adopted later than I was. I would immagine that if you were older when adopted there could be other issues. But being adopted when you are too young to have any recolection of your biological family is rather like being born into that family.

Maree - posted on 01/13/2012

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I am talking generally though,of course there are cases where things like that happen.

Merry - posted on 01/13/2012

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I had an old manager that told me of the time she became allergic, deadly allergic, to strawberries. She was 27 and she had eaten strawberries her whole life and one day out of nowhere she ate one and her airways swelled shut. She passed out, stopped breathing and had a seizure. Rushed to the ER. So now she's allergic to strawberries.

That obviously had nothing to do with formula or breastfeeding

Merry - posted on 01/13/2012

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Megan, not to beat a dead horse but please know that he absence of daycare preschool or traditional schooling does not equal a child living in a bubble.

So slthough my kids haven't and won't ever be in any child care type system including school, this doesn't mean they are lacking any necessary experiences. No bubbles :)

Maree - posted on 01/13/2012

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agree to disagree then shall we??? I'd prefer to believe studies i personally have read and the opinions of my childs Paediatrician who i trust. I can see this is going nowhere once again

Sylvia - posted on 01/13/2012

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Also, you can develop allergies as an adult. Look at me, for instance -- I nursed for 18 months, never had any allergies as a kid, developed a couple of dozen food and environmental allergies in my 20s. Why? Who knows? (I blame Ontario, because I never had any allergies when I lived in Alberta ;))

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/13/2012

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I'm just going to back up what Rebecca (sorry, you spell your name differently than a friend of mine so I have to cheat) by stating yet again that I was adopted and formula fed and I am healthier than my breastfed for a year husband and his breastfed for a year sibling with tree allergies. Allergies as I understand along with some other immune issues have more to do with your genetics than what mom fed you when you were a baby.

[deleted account]

By Kel: "but i guess there are studies i have not read or do not believe !! "



I think the problem is that there are you are chosing to believe what you want to believe, despite any factual evidence to the contrary.

[deleted account]

In response to Kel’s comments:

“I too believe the immune system is not fully developed till around 6 years old. I don't see how you saying a babies immune system is functioning because they are developing allergies very young makes sense at all.....to me,a young baby getting allergies is saying that their underdeveloped immune system is struggling !!! BIG TIME !!!”

Kel – it’s apparent you have a fundamental lack of understanding of what a food allergy is. A food allergy is an immunological reaction, particularly, an OVERREACTION to an otherwise-non-threatening protein. If a child did not have a functioning immune system, or a minimally functioning immune system, allergies would not be possible in infants and young children. They wouldn’t be capable of producing an immunological reaction to a protein. In fact, they can and they do. Infants as young as a few days old can have severe immunological reactions.

“Rebecca...infants develop food allergies most commonly when they are bottle fed and/ or given solids too young.”

Dead wrong. Infants do not develop food allergies as a result of being bottle fed or being fed solids too soon. That was a theory that has been disproven. An infant is either going to develop allergies or they will not develop allergies – the timing of the introduction of solid foods or high allergen foods has no effect on the development of allergies. In fact, the current theory is that the early introduction of solids (before 6 months) may result in a reduction in food allergies. If exposures to food protein were the cause of food allergies, then breastfeeding mothers of infants at high risk for food allergies would be counseled to immediately switch them to an allergen-free formula since breast milk itself contains proteins and components of all the foods the mother consumes. Breastfeeding mothers introduce their babies to a cornucopia of allergens through their breast milk. For that reason, breastfeeding mothers of infants with allergies are counseled that they must stop eating the offending food once it is identified. In my daughter (Geneva’s) case, she was identified as having a milk allergy at 7 weeks. Because she was breastfeed, I had to give up consuming all dairy products.

“It is recommended that bottle fed babies are to be given solids at 4 months...I would have to assume because there is a belief that formula is not good enough to be given on it's own after this age,even though this means that they are subsequently at greater risk of food allergies,for some reason it is still a recommendation to give food and take the risk.”



You know what they say about assumptions. Dead wrong again. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations regarding the introduction of solids applies to breast feed and formula feed babies – it has nothing to do with the sufficiency or insufficiency of formula. It is based on the caloric needs of the infant. The acceptable guidelines for introducing solids are anytime between 4 to 6 months.

“This says to me that formula MUST be pretty bad if there is a need to risk the allergies rather than just continue on formula till 6 months !!! Does this not cross anyone elses mind ???”

Considering that your initial assumption was dead wrong, I will just ignore this comment.



Therefore,ff-ing and early solids babies are more commonly the ones getting the allergies...not all of course,i know bf babies have allergies too but what i am saying is that a bf baby that slowly begins solids at 6 months is less likely to develop allergies even if there is a family history.

Dead wrong again. It makes no difference. Just for a comparison in my own little family: my eldest twins (just shy of 4) were breastfeed until 6 months. I began introducing solids to them at 4 months, and they received all the high allergen foods in the 4 to 6 month time frame, including milk, eggs, nuts, shellfish, avocado, strawberries, and melons. To date, neither twin has any food allergies. On the other hand, my current set of twins, who are just shy of 9 months, have been BF since birth (that is, they have received three MORE months of BM than the first set). They were also introduced to solids at 4 months. Same genetic stock, some diet, same types of foods, same home environment. Yet the baby twins have food allergies popping up like dandelions in the spring grass. Geneva developed an allergy to milk at 7 weeks. She is also allergic to apples. Griffin is showing potential allergies to peas and squash (go figure on that one).

As a mom with food allergies, I have researched the issue of food introduction and allergies extensively. I have also consulted with multiple allergists and pediatricians about the issue. Nothing that you have said about a baby’s immune system, formula, and allergies bears any relation to the actual facts.

Krista - posted on 01/13/2012

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Ah, that makes more sense, Sherri. I thought you were talking about younger children that were being adopted.

Maree - posted on 01/13/2012

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In Australia until recently it was 4 months for bottle an 6 months for breast

Sherri - posted on 01/13/2012

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Actually the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends solids between 4-6mo's. Whether they are breastfed or bottle fed is irrelevant the recommendation is the same

Maree - posted on 01/13/2012

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The 6 month thing for all babies...i read about recently. It has changed from 4 months but it is very recent. For many years it has been 4 months for ff and 6 months for bf. I wonder (even though it has now changed) why this is..or was ???



Do you know Janice ?



I looked at it that formula is not that great therefore they need food. I know it's not that formula is not filling enough as it is a known fact that formula does not digest easily so the baby is usually full for longer,this would suggest,if anything ,that bf babies would "need" solids earlier as they are digesting the breast milk much quicker therefore be more hungry.



And since more often than not,babies are given solids at..or before 4 months,there is no doubt in my mind that this is is a major cause of allergies...but i guess there are studies i have not read or do not believe !!

Janice - posted on 01/13/2012

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Kel I'm not completely against much of what you say but the recommendation for starting solids is the same for all babies - 6 months. There has been a lot of conflicting data on whether or not the age in which solids are started affects the likelihood of allergies.

Maree - posted on 01/13/2012

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Rebecca...infants develop food allergies most commonly when they are bottle fed and/ or given solids too young.



It is recommended that bottle fed babies are to be given solids at 4 months...I would have to assume because there is a belief that formula is not good enough to be given on it's own after this age,even though this means that they are subsequently at greater risk of food allergies,for some reason it is still a recommendation to give food and take the risk.



This says to me that formula MUST be pretty bad if there is a need to risk the allergies rather than just continue on formula till 6 months !!! Does this not cross anyone elses mind ???



Therefore,ff-ing and early solids babies are more commonly the ones getting the allergies...not all of course,i know bf babies have allergies too but what i am saying is that a bf baby that slowly begins solids at 6 months is less likely to develop allergies even if there is a family history.



I too believe the immune system is not fully developed till around 6 years old. I don't see how you saying a babies immune system is functioning because they are developing allergies very young makes sense at all.....to me,a young baby getting allergies is saying that their underdeveloped immune system is struggling !!! BIG TIME !!!



Breast feeding gives it a helping hand and in fact PROTECTS them from many illnesses considering that the baby has it's mothers immunity whilst being breast fed. Sorry if i misunderstood your post but it really makes no sense what you are claiming !

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/13/2012

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Thanks Sherri, I was thinking of a baby when you mentioned adoption.

Sherri - posted on 01/13/2012

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@Krista the kids are in school full time, the are 9 & 10yrs old, so my friend works full time while they are in school and is home when they to get them off the bus in the afternoon. While her husband puts them on the bus in the morning. They are not in daycare and what good would it do to be home all day when the kids are in school all day anyways?? They leave on the bus at 8am and don't get home till 4pm.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/13/2012

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Laura, I'm adopted and my parents had me then my brother in day care and pre school. I formed a good bond with my parents and I learned how to deal with other children. As did my brother. I don't feel it's natural to expect children to grow up in a bubble. And I fail to see how someone can become themself with guidance from other people.



But you're right that is off topic, so I guess I have to figure out the new system and post about this.

Merry - posted on 01/13/2012

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Well I do disagree with one thing Megan, I don't think daycare or preschool benefits kids.

Especially not adopted kids. Well any kids! They need to be with their family and become themselves with the guidance of their mom and dad and siblings. There's years and years to learn how to socialize with other kids and IMO the best socializing is after they have had that first solid relationship with their families. Not being separated into different places from toddlers.

Just isn't natural :)



But anyways, thats off topic.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/13/2012

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Now I do agree with Becky, Krista and Laura.



My brother and I were lucky because our adoptions happened when we were babies. Well I was more of a baby (3 days old) than he was (6 months when he came from the first foster home to our parents' home) I was in day care when I was 3 years old but my mom was able to stay home and do part time work before that. My father works in a NY grocery store chain and worked night shift for a while (he's head of receiving now) When my parents became my brother's foster parents I was in Pre School and my mom took time off from work again. I was in kindergarten when his adoption went through. He was nearly 2 when this happened.



I do know that my brother was in day care for a while then pre school and Pre-K as well. Our parents were also allowed to take him on a trip with us to Tampa, FL to visit an aunt.



I do believe that day care is a good thing for children even if the child has a SAHM they still need to learn social skills from their peers. Besides I believe peer pressure helped my older daughter learn to walk and use the toilet. Whether it's better than being in foster care depends on the foster parents and if the foster parents are in the process of adopting the child who is in their care. This is the position my parents were in when they were adopting my brother.

Merry - posted on 01/13/2012

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Yep I'm so on board with Becky and krista here. Yep the dog too! Adopted children need serious time and attection to bond with their new family. And if they're sent straight into daycare then I'd imagine the bonding process to be drawn out way more. Now if they're school aged children I guess it would be acceptable for the parents to work while the child is in school but little ones need that closeness.

Sure being adopted and in daycare is likely better then sitting in foster care but still.....

Krista - posted on 01/13/2012

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I agree with Becky. An adopted kid needs some time to adjust to his or her new home. To adopt a kid and then just plunk them in daycare to go back to work? I would think that this would NOT help them feel very secure in their new home.



Hell, if someone adopted a DOG, I would expect them to take a few days off work in order to help the dog acclimatize to its new surroundings!



I can't help but feel that it anybody who would adopt but not take any time off work to help their new child adjust, does NOT have good priorities.

Becky - posted on 01/13/2012

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Working in government adoptions - from foster care - we more or less expected parents to take the allowed parental leave. I don't know if we would have denied someone if they had said, "nope, not taking any leave at all" because it's never happened to me, but it would've been a concern. The reason is that adopting an older child from foster care is such a huge adjustment for both the child and the family. Can you imagine being pulled out of your family, your school or daycare, your community and friends to go live with people you barely know, and then these people just abandon you to more strangers to take care of you while they go straight back to work? That bonding an adjustment time is very, very important. Of course, here it is available, so no one has to quit their job to take that time.

Janice - posted on 01/12/2012

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Well, I do think its good that taking off a year isnt required for adoption. That would make it even harder than it already is and lots of children need loving homes.

Megan I 100% agree that the US needs to join the rest of the industrialized world when it comes to health care and family leave. Strange how politicians convince Americans that UHC and longer maternity leave is impossible yet many other countries make it work just fine.

Sherri - posted on 01/12/2012

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My friends are also adopting from a Catholic Organization and it no longer matters.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/12/2012

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Yeah Janice, that was back in the early 80's (I'm 30 my brother is 27) I wonder if the agency you go through depends too because my parents went through the Catholic Family Centre for both cases. However at this same time in the 80's the Family Leave Act wasn't in place and moms who had given birth still only had a short time period allowed with their children.



What I don't understand is why the US can't get on the same page with other industrialized nations with health care and Family leave. I thought being with your family was American

Sherri - posted on 01/12/2012

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Janice that is no longer the case for adoptions, that is how it was 20+ years ago. My friends are in the process of adopting now and both parents work and will not be taking anytime off.

Janice - posted on 01/12/2012

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Isnt it interesting that in order to adopt the government feels staying home for one year is best but could care less about how long any other mother stays with their child?

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/12/2012

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Sylvia, in the US (at least in NY) when my parents were adopting myself then my brother 3 years after that my parents were asked if one of them would consider staying at home. Actually wait let me take that back, one of them was required to stay at home for at least a year. So my mom left her job and stayed home with me, then my brother.



I did feel a little forced back to work. But I did like having the 2 months to work before I moved. Having my own money was nice and my parents would let me catch up on sleep if they were able to. However my baby was not a good sleeper and loves nursing so it didn't happen that often

Laura - posted on 01/12/2012

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I always thought i's stop at 12 mths but my little boy still wanted feeds at bedtime until 18 mths. By this time i was thinking of stopping but not sure how. One night he said bed now not boobie. He made the decision himself. That worked for me. People I meet now he's older seem to think that was a long time, but it suited us and i'm happy and he's happy.

Sylvia - posted on 01/12/2012

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Yes, what Janice said. Nobody in Canada or Australia is forced to take a year of mat leave -- if you want to come back to work after 3 months, and can find childcare for a baby that young, you can certainly do it. But what's happened in Canada, anyway, is that now that 15 weeks of mat leave and 35 weeks of parental leave is available, almost all mums take at least 6 months (the 15 weeks' mat leave is for mums only, but the 35 weeks' parental leave can be taken by either parent and is also available if you adopt) and most take the full year, or nearly. Of course some mums do go back super early -- but most don't, despite the dramatic loss of income, which suggests that if longer leave were an option in the US, we'd see significant uptake.

Janice - posted on 01/12/2012

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Tam, its true that some women may be ready to go back to work at 6 weeks (although probably the minority) If a woman chooses to back to work that early I thats okay. But many (most?) women feel forced back to work before they are ready.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/12/2012

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Sylvia I'd love to explain, but I can't. I'm a care aide and I was a care aide when I came back to work. Thankfully I was usually in shifts that started around 8:30 or 9am and my only 10 hour shift was rather easy. I don't know why we in the US (I know I moved to Canada) have such a stubborn mentallity where if we stay out too long we're lazy. Americans need to learn to take better care of themselves.



And now I'm just waiting to get yelled at about that comment.

Tam - posted on 01/12/2012

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Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I didn't have much problem returning to work after the standard six weeks my profession gives.



But again, to each their own. I'd likely go more crazy being at home for much longer, to be honest.

Sylvia - posted on 01/12/2012

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Really, this is the person you want handling the most important matters in your company? I don't understand why employers don't recognize that it is in their OWN self-interest to allow moms reasonable maternity leaves.



This.



All across the US right now there are women working as lawyers, police officers, doctors and nurses, pharmacists, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs, ultrasound and CT and MRI techs, avionics techs, USDA food-safety inspectors, and in all kinds of other jobs that call for clear-headed thought, good judgement, good reaction time, and the ability to deploy logic, assess risk, and make good decisions, who are sleep-deprived and distracted and, as Rebecca says, "barely able to form a coherent thought". Can someone please explain to me how on earth this is a good idea?!

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/11/2012

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Rebecca, as a lawyer what exactly should moms in the US try to to to obtain the same leave time that moms in (at the very least) Canada and Australia have? Besides just the usual petitioning our state law makers and everything else?



Hearing some stories from other states makes me glad I did have my baby in New York instead of another state.

[deleted account]

Sherri -- I live in Michigan and have actively complained about our leave policies in the US. I had to return to work at 6 weeks post-c-section after the birth of twins. I also received disability coverage that only covered two weeks off -- so I was off for 4 weeks with no coverage. You are not guaranteed 12 weeks leave in the US. I saw many moms who were not FMLA eligible forced to return at 5 to 6 weeks post delivery.



With respect to returning to work that early, I honestly don't understand why my employer wanted me there so soon. I am a lawyer and I need to be able to think clearly and be articulate. I was so sleep deprived in those first few months that I was barely able to form a coherent thought, let alone review and revise documents. I remember one day on my way to work I tried to put Diesel into my gas tank. I was so tired I couldn't figure out why the freaking hose wouldn't fit in my tank so another mom at the gas station stopped to help me. Really, this is the person you want handling the most important matters in your company? I don't understand why employers don't recognize that it is in their OWN self-interest to allow moms reasonable maternity leaves.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/10/2012

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Thanks Aleksandra. And the US is sadly behind every industrialized nation, they're the only other country besides China to not offer paid vacation time and moms have to hope that they will have something to pay bills with. I love my country, but I hate the politics. I joke with my husband and our neighbours that it's nice to know Canadians don't hate Americans, they just think we're a little crazy.

Europe is definitely ahead of everyone. Germany gives people 5 months of paid vacation time, Denmark gives people incentives to join health clubs. Aw well at least Canadian doctors get bonuses for helping smokers quit.

I was lucky with my job as a care aide. When my thyroid acted up during the beginning of my pregnancy my company allowed me to have short easy cases. When my pregnancy advanced I was given cases with little to no heavy lifting. When I went on early maternity leave I was guaranteed my job back. Some US moms don't get that.

I do know that when I can finally work in Canada (government stuff is fun) I'll be considered a government employee under the current UHC standards (provided Harper doesn't jack that up) and will hopefully be entitled to full pay.

Aleks - posted on 01/10/2012

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Megan, the employer paid maternaty leave is employer dependant. Some employers (like some government positions) have around 12-16 weeks paid. I believe that many universities pay around 12-18 weeks (though not sure if at full pay or if there are any other conditions attached). My employer choses to pay first 6 weeks at full pay. I also chose to take a "career break" of 3 years following my 12 mths of maternity leave. This means that the company is offering to re-employ me at same pay and status (though not necessarily the same position, as that in some areas of the company or for some jobs may not be possible) after those 3 years is up (remembering this is on top of the 1 yr already taken). Though its all unpaid.
So yeah, sounds like the Canadian system is definitively ahead of Australian system. Though Europe has most of us beat. Truth is most Australians (parents, that is) believe that our maternity leave is still quite inadequate especially when compared to most European countries.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/10/2012

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Sherri it does vary because in New York I qualified for temporary disability and took 8 weeks off. 2 of those were for bed rest.



Aleksandra! We have you beat here in Canada pay wise because we get 15 weeks paid then another 45 weeks of optiona paid time off that can be shared between spouses. Depending on the company you work for and your job you go to either 1/2 pay or maintain your full salary. Makes me glad I moved and eager to start work once I'm able to.



My LO just turned 10 months and is going strong and making me feel like I should be about 100lbs with all the milk she drinks LOL. I don't see any self weaning in my future

Ania - posted on 01/10/2012

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Never ...if mom and child want to go until 5 years old so be it...

Sherri - posted on 01/10/2012

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Ah Janice then that must vary by state because you are on maternity leave in NH you do not qualify for disability insurance and therefore get nothing unless your company has something in place.

Aleks - posted on 01/10/2012

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I suppose it depends on what kind of work one did. I was a project analyst at a major bank, so I had to have my head working right, not to mention commuting to and from work. Bah, wouldn't have worked, though my workplace (and in fact here in Aus) one gets 12mths maternity leave (6 weeks of it was paid by my employer).

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 01/10/2012

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I only functioned because I was co sleeping and nursing in my sleep. I also had very easy assignments and was only working between 3-6 hours except on Wednesdays when I worked 10 hours but most of that was sitting with a man who'd had a stroke

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