17 weeks (baby #2 FAQ #2)
Woohoo - you guys had questions for me! Thanks for sending these via tweets, comments and emails...keep 'em coming!
How long will you take off work for maternity leave?
I don't really know! Does anyone else find it ridiculously hard to know what you will want when that time comes? Last time I took nine weeks, because it was the most paid time-off I could take and have some days left over for planned vacations, and then I went back for a week of half days before going full-time. At that point, I felt ready to go back and get into a routine (which I'm really grateful for!).
This time, I'll only have enough paid time off for five weeks. I'm currently working four days a week (32 hours) instead of five (I was working 40 hours before Rooney and until she was 7 months old), so I know my work-life balance is already better than last time (it may be easier to go back if I know I only have to do two days in a row and then I get a day off, and then two more days of work and then the weekend!). I also have on-site daycare, so I can visit the baby whenever I want, and can even feed him or her during the day! I guess I'm thinking maybe I'll take eight weeks, hoping that will work out OK financially, but wondering if when the time comes I'll cherish the baby stage more this time and want to take the full 12 weeks that's allowed? Luckily my boss is an advocate of taking as much time off as possible, so she would understand if that happened. However, financially, we are not prepared for that. I can't imagine going back to work before the baby is sleeping through the night, but who knows when that will be! We'll just have to balance what's best for the baby/mom/family when the time comes!
Will you share the baby's name before it's born this time, or the first letter again?
I don't know! I don't think I want to. Last time, Eric wanted to share the name beforehand, but I didn't. I remember feeling kind of let down that I didn't get to see people's reactions to her name, but with her name I was worried about hearing negative opinions. I also like the idea of saving SOMETHING as a surprise. And, actually, if it's a boy, I'm not sure we'll have a name picked out before we meet him!
Will you keep Rooney home with you during maternity leave, or will she go to daycare?
Ideally, I would like her to continue her normal schedule (she goes to daycare four days a week and stays home with me on Wednesdays). This is an emotional decision I'm making now though and doesn't take our budget into consideration or my emotions after the baby comes :-)
Will you attempt to breastfeed again? And do you have resources to support you if breastfeeding is your goal?
Yes, I am planning to! I know it can be completely different with each kid, so I've got my fingers crossed that it works out better for us this time. Last time I fought HARD to do it, and I plan to fight hard again. However, I know from personal experience that breastfeeding is a tremendous commitment and at times I wonder if I've got it in me (also, last time breastfeeding made me feel depressed and claustrophobic). I am hoping that I at least place less pressure on myself and the baby, and that I will have less guilt if it doesn't work out again. But yes, I'm definitely planning to try again.
Regarding resources, several of my family members and close friends have been successful with breastfeeding for over a year, many of whom have offered to help me, and I also have access to lactation consultants and a breastfeeding support group and a couple books on the subject, too. I feel lucky to have these (free!) things!
Do you have middle names picked out?
Yes! We've got two for each sex, depending on what goes better with the first name we pick, but I have definite favorites for each sex. They all have personal meaning to me - a couple are family names from my side. Eric asked me why all our kids' middle names get to come from my side of the family and I said, "Because their last name comes from your side of the family!" He agreed with me that it makes sense. :-)
Will Rooney and baby #2 share a room?
No, we don't have plans for them to share a room. I guess if it's a girl and when they get older they want to share a room, we would consider it. I never shared a room with my sister so I've never thought about it much before. We have space for them to each have their own room (although we won't have a guest room anymore, until our basement is finished). I think we value sleep A LOT in our house and I assume that sharing a room would not be great for getting kids to sleep well?