How long would you take off if your parents died at the same time? Double that time. A baby is the biggest change you'll experience in your life. Two weeks minimum. If you can afford it, take at least a month off. Or work half days. Or something. Plus, Mom needs all the help she can get. Check whether your state allows you paid leave.
I would love to stay home with my wife and newborn for 2 weeks however my work only allows me 1 week paid vacation. So at this point I have 7 days to work with. I unfortunately cannot afford to be out of work unpaid. Half days may be a possibility in which case I will begin to look into. Thanks for the suggestions.
The first week home is not all about learning to become new parents. It's about getting your feet back under you. You may have been away in the hospital for a few days, and now laundry has to be done, grocery shopping, somebody has to get the mail, pay the bills, etc... Make sure that's taken care of, either by you in the evening while she's still at the hospital, or by friends/neighbors who volunteer to help.You're going to want to come home and rest and be comfortable, and you can't do that in a messy empty house.During this time your wife's primary job is taking care of baby, and herself. She's probably going to have an assortment of pains that only another woman can understand, if you get my drift. She'll probably want her mother, if they're close. I know mine did. You might well even feel like you're in the way. If that's the case, then you shouldn't be wasting your time off.I didn't take any real time off until a week or more after my wife was home, her parents went back to work, the chores were caught up, and we got more into the "Ok, now's when our life as parents begins" mode. I think I took a week off.Hope that helped. I've done it twice. :)
If seven days is what they give you, it's what you should take. Duane's right, family help is important. We didn't have it because we are long-distance. Grandma needs to wash dishes and laundry, clean the house, run to the grocery store, cook meals, etc. If not, then Dad has been promoted to Director of Everything. (It's a great title, but the pay is lowsy, and you work long hours with no support staff.)Consider using vacation time. If not right away, then a short time down the road. You won't be taking that tour of Hawaii for 4 or 5 years now anyhow. You'll have a good idea that first week what New Mom will need of you.If Friends are reading this, it's your job to bring over some dinners, cooked or ready to cook, at least once a week.
For what it's worth, I agree with aj. You should take as much time off as you can, but if 7 days is all you get then that's the deal.Both Duane and aj are correct in that the first few days/week are mostly about getting your house and environment in order. No matter how much you plan ahead it's still going to be an exhausting time in your life. My wife didn't get a good night's sleep until our 'lil K was about 3-1/2 months old.Depending on how your wife handles the birth physically (ours didn't go so easy), she might REALLY need A LOT of help. Be prepared to give her as much as you can. Family and friends will be really helpful too.Best of luck and congratulations!