I just gave birth to my second son. I have a two year old boy who is helpful and loves his new brother very much. He has shown no signs of jealousy. I am on a 6 week maternity leave. I am a teacher, and will miss the first five weeks of school. Our daycare provider is wonderful, and charges for only the days that our children attend.
My question to all of you moms is whether or not I should keep my older son home with me on maternity leave, or send him to daycare part time to bond with our new baby? What have you done, or suggest I do, or what would you do in this situation?
I feel guilty sending him to daycare, and I feel guilty keeping him home and missing out on bonding time with baby. Money is not really an issue, it's more about family for me. I welcome your advice.
Here is what I've decided based on a wide variety of perspectives:
One of you said it is a win-win situation, and I totally agree. My son truly enjoys playing with the other kids and I know that he will not feel like I am leaving him out.
I am still physically healing from birth, so I plan to send him four days this week, and then two days during the weeks to follow. This will give him a break to go play with other kids and keep him home the majority of the time. He needs consistency, and my leave is only 5 weeks now. I would hate to keep them both home with me the entire time and then send them back to daycare full time as I go back to work. This seems to be the best solution...and I am not neglecting my older child, I am actually looking out for his best interest. I want to clarify to some of you that I will NOT be sending him a message that my bond with my baby is more important that my bond with my older child. He knows that I love him just as much as I always have.
Thank you for all of your help!
I kept my first in daycare when my second was born(had to to save her space there), and it was great. It really gave me good bonding time with the baby and helped me catch up on sleep! I am going to do the same with my third due any day. I would highly recommend doing this.
With my second I kept taking my child to daycare. I did it for a few reasons. First, my daughter had my sole attention for 2 years, this was going to be only the time that the new baby was going to get it. Second, I felt it would be easier on my daughter, she was use to going to daycare. It was only going to make it harder to go back after having a break. She did not even realize I was home all day with the baby without her.
Congratulations! We were somewhat in the same boat and I ended up having my 3 year old go to daycare a few days a week. This seemed to work well for all of us! This gave my older son the chance to bond and get to know his brother, but also gave him an "out" so he could play with his friends and have fun without Mom saying "not now, the baby's sleeping" or "not now, the baby's eating."
The few days he went to daycare were nice for me too - I got to give my younger son undivided attention and catch up on some rest! :)
First of all, as a daycare provider and mother of three boys, I would like to say that your children will both turn out fine whatever you decide to do.
My suggestion as a daycare provider would be to send your oldest son to daycare at least once a week, just to keep him in the routine of daycare so that it's not so hard to go back when it is time.
As a mother, I would also like to suggest that maybe towards the end of your maternity leave, put your new son into daycare a couple of times, just to spend the day with your oldest son. Remember, that he's been your only one for two years, and just because he has a new younger brother, doesn't mean that he doesn't crave alone time with his mother still. My husband and I believe it so important to get those "dates" in with each child without any other siblings around. They need to know that they each hold a special place in our hearts and in our family.
Wow, some of these responses are awfully harsh! I am rapidly approaching the same situation. I am due in less than 4 weeks, but my daughter is 4 and will be starting 4K. She has been at the same daycare full time (until this last year when Grandma went part-time and offerred to take her one day a week) since she was 4 months old. Her 4K happens to be at her daycare, so she will be staying for the afternoon. Our situation is this--money isn't really an issue, except that I took out the max on our flex spend daycare (not knowing for sure when conception would occur), so if we don't send her at least part-time, we would actually lose money. Aside from this, my husband works out of the home, but it is NOT his own business so my leave is going to be awkward already--we have a ranch home and noise carries. I almost posted the same question, and after reading some resonses and listening to my body language in response to the responses, I have answered my own question. Our daughter will continue to stay at daycare probably 2 afternoons a week, and Grandma will still pick her up on "her" day, leaving 2 days for me to pick her up early for family time. I struggled with the pro's/con's of routine vs family vs my husband's work. I found myself getting really angry reading the responses from women who felt like you would be sending the older child the "wrong message" by not keeping him home with you. I know it's just their opinion (and I have learned the hard way to think twice about posing questions that will have such strong emotional opinions!). Listen to your "gut" and body language as you weigh your options. It sounds to me like you will find a way to continue family time, bond with baby, and still have one on one time with your older son. I did not read all of the responses you received (b/c like I said, I kept getting angry at the way some of them sounded like they were accusing you of neglecting your oldest and leaving him out). So I guess I don't have great insight yet b/c I haven't been there, but I hope I have offerred some positive reinforcement. Re-read the responses, listen to your body language, and go from there. AND remember that as a teacher, you most likely get home "early" enough in the afternoon/evening that you will still have time with the older child! (I hope I'm not assuming too much about teachers, but usually in my experience are done by 3:30 unless they have office hours, coach a team, or supervise a club???) Good Luck! IF you get a chance (I know, I'm nuts!) Let me know what you decide and how it goes! Good Luck and Congrats!
I hope that I was not the one who sounded too harsh. I have 5 children of my own, and 6 grand children. I owned and operated a small daycare/preschool for 11 years. I closed my daycare to accept an offer for a job training daycare providers and have done that for the last 11 years. As one of our states Early Childhood Trainers, I had the opportunity to attend train the trainer trainings all over the country. I am also trained as a Bright Start Parenting trainer. I am telling you not what I did with my own children, but what I have learned since that time about children's Social and Emotional development. While my own children turned out to be a source of pride to us, I have some strong regrets based on what I now know. There are many things that I wish I would have done different. I felt comfortable doing what was easiest for me because I didn't know that it was not necessarily the best for my children. I would give anything to have my children to raise over again. Without the education, we parent the way we were parented. And today with the resources available, we can learn to parent better.
It is every bit as important for you to reassure your 2 yo's place in the family and his relationship with you and the baby, as it is for you to bond with the baby. I highly recomend that you do not take the 2 yo to daycare while you and the baby are at home. The message you will be giving your 2 yo is that the baby and your relationship to it is more important than your relationship with him. That you are leaving him out of important family relationship building times.
Also your daycare provider will lose respect for you as a parent if you take your child/children to daycare when you are not working.
I would keep him home. My son was almost 3 when my daughter was born. I had no issues with him being home with me. It's not like I don't love my daughter less because he was there. You don't want him feeling like he is being sent away while this new person stays with HIS mommy. That could open a whole can of worms!
Maybe just send him one day a week, so he can stay in the loop, or send him to grandmas one day if you need a little break.
All I know is you need to spend AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE with him, because before too much longer, he will be starting school, and you won't have very much time at all with him.
I don't think you can ever compare the relationship you have with your first to the one you have with your second. You don't love them any less, it is just a different relationship. And now that my son is in kindergarten :( we are having our own time together! GOOD LUCK TO YOU!
I would keep your son home with you, as he is just a baby himself. I think it would be different if he were preschool age. Bonding with your new baby will happen no matter what. I think its important to share the experience with him, especially since you'll be going back to work soon. Once on somewhat of a schedule, you'll be able to balance individual quality time with each. I too struggled with "sharing" myself, and it is quite an adjustment. They'll both benefit from this little extra mommy time while you're home - they are only little once :). Good luck
Good morning, AW! (I re-read your request twice and it sounds like you're sending your newborn to daycare therefore your older son is missing out on bonding time.) You're wondering whether or not you should keep the 2-yr-old home with you on maternity leave. Speaking as a mother of 8, I say keep him home with you and rest. You don't say who actually drives him to daycare, so again, I'll assume it's you. Keeping him at home not only saves you money (which you'll need for the new baby later) but it also allows you to stay in and rest. Enjoy your time with the kids and don't be hard on yourself. Life's too short to feel guilty about our beautiful babies! Hope this helps. Have a wonderful day!!
I haven't looked at the other responses so I might be duplicating, but...I'd say send your older son to daycare. When I had my second child two months ago, I wanted to keep my older one in the same routine so his whole life wasn't going to be more disrupted than it already was. He loves going to daycare, and he'd probably be upset if he couldn't go. And as it turns out, the time he's in daycare is perfect for me to sleep! I'm bonding with the new one too, but wow...don't underestimate the need to catch up on sleep - it's definitely different (but still great, of course) with two! :)
I am a teacher too, and when my daughter was born, my son was two and I had this exact same dilema. I agree with the other posters, except, I wish I'd kept my son home the first week with us. He had a terrible time at daycare, cried because he missed his mommy. I wish I'd had him home (my husband was home too) so we could have bonded more as a family, helped him feel secure, rather than taking him to daycare right away.
After that, I took him three days a week and had him home two days, and that was a good balance for us.
Good luck! It takes about six months to get used to having two and to stop feeling that guilt :)
Keep your maternity leave for just you and baby. Your first son had this time with you and so should the 2nd. Plus, honestly, I think older siblings are better siblings when their entire day doesn't revolve around diapers, nursing, and naps.
I'd keep your son at home. Your not the only one that has to bond with your newborn - your son does too. When our second was born our older daughter never went to grandma's or anything like that. She deserved to be a part of it just as the newborn did. Really, if you have to work and be away from your older child in 6 weeks, wouldn't you rather consider yourself lucky that you get that extra time to spend time with him too? Good luck in your decision.
We had a similar situation when my second daughter was born and we had to pay for my older daughter's daycare whether she stayed home or went, so we didn't lose her spot. We did a compromise. She went shorter days, 3 days a week, so I had 3 days at home with my newborn and we had 2 all together.
It's also important to take care of yourself and make sure you're able to nap, shower, read, etc. when the baby naps in those first few weeks. My older daughter enjoyed her daycare and friends and was so proud to talk about her new sister she didn't seem to miss staying at home.
Don't you think sending him away will create more jealousy? He will be more demanding of you when he is home and more likely be more whinny and get into more trouble when he is home trying to get your attention. Don't you want him to learn that both him and the newborn are equally important to you? Don't you want him to learn how to be a good father someday; it all starts when they are young, you will be indirectly teaching him to be a nurturing, caring and compassionate human being. I think it is absurd to send your older children to daycare when you have another child enter the family! You CAN do it, you are a strong woman I'm sure and you can handle it just fine, you may not get everything done you wish to get done, but life is too short to not give both of your sons the attention they deserve!
Routines are great, but the time together as a family is so important and fleeting. Don't waste this opportunity to be together. Your son will have lots of time to be in school, day care etc for many years to come.
Looks like I agree with most of the others - send him to daycare. I did my daughter when are son was born. She loved continuing her routine - plus when she got home, since I had spent the day with our son, I carved out "mother, daughter time" where the baby didn't need me and she felt special.
Whatever you do will work out - for me I knew it was our last child so I wanted to enjoy the "baby moments" withour son as that time is so precious and goes by so fast.
If I were in the same situation I would keep things as normal as possible. Day care is a wonderful place for kids to learn about having siblings and this will give him a bit of bragging time(even if he is only 2). The time away lets you know your baby. He will always be the big brother the bond is already there, It is just getting to know him while he comes home. Something for him to look forward to doing.
Best of luck to you and your family.
If money isn't the issue, why don't you stay home with both kids until they are school age. That way they will not only bond with each other but with you also. Nothing can compare to a mother raising her children. There are significant advantages for the children, emotionally, mentally and physically.
After our little baby was born in June we still sent our then 16mo daughter to daycare. You need time to heal and taking care of a two-year-old would be torturous on your body. Not to mention you won't have the energy to play with him the way he needs to be played with. Don't feel guilty by sending him to daycare. Keeping him home would just deprive him of his normal routine and his daycare friends. It may actually make him resent the baby a little if his routine is disrupted. Keeping him in daycare is the best thing you can do for all of you. It gives you time to heal, it gives you time to bond with your baby, and it gives your little boy a chance to be in his regular environment and away from the baby for a while. I hope this helps!
Congratulations on your new babe!I have 3 children was in a slightly different situation than you. i worked part time (3 days each week) and was off for 12 weeks. My daycare provider also charged us whether we were there or not, and she is worth her weight in gold!
I understand your mixed feelings. You want to do what is right for both of your kids. You might want to consider sending your older son a few days each week and keeping him home a few. Right now you might not be tired, but you will be! And you need to take care of yourself so you CAN be there for both of your kids. Even more than you did with your first, take naps whenever you can. That will allow you to be rested and ready to play.
Your older son will also appreciate being kept in a schedule/structure that daycare provides. This will let the time that you are together be enjoyable. If you think 3-4 full days each week is too much, woulod you consider half days so you can get a good nap?
The fact that you are asking this question tells me you will do the right thing for you. You are a good mommy! Believe in yourself!
As a daycare provider myself, what I recommend to new moms is to bring their older child at least part time. That gives him/her the consistancy they need, keeps them familiar with their friends and provider, gives you time to rest and heal and bond with the baby. It is a win-win situation. I recommend either to bring the child in the morning and pick him/her up after lunch, so they nap at home with you and are home with you in the afternoon, or to bring them all day, but a bit shorter hours and not every day. Congrats to you and good luck!
I sent my older child to daycare while I stayed home with our new baby. I felt guilty about it because it seems like most moms would have kept both kids at home, but the baby was a terrible sleeper, and for the first six months, I was a zombie and was barely coping. It worked out best for me to be able to focus on the baby and getting him on a good sleep schedule, and my older child was very happy going to school and playing with his friends at his wonderful Montessori daycare center.
Both children have turned out to be lovely, affectionate, self-confident, independent, and kind people.
So if your gut tells you to have some more time with just the baby, I think it's okay to do it.
Hello AW -
I just went thru a similar situation. In june of this year I had my second son, already having a 4-yr-old. I chose to keep him home the first two weeks and then I began taking the 4-year-old back to daycare. Not only because I knew he missed his friends & the structure of daycare but I wanted a chance for some closer bonding with my newborn that I couldn't do as well with my older son wanting to always share the spotlight. It seems to have worked out alright. My older son only wants to share the attention if his friends or other non-family are around and gives me the time to breastfeed when I need. Additional info about me is that I am a single mom - so I was on eggshells about how my older son would handle sharing my attention. As I said, so far it seems to have worked out well. I try to make sure I give him lots of attention when the baby is asleep.
Hope this helps!
Kudos to you for helping your older sons transition to big brotherhood. As a teacher in a child care center, my suggestion would be to keep him connected by sending him 1 or 2 days per week. He will still have lots of bonding time and will be able to play with his friends as well.
When I had my second son I took my first son to daycare for part of the day. He would go for lunch and nap it would give him some time to play with the other kids and also time for me to get a couple of things done. I think if you take him part time it is a win win for both of you.
Hope it helps.
When our daughter was born, I did still send my son to daycare part-time. I would have loved to have saved the money and kept him home, but I felt it was good for him to stay in a routine and it was good for me and the baby (for rest and bonding time). It was really a good thing. I am currently preg with our third and I do plan to still send my daughter who is almost two, still part-time as I just feel it will be good for all involved, between keeping her in routine and getting to be around other kids as well as allowing for a little extra nap with a new baby if I need to and that bonding time as well. Good luck in all you do, I agree I had that guilt that I should "keep them home with me" but then i just decided it was good for basic routine and them being around other kids. I still had a lot of with them because it was just 2-3 days a week for 4-6 hours. Hope that helps!!
Hi there! Congrats on your new addition! I was in the same situation and decided that I should bring my oldest child to daycare 1x a week. I figure that it would be her time to be with her friends and allow her not to get really bored while I was caring for her baby brother. It worked because she was happy and always braggin about her new baby! Don't feel guilty because your son still needs a little independance. He will be able to bond with his brother all the other days they're togehter. Just remember to spend one on one time with your oldest whenever possible. I wish you the best of luck hun!
Don't let other moms sway you either way. Do for yourself what you can do. Remember that 6 weeks isn't a long time to recover and get some much needed sleep w/ a 2 yr old running around. However, at 2, I assume he's still on 2 naps? Personally, I would split the time somewhat, but that's just me. I am expecting twins in Feb w/ a nearly 4 yr old...and I know I'm gonna need my sleep!!!
This is probably going to be a touchy topic, but I will tell you that I did not send my firstborn anywhere when our second was born and I do not feel that I missed out on a single aspect of bonding. I guess it's my opinion that the FAMILY should bond. I might be concerned that after the maternity leave- if your son goes to daycare- that he misses his opportunity to bond too and then you might have a whole other set of issues. Whatever you decide, is the right decision for you. A mother's intuition is a very powerful thing. Good luck and congratulations on your new little bundle of joy!
I am a daycare provider. I had a family who sent their oldest, around the same age, part time at first. She was so lonely for mom because she knew mom was at home with the baby that they chose to keep both children home during leave. It was so smart! The two children bonded beautifully. Now they are the best of buddies!
Congratulations on your new arrival! Our daughter was 2 1/2 when our son was born. We planned to have her stay home with me during my maternity leave, but quickly changed our minds and sent her part time. Since her life changed so quickly at home, so it was nice for her to be in an environment that was "normal" for her. She enjoyed being with her friends and her teachers were actually a huge help during the transition, talking to her about her new brother and getting her excited about being a big sister, etc. We were so happy with our decision -- it made it easier on her (and us) when she was home.
I agree with the first response. Your daycare provider would probably appreciate it too. Maybe you could do something special with your two year old on the days he is home -- go to the park, have a little playdate, take fun walks, make his favorite food (snack). The time will go quickly, enjoy them both together and apart -- don't feel guilty.
Congrats on your new baby. Two boys are so much fun!
I was in the same situation a 3 years ago with my two sons. I did send my oldest to daycare while I was on maternity leave. That way he could contine on the schedule HE was use to. My newborn wasn't the best sleeper, so I was tired too....I felt my 2 year old would have more fun seeing his friends, doing activities at daycare, and playing outside - rather than being at home during the day with me. I felt guilty at first, but soon realized my oldest son had me to himself for his first 12 weeks of life, and my second son should have that same quality bonding as well. I would take my oldest son in late and pick him up early, which worked for all of us.
Another reason I went this route was because I knew it would be hard to drop my newborn off at daycare that first day (even thought I love my daycare : ). Knowing that my oldest was use to going and had kept his routine, I knew he'd be fine with going...and even more excited about having his brother there with him.
I'm sure whatever you come up with for you & your family will be the right decision. I hope your boys become as close as mine have. Enjoy your time off!
Don't feel guily about sending him to daycare part time i think that is a great idea. How long has he been going to daycare?? Does he enjoy going to daycare?? He probably has friends there that he enjoys playing with also. When I was on maternity leave I sent my twin girls to daycare 2 wks before I went back to work. We adopted them when they were almost 2 yrs old and I wanted them to adjust to daycare before I went back to work. They adjusted well and enjoy going to daycare. Needless to say they did cry at first but that only lasted for the first 2 weeks and now they can't wait to get into the door. So if your son's daycare is anything like the one that my girls are enrolled in, then he probably will miss the teachers and the other children if you take him out now. So I think that him going part time is going to work out just fine for you, him and the new baby. Good Luck with whatever you decide and congratulations on the new baby.
My youngest is 4 mo now and my oldest just turned 4 and when I was home with my baby(Lucas)I had my oldest son (Aidan) stay home for 1 week out of the maturnity leave. I wanted to keep him on his reg. schedule and to have some bonding time with Lucas. I would keep your 2 year old home maybe a lil bit of the time but it will be good for him to stay doing what he has always done.
I just went thru the same thing. I continued sending my 3 yr old son to daycare 3 days per week, even though I was home with the baby. I felt it was important for him to have a little bit of "normal" in the hap-hazard days that is life with a new baby. He was able to have a normal routine day and go outside and play without me saying "Oh, we can't do this or that right now, the baby needs..." all the time. It also allowed me to have some bonding time with the baby and get a few things done when the baby was sleeping.
Does he like daycare? My older son loves going to daycare; is ready to chase me out of the house so he can go back--so he would be sad not to go. Especially if your older will be in daycare with the baby in 6 weeks, they'll get plenty of time together. I guess, if it was me, I'd send him part time--get the best of both worlds. Also, (I'm a teacher), you're going to be tired, probably, going back to work--6 weeks isn't a ton of time, with a newborn! I'd send him to daycare enough that he works some wiggles out, has some fun with friends, but also is at home with me enough to feel loved and included. Also--the really young baby days were the easiest, sibling-wise, for us. Now that the "baby" is almost 1, he's a lot meaner to his brother--so maybe use this time to build up a friendship? If you can, make sure you get some time with older brother that's just one-on-one. I'm amazed at how much that helps things for us! Ultimately though--obviously--do what works for you and inspires the least amount of guilt!
My situation is a bit different where I reduced my oldest daughter's hours at daycare and ulled her out when I had my c-section. I had her home for about 6 weeks before putting her in the new daycare 1/2 days about one day a week and we increased it gradually until they were both in daycare FT. I considered it a good time for the siblings to bond and for me to involve the oldest in helping out. Even though my bonding time was not 100% like with my first I still bonded with my second. If you need the alone time then I'd put your oldest in daycare for part of the time. Either way it'll work out. I think Moms need alone time with the baby and I enjoyed the time I had with baby and me when I did have my oldest in daycare for those 1/2 days. It also gave my oldest time off from the choas.
Well I see nothing wrong with seding your son to daycare for part of the day so that you and your new son can bond. Plus your older son can make frined at daycare interact with kids his own age. just make sure you and your husband make time when he comes home to spend time with him and let him spend time with his little brother too. That way no one feels left out. But the big one is make time for your self too.
I was in a similar situation - my son was 2 when my daughter was born. I thought we'd send him to daycare 1-2 days a week, but he ended up being home with me. (previously he was going to his grandparents 1 day during the week so he still went there.) Things could be crazy, but we went to the zoo, played at parks, had playdates, etc. Was I exhausted - absolutely, but in hindsight, I'm so GLAD we kept him home!
It was great having him home, too and we also really had a chance to bond - I think it helped us all figure out our routine and was nice not to HAVE to be somewhere at a certain time every morning if my daughter was sleeping/needed to eat, etc.
Also, my son LOVED being home with his baby sister and helping. When he went back to daycare after leave, he adjusted beautifully - I think he was more confident and independent because we all had family time together. Daycare was always good about letting him go and visit his baby sister, too to help ease the transition back.
BEST to you - everything will work out perfect w/whatever you decide - a new little one is an adjustment for everyone - ENJOY - it goes by too fast! :)
I think you could compromise and send him some of the time. If he is used to daycare, he might miss the activity and the kids. I had my daughter in June of 06 when my son was 2 1/2. It was really hard, because we didn't have daycare, I had had a c-section, and he was super energetic. I ended up begging my parents to take him two days a week and scheduling a group playdate with my friends to stay sane. The kids were able to bond just fine, and my son got to have some "big kid" time. That way he didn't feel like everything was about his sister.
I am a mom of 4 children ages 22,19, 17 and 15. Oh to be able to go back to the days when they were all little and at home all the time. I would keep your little guy at home til you have to go back to work. Yes it is alot of work to get used to having 2 to care for 24/7 but someday when you think back to the memories I promise you won't be sorry you didn't send him off before you had to.
IFY I have homeschooled all 4 of my children and the relationship I have with them together and seperately is priceless. My baby is 15 and I DON'T look forward to an empty nest.
Congrats on your new baby!! Enjoy everyday you can spend with both of them, it will fly!
Hi A W,
I am so glad I decided to send my 14 mo old to daycare so I could bond with my newborn. Remember that you need to rest alot now too and that it is easier to do with just you and your newborn at home. My kids are now 25 and 26 and I can still remember how nice it was to bond during those first few weeks. Take Care, A.
Hi A W,
We had the same situation. My older daughter went to daycare 2 days/week. We wanted to keep her on her schedule and she really liked going so we let her go to daycare on those days. It was nice to have so time to bond with my twins without her fighting for attention not to mention I was able to take naps on those days when I put he girls down. If you send your son 5 days maybe while on maternity leave he goes parttime as not to mess up his routine too much. Good luck, congrats on the new baby and enjoy your time.
I'm about to have baby #3 and will be sending my older children to daycare while I'm on leave. It worked great when we brought home baby #2 because my older daughter (who was 16 months at the time) was able to keep her regular routine and I felt like I was able to have that special time to really devote to my newborn because I loved that time with my first born. This has worked well for my family in the past and also allows for flexibility when you want to have both the boys home with you without having to do it every day. We have an in-home daycare and so the last week of my leave, I also took a day to send the baby so our provider had a chance to get to know him and I kept my older child at home for some quality time before I went back to work. Best of luck to you and your growing family!
I would definitly keep your 2 yr old home with you at least part of the time. I would also send him to daycare for at least a few hours a few days a week. That gives you time with him and the baby and tim ewith the baby alone. Plus it will give you a little break, which at some point you may want.
i would do whatever you feel like doing on a certain day. if one day you got a little less sleep ... send him to day care so that you can get more rest. i wouldnt worry about it, take it day by day, and either way, you will do whats best for all of you anyway, so dont feel too guilty! you could make it an every other day at day care, or just once in a while. just take it day by day and depending on how you feel and all that. ok?! :D dont worry! you and your kids will be fine!
I know you've received a lot of responses already, however, I thought I'd put in my 2 cents :) I am due at the end of October, and my daughter will be 2 when this baby is born. I feel the baby will be enough interruption to her life and I don't need to (or shouldn't) take away her usual routine. She only goes to daycare part-time to begin with, so I plan on continuing with our same daycare schedule even while I'm on maternity leave. She'll have pleanty of time to bond with the new baby, I won't interrupt her usual routine, and I get some "down time" with the new baby :)
If your son is usually at daycare full-time, it may not hurt to have a day or two at home with you while on maternity leave. However, I would try not to interrupt his usual schedule too much as life is already changing so much for him right now. If he gets too used to staying home with you, he may have an even harder time returning to daycare when you go back to work. He may feel at that time that the baby is taking you away even though it's actually work that is taking you away.
Toddlers need consistancy, so no matter what you decide, make sure you try to keep it consistant. Congrats on the new baby!
The nice thing for you is since money is not an issue, you can basically have the best of both worlds. Since your daycare only charges you for the days your son would be there, just picks a day or two a week to send him, and on those days you can bond with your new baby boy.
Congratulations! It looks like you have already received great advice.
My daughter had just turned 2 when my son was born. We decided to take her everyday (except 2 weeks that the babysitter couldn't watch her) Normally she is there 8-5 M-F but during that time I would take her about 10:30ish and pick her up after nap at about 3:00ish. That way her schedule wasn't completely thrown off and she could play with her friends and I could consentrate on spending time with my newborn. Having a 2 year old is exhausting by itself but have a newborn and a 2 year old all day long is beyond exhausting. :-)
Two of the weeks I was on maternity leave my daycare provider couldn't watch my daughter during those 2 weeks I got so run down that I ended up with a major cold and an ear infection. Your body will definitely tell you if you are trying to do too much. :-)
Good luck with your decision!
I would say keep your older sons routine the same. Send him to day care as usual. You will have your day time to get to know your new baby and get him into a routine before you go back to work...and then you'll have your evenings to bond and reconnect as a family.
Once you go back to work, it won't be as difficult for you or your two boys, it will just be routine!
The time goes FAST, enjoy!