The flexibility to have an extra person at home, even for a few days, offers significant postpartum benefits, new research shows.

The weeks after a mother gives birth are a universally vulnerable period. She is recovering physically and mentally, while dealing with sleep deprivation, round-the-clock caregiving and possibly breast-feeding. Yet after a day or a few days in the hospital, she often doesn't see a doctor for six weeks.

A new study suggests a way to make a significant difference in mothers' postpartum health: Give the other parent paid leave, and the flexibility to use it on days the mother