As your due date approaches, you will get more and more excited and anxious. You are about to embark on one of the most exciting and rewarding phases of your life. Parenthood is just around the corner, and it is going to be a wild ride. However, when you look at your maternity leave calendar, your excitement can rapidly turn to concern.
You will probably be absorbed by your baby for a short time before returning to work. You may feel strange to have one foot in two different worlds: the working world, where you have to continue to function as you did before your baby was born, and this intense new life with your baby.
Going back to work after your maternity leave is the last thing that comes to your mind. It can be tough to return to work following maternity, or parental break. It is quite normal to have a range of feelings, including sadness or fear about going to work, guilt over leaving your child, or relief at the prospect of returning to normality and less financial stress. Time restrictions, locating and paying for childcare, and being away from your child can be overwhelming at times. Securing childcare for your child can be difficult and settling your child into a new routine can take time.
You may be breastfeeding your baby and need to develop new feeding practices, such as extracting milk and acclimating your baby to a bottle, or you may decide to stop breastfeeding during the day at this time. In addition, many women’s former work wardrobes may need to be revisited, as some of these items were likely last worn up to two years ago.
Even though it may be emotional and challenging, this stage of life can provide you with the opportunity to re-evaluate your work and personal life goals. It may also provide an opportunity for your child to benefit from different social and educational settings.
“Working mothers encounter numerous challenges, but with a little planning, you can make a smooth transition back to work.”
Set yourself up for a successful return to work while you are still on your maternity leave.
You must have probably given an approximate estimate of when you would return before going on maternity leave. As the date approaches, check in with your boss to see if he or she is prepared. Make sure you are both on the same page about your return date so you can do whatever duties are required to make your first day back as seamless as possible.
Clarify your job responsibilities and schedule so you know what is expected of you when you return to work after your maternity leave ends. You may also inquire about working part-time, telecommuting, or having flexible hours.
Find a trustable childcare provider
It is important that you feel comfortable about the decision you make when it comes to finding someone to look after your child while you are at work. You won’t be able to concentrate at work if you are worried about your child’s well-being.
Look for a childcare provider that makes you feel confident that your child is safe, loved, and well-cared for. Spend some time researching, seeing facilities, interviewing nannies, and speaking with other parents. Make additional arrangements or consider local childcare providers and facilities. Look for a safe setting with qualified caregivers. Ask for recommendations from your baby’s doctor, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Check the references of caregivers and trust your instincts.
If possible, take a week to gradually transition before you return to full-time work. You can begin the transition while you are still on maternity leave. Drop your child off at their grandmother’s house for a half-day, go to daycare with them for a day or two, or have your nanny begin working a week or two before you return to work. It will be easier to make this transition if you are more prepared.
Make a feeding plan
Before you return to work, decide whether you want to breastfeed full-time, part-time, or use formula. When you return to work, you can continue to breastfeed. All you need is a little planning and organization.
Create a pumping strategy if you intend to continue breastfeeding. Now pumping at work is another full-time job that you will have to plan for and manage throughout the day. Before you head back to work, make sure that you have familiarized yourself with your pump and feel comfortable using it.
If you are pumping or breastfeeding at work, talk to your manager about setting up a routine and finding a suitable location. It should be a clean, comfortable, and private place. Your childcare provider can feed your baby the next day with your stored breast milk. Breastfeed on demand when you are with your baby.
Many mothers experience a decrease in milk production when they return to work, so if this happens to you, make sure you are drinking enough water. It is essential to drink enough water and eat enough to keep your milk production up when you are focused on work. If you are still having trouble, talk to a lactation expert. Wearing pump-friendly clothing is ideal, as it will help each session go more smoothly and quickly.
Remember, this stage of your life is only temporary. Pumping at work can be overwhelming and frustrating at times, particularly if it leads you to miss out on crucial work events. Take each day at a time.
Expect ups and downs when you return to work as you become capable of managing multiple demands.
Make a timetable
When you return to work, you will have additional tasks like getting ready for work, getting your child prepared for childcare or school, packing your child’s day bag, and dropping off and picking up your child. Make a schedule that works for you and your family. Think about how you can divide the work and organize your time so that you can spend more time together as a family.
Household chores, whether you live alone or with your partner, can be challenging to handle once you return to work. When negotiating tasks with your partner, consider the following:
-Discuss how you and your partner can share household chores. Determine which chores are important and which can be done less frequently together.
-Consider your personal preferences and divide work accordingly.
-Make a list of your responsibilities and prioritize them. It may not be possible to achieve everything as planned. Do the essential things first.
-If you have older children, involve them in simple household chores.
-Encourage your children to feel independent by allowing them to do as much as they can on their own, such as getting dressed, brushing their hair, or pouring cereal.
-If your child attends after-school activities, use that time to complete chores that take longer or are difficult while they are with you.
If you have older children, involve them in simple household chores.
Encourage your children to feel independent by allowing them to do as much as they can on their own, such as getting dressed, brushing their hair, or pouring cereal.
If your child attends after-school activities, use that time to complete chores that take longer or are difficult while they are with you.
When planning a routine, consider the following factors:
Taking care of your child
It may be challenging for children to transition from being at home with a parent to be in a childcare setting.
Here are some strategies for reducing stress:
-When you are at home, spend as much time as possible with your child.
-Pay attention to your child’s interests and listen to what he/she says when you are with him/her.
-Play and have fun together.
-Look for childcare near your workplace so you can spend more time with your child.
Taking care of yourself is important too
Having a baby brings physical, emotional, and social changes that may affect you when you return to work. It is normal to go through an adjustment phase. It is essential to be aware of how you feel and to take care of yourself if you are not feeling well.
Be kind to yourself
It is called a “transition” for a reason: getting used to it takes time! Yes, you know how to do your work, and may even believe you have mastered the required parenting skills, but you have never done both together at the same time. You may lose it completely on your first day back at work, or even six months later.
It is important to be kind to yourself and know that you are doing the best you can with what you have now. Enjoying your commute to work is okay because it is the only peaceful time you get or to rush home after a meeting to cuddle your baby. You are going to make it work, even if it may not be exactly how you envisioned it.
You may take care of yourself by doing the following:
Let go of your guilt
You can have emotional conflicts while returning to work post-maternity leave. It is important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect mother.
Working outside the home does not mean that you are a bad mother who does not care about your baby.