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Returning To Work After Maternity Leave: 6 Tips For New Moms

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Going back to work after maternity leave can be a big and stressful change. As time passes and the day you resume working again grows closer, you will experience many different emotions. Guilt, anxiety, excitement, indecision, and unease are just some of them.

You might feel anxious about what working again would be like as a new mother. You might feel guilty about leaving your child in someone else’s care. You may even worry that your child will develop a stronger bond with the care or experience separation anxiety when you leave them to go to work. You could also be excited about catching up with colleagues and peers.

It sure is a lot to take in but all of these big feelings are perfectly normal.

Returning to work involves a period of adjustment for everyone, but believe us things usually settle down. Make sure to always keep that in mind and try to stay calm. Worry won’t get you anywhere!

Working again is an individual decision dependent on many factors: Irrespective of the reason behind your decision, you should be prepared for a fresh start. Working as a new mother can bring to light issues such as:

  • Getting used to new family routines.
  • Finding a good child care option.
  • Balancing parenting and work.

In this article you will read 6 tips that might help you cope with your new chapter as a working mom.

Be gentle with yourself

You can be tired, frustrated, and full of self-doubt and that’s okay. Feeling all these emotions doesn’t mean that things will always stay this way.

Always remember that the first few days and weeks represent a period of transition. So it is too early to reach any conclusions.

During this phase, don’t neglect your emotions. Similar to the development and growth stages of your child, your negative emotions will soon subside. Be gentle with yourself and don’t give yourself a tough time.

ALSO READ: 13 Self Care Strategies For Parents

Plan a breastfeeding routine

Many women return to work while they are still breastfeeding. And according to experts, working is not an obstacle for breastfeeding.

To manage a healthy breastfeeding period, you should prepare accordingly.

First, monitor your breast milk supply and then try to set up a breast pumping routine before starting work. Keep in mind that your supply will go through some changes when you return to work.

These tips will support you in breastfeeding your baby when you go back to work.

  • You may notice a difference in your milk supply at the start because pumping is a big change from directly nursing. Your body will adjust to the new schedule over time.
  • Bring a picture of your baby with you when you pump. Looking at your newborn’s picture helps with milk letdown and will make you feel connected to your baby when you are away from each other.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Be patient.
  • Allow yourself time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It will take a few weeks to get used to the new routine.
  • You can talk to other working mothers to learn about how they cope with breastfeeding.
  • Ask your employer to support you by providing you with a quiet place at work to express breast milk and allowing you adequate time to pump. 

Share responsibilities

Everything in life becomes far easier when you share the load and responsibilities.

If you have a partner, task sharing is an important step to discuss before you start work. This will minimize chaos at home and knowing that you are supported by your partner will help you cope with hard emotions.

You might want to discuss what will happen when you go back to work. You can:

  • List the needs of the baby.
  • Decide on how you will share responsibilities.
  • Determine who will take time off if your baby gets sick.
  • Talk about how you will share domestic chores such as shopping, cooking and cleaning.

ALSO READ: How To Handle Housework with a Baby – 9 Tips

Seek support from family, friends and professionals

Leaning on your friends and family for support can help make the transition back to work much easier. They can provide you with useful advice and support when you need.

It also helps to connect with other mothers since you’ll relate to them more when it comes to their experience of returning to work after maternity leave.

Always keep in mind that whether it is your partner, family, friends, co-workers or health care providers, people want to help:

  • Having a baby can cause changes in mood. It is important to stay conscious of your needs and accept support from your environment. Be as healthy as possible so you can provide the best care to your new baby.
  • Talk to your provider if you think you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
  • If you are having trouble with your milk supply, contact a lactation specialist.
  • If you are anxious about leaving your baby with a caregiver, ask one of your close friends or any family member to spare some time and watch your baby while you are at work.  

Learn your rights at work

All states have guidelines that outline how employers should support new moms upon their return to work.

You should check your state’s laws for details. The following are some points that will support your back-to-work transition.

  • Employers should provide a space for moms to pump. Consider mentioning your plan to pump to your employer weeks to months in advance of your due date. This will allow your employer time to prepare a comfortable space for you.
  • Employers should provide break times for pumping. Pumping can take about 10 to 15 minutes once you get used to the routine. For some, it may take longer. Talk to your employer before your due date so you can agree on a schedule.
  • Touch base with your employer a few weeks before you return to ensure they are prepared for your time and space needs.

ALSO READ: How To Thrive As A Stay At Home Mom – 10 Simple Strategies

Set up new family routines

Going back to work means you should arrange new family routines to accommodate this new chapter. Start by talking to your partner about your responsibilities and roles.

  • Make changes before you return to work. For example, you could start your new child care routine a week or so before you go back to the office. This can help ease the transition.
  • Talk with family, friends, and other caregivers about your plans. Other people might have ideas for saving time or might be able to help you spot potential problems before they arise.
  • Ask your work colleagues how they made the transition back to work.
  • If possible, plan on working fewer days or shorter hours for the first couple of weeks.
  • Think about who might be able to help you in practical ways. For example, family or friends might agree to register their details with your child care service so they can pick up your child if you’re held back at work.

References: parents.com, todaysparent.com, babycenter.com, nct.org.uk, hbr.org, whattoexpect.com, raisingchildren.net.au, mayoclinichealthsystem.org,

 

 

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