Transitioning Back to Work After Baby
It’s one of the most conflicting times in motherhood… the return to work. On one hand, you’re leaving your little one for longer than you probably ever have. And on the other hand, you get to return to your career; that insurmountable student loan debt wasn’t for naught!
It’s simultaneously terrifying, exciting, devastating, and a relief. Trust us, it will be a welcome change of pace to get dressed up, put on lipstick, and use that brain. Many women have done it before you, and you can do it too. Here’s your gentle reminder that we can do hard things! For goodness sakes, we create and birth humans from our bodies – we can do anything.
There are lots of ways to prepare yourself both physically and emotionally for this huge change:
Have trustworthy childcare lined up in advance. The biggest peace of mind comes in knowing your baby is in good hands. Whether it’s a family member, a daycare, a nanny… what matters most is that your baby is safe and loved. Start early (during your pregnancy), do your research, get plenty of word-of-mouth recommendations, and don’t settle until you’re completely comfortable with baby’s care situation.
Instill useful systems. Proper organization and a plan will make everything easier. If baby’s leaving your home, make sure your diaper bag is fully stocked with a couple changes of clothes and an item of your clothing that smells like you. If baby’s staying home, create a handout to keep on the fridge with important numbers and a schedule of baby’s typical day.
As for feeding, if you’re breastfeeding, have the gear to do it on the go; it’s worth it to splurge on the accessories that will make it easier. Do discuss breastfeeding policies with HR at your company so that the first week can be seamless. If they aren’t accommodating or supportive, make sure you know your rights! If you’re formula-feeding, start the day with clean bottles and consider a Baby Brezza or pre-mixed formula to expedite prep. Baby’s caregiver should be up to date on breastmilk and/or formula handling and storage guidelines.
Catch up on your ZZZZZs. We know more than anyone that this is easier said than done. We have clients contact us all the time that are so sleep-deprived they can barely function. Sleep is SO important for your mental health & wellness, and your work productivity; returning to work as a zombie isn’t doing anyone any favors. If your baby is still waking at night as you’re transitioning to work, trade on and off with your partner and have them give a nighttime bottle-feeding. You’re a team – there’s no medal for being a martyr! Or even better, hire a postpartum doula to take over nighttime feedings, or a sleep coach to quickly and efficiently get everyone sleeping through the night again.
Be patient. Parenthood is a never-ending test of patience: patience with your children, your significant other, and most of all, yourself. Take it one day at a time. If there are things that don’t seem to be working, don’t get discouraged – change them! Veteran parents with a dozen kids are still learning how to navigate parenthood every single day; it’s not just new parents who struggle. You can be a wonderfully loving, present working parent. You can provide for your family while your baby is safe, happy, and loved. Your sweet baby will benefit from a village of loving caregivers. You’ve got this!