Monday, July 27, 2009

Going Back to Work

Every mother dreads the time when she has to go back to work and leave her newborn baby with someone else. No matter when you go back to work, it seems like you are never quite ready to leave your baby in someone else’s care.

When it is time to go back to work after the birth of your baby, there are many things to consider. Where will you pump, what will your schedule be, how are you going to get you and your baby ready every morning and make it to work on time?

When I went back to work at my last job after having my daughter, Elisabeth, I ended up with a horrible schedule: 9:30-6:30. This made evenings very complicated. I had to be very organized. My husband and I would spend Sundays making dinners for the week and freezing them. This made it easy to come home from work and heat up a good, healthy meal. I would also pack my lunch the night before so I had more time in the mornings to nurse and spend time with my baby.

The weeks seemed to fly by and all of a sudden my newborn baby was 3 ½ months old and had to go to “school.” We were just starting to get into a real routine and I was learning all of her cues. I felt like 3 months wasn’t enough time to bond with her before I had to go back to work.
I was working at a preschool at the time and she was able to go into their infant room. Even though I knew the people who would be watching her, I still had questions and concerns. “How would they know when she was hungry?” “Would she get enough attention with so many other babies around?” “Could they care for her the way I would?”

I talked with many new mothers who had these same concerns. Going back to work after 6, 8, 10 weeks or later is hard on any mother. You may experience guilt from leaving your baby with someone else. If it is possible, return to work on a reduced schedule or see if you can telecommute. If you can't cut back on work, ask your partner, family, or friends to help you get organized (like making meals ahead of time) so that you and your baby will have more time together when you are home.

Another tough part of going back to work is dealing with the lack of sleep. For tips on how to deal with sleep deprivation, see Jen G’s blog post (

Remember to take care of yourself. Treat yourself to a massage, a couple of hours with a friend or your significant other, or go for a walk without your baby for a short while. Little things like this can make you feel better about yourself.

Tips for returning to work: About a month before returning to work, talk to your employer to confirm starting dates and schedules and to discuss longer break schedules to pump/breastfeed. You will also need to find a private, sanitary place to pump and store your milk. Also, try scheduling your doctor appointments ahead of time so you can give your employer plenty of notice when you will need time off.

About a week before returning, talk to your employer about what your job duties will be once you return. This way you won’t be surprised on your first day.

Articles that I found helpful:

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