Maternity: Preparing for your return to work
Most mothers feel that time has gone by too quickly when it comes to returning to work… In addition to the stress of separating from baby, there is the added stress of the day-to-day logistics of organizing your life.
As you may have guessed, being a mom AND a full-time employee requires some discipline, organization and creativity.
For a smooth transition, it’s a good idea to prepare in advance. Here are some tips…
Who will be babysitting?
This is of course the first thing to settle. For both your baby’s and your own well-being, it’s important to plan this well in advance.
Also, if you absolutely want your child to go to a daycare center, you have to do it very early. It is even recommended that you get on the waiting list before the baby is born.
Other child care options don’t require as much early planning, but you shouldn’t leave it to the last minute.
Childcare options for your child
You can consider subsidized family daycare, private daycare, a babysitter in your home, or, more traditionally, relying on the goodwill of grandma (or another relative)…
In all of these cases, you need to make sure that your baby will be perfectly safe, in good hands, in a healthy, stimulating and pleasant environment.
It will be much easier for you to “take the plunge” if you have complete confidence in the person who will be taking care of your little angel.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions, ask for references, and most importantly, trust your instincts!
How to prepare baby?
For baby too, the change will be drastic… Since his birth, he has been by your side all the time, every day.
Moreover, even if you find it difficult to leave your child for several hours a day, you know the reason for this and know that there is no other possible solution.
Your child doesn’t understand… He sees his life and his routine change completely overnight.
There’s no point in making yourself feel guilty about this, because your child will get used to his new environment after a while, but you can help him make this transition easier.
A sleep routine
First, a few weeks before the big day, you should consider gradually changing his sleep routine to be consistent with your work schedule.
Is your baby partying until 1am and waking up at 8 or 9am?
This may be a very pleasant schedule for you, but consider that in the future, you’ll have to BE at the office at 8 a.m. Try to get used to your new schedule little by little, it will be easier!
From breastfeeding to bottle feeding
If you are still breastfeeding your child, it is essential that you adapt the situation to your new life.
Some moms decide to wean their child and switch to bottle-feeding before returning to work.
This option is perfectly feasible, but you should know that it is better to plan ahead a few weeks in order to promote a gradual weaning that will not destabilize your baby.
It is also possible to prefer a partial weaning.
In this case, you will have to arrange to keep only three feedings per day, for example (when you wake up, when you come back from work and before putting your baby to bed).
Again, plan ahead to allow your baby to get used to the new routine.
Depending on his age, you can replace missed feedings with bottles of breast milk (which you will have pumped beforehand) or commercial milk, or with solid meals.
Getting him used to the new people
Finally, don’t forget to gradually get your baby used to the person who will be taking care of him or her by leaving him or her with you for short periods of time during the 2-3 weeks before you return to work.
This way, even if the whole situation is new to baby, he will still feel on “familiar” ground.
Consider different options
After a taste of motherhood, some moms can’t bring themselves to leave their little one in the hands of strangers and prefer to find another solution.
Depending on your professional situation and your contacts with your superiors, several options are possible, for example
Encourage a gradual return to the office, starting again on a part-time basis and increasing the number of hours as the weeks go by.
Ask to telecommute (part-time or full-time).
Adjust your schedule with your spouse so that one of you is always present with baby.
Reorient yourself by trying to become self-employed: it may take some time before you have an acceptable salary, but depending on your professional situation, your financial needs, your contacts and your field of work, it can become very interesting in the medium term… provided you are disciplined!
However, considering working from home and keeping your baby with you is an exhausting solution and may not be satisfactory for either you or your baby.
Staying home mom, at least for a few years… Of course, you have to think about it a lot and talk about it with your partner, but this solution might be right for you.
What about emotions?
It’s perfectly normal to go through a whole range of emotions, not always positive, when it’s time to go back to work.
Most moms say that the pain of separation is much more painful than the pain of childbirth…
Above all, don’t feel guilty, you have to work to provide for the child you love so much.
The first few weeks will be difficult, for sure, for both you and your baby, but after a while, you will both be used to your new routine and very comfortable.
Your child will discover new joys, new friends, and will begin to learn social skills.
As for you, you will (finally!) be able to start having conversations with your colleagues and friends that don’t revolve around baby’s little boo-boos… It’s important to become a “woman” again, think about it…