For all the working mother’s who plan to join work after their maternity leaves are over, returning to work after Maternity leave can be a stressful decision.
When I knew I had to go back to work my mind was betraying me. One moment I wanted to go quit everything and stay with my baby because of
Separation anxiety ( Yes, even new moms face it)
Societal pressure to look after my baby and career becomes secondary.
The emotional mommy did not want to miss her child’s first.
On the other hand, I was excited to go back to work because
The time I spent at work would be my time as myself. As a mother, it is extremely important to have your time for yourself.
I wanted to set an example for my girl and make sure she was raised with the value of being independent. I know, you may think what will a 6 month old child know. When you are worried, your child is cranky. When you are in a happy mood, your baby has been a happy baby. have you ever observed that? The child is constantly observing you, your emotions and even your vibe.
I went ahead with the decision of working and not taking a break from my career because I have seen my mother as an example, read some 1000 articles, posts about working women who did not take a break after maternity and all this motivated me.
Being a modern working mom, my work requirements were different from my mother’s time, however being the first in my generation in my family, I had to join all the dots and make a plan for moving forward. However, if you are at this stage now, where your maternity leave is getting over and you have decided to go back to work, here is a list of steps for you to make your transition to your professional life after maternity leave smooth.
Plan Caregiving for your baby
Whether you are working from home( post-pandemic) or joining the office, speak to your spouse, and discuss if you would want to hire a nanny and supervise her during your work hours or if you need to look for daycare.
While for my elder one, we worked from home half-day, for my younger one we started the transition to daycare slowly in the 5th month after my daughter was born.
Create expressed breast milk bank
This is also a decision mother must make based on whether her child has been exclusively breastfed or formula-fed. If your baby has been exclusively breastfed, you can express milk and refrigerate it for your baby.
Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored:
At room temperature for up to 4 hours.
In the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
In the freezer for about 6 months is best; up to 12 months is acceptable.
Ask for help
1 thing I had learnt as a new mother was, not shying from asking for help. Do not burden yourself by expecting yourself to do everything.
Get help for keeping your house clean, for cooking, for folding the Landry.
These so-called small tasks are consuming your energy and time. You don’t want to give your evenings away in cooking time. at least in the initial stages.
When you are done with your professional work, all you want to do is spend time with your little one.
Ease into your working days
For most of the corporates, a full week of work is around 40 hours, which would mean if you started on a Monday, you are away from your baby in the first week itself. It may be a shocker for your child as well as for the new mommy in you. (this is true even when you are not a first-time mommy). What I would suggest is before your maternity leave gets over, start practising by leaving your baby with your spouse for 1-2 hours and get your baby accustomed to your absence.
Speak to your manager and start to work officially from a Wednesday. This way you are not away from your baby for long stretches at the beginning itself.
When you leave for your work, tell your baby that you are going to work, and you would be back. Do not hide and sneak out. This way you are creating an assurance system in your baby that Mumma will come back.
Prepare your work desk
On the first day at work after my maternity leave, I cried my eyes out, out of separation anxiety. When you go back to work, it might be that your baby did not even feel a thing and you are missing your baby more. So prepare yourself and your work desk so that you do not have trouble in returning to work Things you might want to keep at your work desk
Photo of your baby
Healthy snacks – you don’t want to gain extra weight due to emotional eating.
Sticky notes/ Post-it – these were especially handy for me for noting down something baby-related which you realize at work.
Create and define boundaries
Learn to create boundaries at work and follow timings. For the same, you may have to speak to your manager and figure out if it is possible to work from home some days/hours during the workday for the first few days.
My secret tip for the special bond with your little one
This worked for me like magic for both my girls. It works even now when they are schoolgoers. Spending undivided 15 mins with the baby after you return home.
If you’re nursing, the best thing you can do for your baby when you return after work is to keep her close to you and feed her to her heart content.
Even if you are not nursing, hold the baby in your arms and close to your body, it will give her security that you are not going anywhere.
I hope these tips work for you as much as they worked for me. Let me know your experience after you joined work? How did you manage?