Heading back to work can be nerve-wrecking for any mom after childbirth. On top of work matters to return to, adjusting to mom-life at the office, there’s also the question of trusting others with your baby and how you will be feeling away from lil bubba.
For a lot of new moms, a chunk of planning goes into getting ready for baby’s arrival. You plan the nursery, do as much baby shopping needed, filter through which hand-me-downs make the cut, find the best confinement lady that works for you then leaving out what happens post-maternity leave. Once this takes the back-burner, new moms will end up feeling stressed and anxious as they think about returning to work.
I was fortunate to be able to be a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) and only started my hustle when I felt confident enough with my daughter’s independence from me. But that’s not always the case for most moms out there. Unfortunately, some of us have to start thinking about leaving our new bundle of joy before they are even born.
Therefore, to make the process less “sucky”, begin your checklist with this affirmation:
That’s right, mamas, don’t feel guilty. Providing for your family is reason alone to know that leaving home is worth it. And even if you don’t feel as guilty as some moms do, that’s okay too. There are moms who secretly look forward to returning to work because it’s a means to “escape”. It’s regaining a sense of normalcy and really, some ladies just flourish a lot more when they’re in their work element. Which, there’s nothing wrong with that either as they get to come home feeling empowered and happy.
With that said, let’s begin the checklist.
Before Baby Arrives
1. Communicate with Your Boss
Keeping your boss well informed regarding your maternity leave is paramount to ensuring that you have a smooth process leaving work behind. Start talking to your boss, the HR department, or your supervisor about the details of your maternity leave around the 12-week mark. This gives them sufficient time to sort out matters during your absence. Do this so that you don’t worry too much about what goes on at work while you’re mothering.
Here are some things you can consider discussing:
- How you will return to work (full force or a few days a week to start)
- Any changes in schedule (are they able to accommodate for daycare/nursery pick-ups and drop-offs)
- Emergency leaves
- Pumping at the workplace
2. Create a Plan and Kickstart it
Once you’ve discussed with your superiors, make a plan and kickstart it. Begin with evaluating how your day-to-day tasks carry out throughout the week and create a document that outlines it along with your responsibilities. This is also the time to appoint and delegate who best among your colleagues to fill your role while you’re away.
If breastfeeding is in the plan, schedule pumping sessions about 30 minutes a day. No harm in including this in your shared office calendar so that you notify your colleagues of your time away from the desk. This is tip often gets overlooked but trust me, you’ll he glad you scheduled it in ahead of time, even if you may not need it in the end.
3. Scout for the Best Pumping Accessories
Don’t underestimate the power of a good pumping bra or pump machine to help you through your breastfeeding journey – at home and at the office. Investing in a double breast pump is beneficial as it allows you to multitask, saving you time and giving you immediate relief on both boobs.
Read on more here on how the Boss Mama Real-Support Bra can save you throughout your motherhood business in this article - 4 Reasons Why You Need Hands-Free Pumping Bras (Especially At Work)
4. Sort Out Childcare
This is fundamental in ensuring you have some peace of mind once you return to work. If you are leaving your baby in the care of family or relatives, with a nanny or at a daycare, these are issues that you need to sort out way in advance as two crucial factors take helm – trust and money.
Trust does not happen overnight. It is something to be develop overtime. Especially for new grandparents too. It may take some time for those who you trust with your child to process the responsibility of caring for your child while you are away. You would also have to talk them through your principles and guidelines on how to raise your baby and get them onboard to respecting it too.
If financial issues are not a matter to you, there is still the question of trusting a certain nanny or daycare with your baby. Then there is also the enrolment issue. Most daycares require an early registration where the sooner you apply, the better your chances are on the waiting list. Hence why, some moms begin applying as early as the first trimester (or earlier) as although it may seem a bit ridiculous, it also means you have less stress as baby’s due date comes around.
5. Don't Forget Self-Care
Heads up, there is no rest for a working mom just like a SAHM. We go out, we work. We come home, we work because that’s where the true big boss is. Tiny and demanding. Which is what stay-at-home moms have to deal with around the clock. There is no stopping for us moms.
Therefore, be creative in finding some me-time for yourself once you return to work. Discuss this with your partner and your baby’s caretaker in advance so that they are aware that you want to prioritize some time to yourself. As you should babe, because this allows your to keep the stress at bay during postpartum.
If you’re too scared to deal with the mom guilt post-maternity leave, then perhaps slot in a quick mani-pedi during lunch breaks or move your usual me-time routine to a time that is better suited for when baby sleeps. Prepping yourself mentally helps load as this will help you manage stress much better.
After Baby Arrives
1. Practice Bottle Feeding
A lot of moms are scared to introduce the bottle so early after childbirth especially if they are breastfeeding. Its been said that it will cause nipple confusion but guess what? Most often it doesn’t. During your maternity leave, practice this with baby and try to get those around you to practice too. The practice will come in handy for others as you never know what may happen down the line while you’re at work.
Do this early so that your baby will love the bottle and you can overcome any weaning issues before your maternity leave ends.
2. Familiarize Yourself with Pumping and Formula Feeding
If you are adamant in feeding your child with your breastmilk, then it is important you familiarize yourself with your pump machine and begin to keep stock. If you wish to formula feed, this is also the best time for you to explore which formula milk is suitable for your baby and stock on bottles so that you don’t waste time washing bottles before work.
Guide your baby’s caretaker with the proper guideline on how to prepare, store and stash your expressed milk or formula milk.
3. Simplify Your Life
This has been my motto. Trust me, once you find the knack behind this trick, you’ll find yourself more a lot calmer. Freeze meals, get groceries delivered, buy a Thermomix – find any way to minimize your errands so that you can have more time to relax! Nobody wants to come home to more stress after work, so if you have a mother-in-law who is willing to cook for you, take that offer. As a mom, a new skill to learn is that whenever help is extended, grab it and appreciate it.
Bottomline, don’t feel bad for putting you first. Believe me, your sanity is priority too for you to become the best mom you can be for your child. And wifey too.
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