There isn’t much more terrifying for new moms than returning to work after the baby is born. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get nearly as much maternity leave as we’d like. We asked moms who have already been there and done that for advice on going back to work after your first baby.
Take it slow and drink lots of caffeine (if not nursing)
“Go back part-time if you can and gradually increase hours to full time. Just accept that you will be exhausted for the first year after the baby is born. Compensate with caffeine if not nursing.” Andrea Judisch, Florida mother of 1
Pack yourself an extra set of clothes
“Remember no mother has ‘it’ all altogether. What works for someone else may not work for you and your child. Stand up for yourself and your right to pump. Start slowly if you can and build your way back up to regular hours. Have a friend to talk to about your feelings. Be honest about how you feel with your parenting partner. Try to have a back up set of clothes handy in case of any kind of leakage.” Carrie Cousino, Florida mother of 2
Ask for and accept help.
“Remember that millions of amazing people had working moms. Buy yourself some nice work outfits (if your budget allows) because your body has probably changed a little. Ask for and accept help where you can – being a mom is a tremendous job in itself and adding outside work can be overwhelming. Weigh out your priorities. The house might not be spotless, but getting sleep is imperative. Ask others for suggestions on childcare and decide what will work best for your family. Plan out emergency contact information and clear instructions on how you want various situations handled. Breathe.”
Heidi Newton, New Hampshire mother of 4
Erase the guilt
“Try not to feel a sense of guilt. That was a biggie for me when I went back.” Shirley Prescott, Florida mother of 3
Pictures and prayers
“Pictures and prayers are what get me through. It completely stinks to go back to work. Have a plan for feeding and pumping if nursing. Talk to your supervisor ahead. Also ask your caregiver to be overly communicative for the first few months you will want all the details.” Lauren Castaldo, Florida mother of 2
Know the laws
“Most insurance, as well as the WIC program, provide pumps. Know the laws and how to convince your employer if they are not eager to provide the space needed. Some babies are fine with mama returning at six weeks. Others need mama for six months. Many mamas don’t have the choice and must return before baby is ready. This is traumatic and wrong. Accept that, grieve it, and know you are still an amazing mom.” Carmen Miranda, Kentucky mother of 4
Do you have any tips to add for new moms returning to work after baby? Let us know in the comment section below.