You’ve prepared for leaving work to take your maternity leave. However, have you prepared for the transition period back to work? Your maternity leave will pass more quickly than you realize and it is important to prepare ahead of time for your transition back into work. Having a baby is a life changing experience, and if there is anything that you can do to make your life easier, you should take that option. This article will address steps on how you can relieve some of the stress of going back to work after your maternity leave ends.
Preparing to Return to Work
Making plans to return to work after maternity leave involves a two-part process. You need to complete certain planning steps while you are on maternity leave, and some steps will take place when you transition back to work. Those steps are discussed below and will provide basic tips on how to make your transition as stress free as possible.
1. Make Plans for Child Care
One of the most important steps you will take during this transition back to work is to make plans for reliable child care for your new baby. Leaving your baby to go back to work will be made somewhat easier by knowing you have secured a dependable child care option. You may have opted for a trusted friend or family member to provide child care. If that is not an option, enroll your child in local daycare facilities that offer a secure environment that cultivates a positive atmosphere through care from qualified individuals. If you are unsure about where to look for a qualified daycare center, consult friends or family members who have children in such facilities. Seek the advice of your baby’s pediatrician. Always remember to actively check the references of the facility and the caregivers before registering your baby.
2. Communicate with Your Boss
Keep the lines of communication open with your boss or manager. Complications may have arisen during your maternity leave that could have changed your return to work date. It is important to let your boss know about any changes or issues. During your communication with your boss, make sure that you clarify the current work situation. For example, ask if your job duties have changed or been altered. In order to relieve your stress level, you need to make certain that you completely understand the type of workplace environment—especially with regard to job tasks—that you are stepping back into. Depending on your employment situation, your employer may be more flexible and offer you the opportunity to work from home a few days a week or have flexible hours. Additionally, be definite in setting the return to work date with your boss.
3. Continue Your Breast-Feeding Routine
With regard to mothers who are breast-feeding, it is important to continue with your routine of breast pumping. If you are committed to continue breast-feeding, then you need to speak to your boss or manager regarding securing a private area where you can breast pump. There are a variety of economical and quiet electric breast pumps available that are easily transported in a tote bag case that you can use. According to the Mayo Clinic, they suggest that new mothers adjust their nursing schedule approximately two weeks before returning back to work. Basically, you’d be pumping once each day and then nursing both before and after you return home from work. BabyCenter.com recommends that breast milk can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Thawed breast milk can be kept for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. The CDC advises that there are certain variables regarding storing breast milk in the freezer. Breast milk stored in a freezer with a single door to the freezer and refrigerator will stay fresh for two weeks. When the milk is stored in a freezer with a separate door from the refrigerator, it can last from 3 – 6 months. Milk stored in a freezer chest can stay fresh from 6 – 12 months. Some tips to remember are listed below.
- Bring containers for the expressed milk as well as an insulated bag and ice packs to store it in while at work.
- Bring breast pads to compensate for any leakages during the work day.
- You can consider additional pumping on the weekends to increase your milk supply.
- You can feed your baby in shorter and more frequent sessions before and after work.
4. Stay Organized with a To Do List
Alleviate your stress by creating a daily to do list, so that you won’t easily forget what you need to get done during the day and when you return home from work. Work with your spouse or partner in regard to completing tasks that may be too overwhelming while you are getting back into the swing of things both at work and at home with your baby. WunderList, RememberTheMilk and ToDoIst are three online to do lists that you can utilize for maximum organization during your transition period.
5. Connect with Your Baby’s Caregiver
It is vital that you prepare how you will stay connected with your baby’s caregiver. If this individual is a friend or family member, it can become an opportunity to decompress from the stresses of the work day when you pick your baby up and chat with this person. You will need to ask this person how your baby’s day went with regard to feedings and diaper changes and any other factors of his or her day. Leaving your baby for the first time after maternity leave and returning to work will be difficult, but if you find a way to stay connected during the day that will help alleviate some of the stress. Remember not to abuse your boss’ leniency with too many texts or phone calls to check in on your baby.
6. Secure Your Support System
There will be times that your baby may be sick and you cannot bring him or her to the caregiver or daycare facility. You need to have a back-up plan in place where you will be able to stay home for the day or have another caregiver to watch your child. Remember to keep the communication lines open with everyone in your support system. That includes continually speaking with your boss or manager if any issues arise. Additionally, try to find some time in the day, maybe during your lunch hour, or at night when you’re home to relax. Taking time for yourself will be an invaluable resource toward relieving your stress level.
The transition of returning back to work after maternity leave will have its challenges. However, if you follow the basic steps as outlined in this article, you will increase your chances of making the transition flow more smoothly.
Have you recently returned to work after maternity? How did you find the transition? Your thoughts and comments below please...