The other day, I walked in to the office and noticed a coworker who just went back to work after maternity leave. “Welcome back!” I told her. We talked baby talk (“I never knew breastfeeding could be so hard!” she revealed).
Later, as I was grabbing a cup of tea, I ran into her roaming the hallways. She was looking for the new room designated for pumping. Neither of us knew where this mystery room was.
I watched her walk around the office with her tote bag containing her pump and storage bottles. Then I remembered my transition back to work, and how I too made a mad scramble to find a room.
Going back to work after maternity leave
To transition back to work smoothly, I followed the tips below. Here’s how to cope with going back to work after maternity leave and the tricks to transition easier.
Schedule a meeting with your supervisor a week before returning
During this meeting, discuss your working status (are you returning full-time or part-time?). Make adjustments to your schedule if needed (will you come in and leave earlier?). And find out any changes at work while you were gone. I met with my boss at a nearby coffee shop. In that 45-minute meeting, we caught up with what’s new at work as well as established my new schedule.
Find good childcare
My husband and I didn’t find childcare until a mere two weeks before my maternity leave was due to finish. Having good childcare can ease anxiety or worry you may have about returning to work. Additionally, working mom guilt stems from a dissatisfaction with childcare.
On the same note, schedule a run through with the nanny if you have one. Pick a date close to your return to work and run through the same hours so that both nanny and baby can get used to each other. The nanny will also be better acquainted with your schedule as well as the baby’s. Show her how the baby likes to sleep, how to operate any gear you may have.
Give HR a call
Before going back to work after maternity leave, confirm with HR which room you can use to pump. Get the keys to the nursing room beforehand and determine who else will be using the room. That way, you can coordinate schedules.
Buy a double pump
Staying motivated to keep breastfeeding can be difficult. Nothing makes pumping more difficult than doubling your pumping time. Take it from someone who used a single pump for nine months: halve your pumping time and invest in a double pump.
If possible, return mid-week, on a Wednesday or Thursday for instance. The rest of week won’t loom like one interminable saga.
Pack the night before
As tired as you may be in the evenings, you’ll be even more tired and probably dumber in the morning. So lay out your outfit, pack your lunch, leave your purse by the door and everything that needs to leave with you. Do as much as you can in the evening.
Print a list of things to bring and hang it by your door. I’ve had to rush back home because I forgot yet another storage bag, my cell phone or lunch.
And bring a picture of your little one. I made sure to email myself a photo of my baby so that I could set it as my desktop photo. I also have a physical photo on my desk. When the day proves tough to handle, one quick look at his face usually sends me smiling.
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Going back to work after maternity leave can be a bittersweet moment. You’ll miss your baby, but be glad for the break. You have new responsibilities to fulfill, yet the old ones at home remain. By preparing in advance, you can make the transition back to work seamless and smooth.
Get more tips:
- First Day Back after Maternity Leave — Does It Get Better?
- How to Keep Up at Work During Pregnancy
- Surviving the First Trimester when You Have No Idea Where to Start
- 12 Types of Flexible Work Arrangements You Can Actually Do
- 9 Things to Do Before the Baby Is Born
What tips can you offer moms making the transition back to work after maternity leave?
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