Family Health

4 Tips for Returning to Work after Maternity Leave

Having just returned back to work after maternity leave, I know the mix of emotions that come with having to leave your baby. During your time away from the workplace, you most likely spent all day and a lot of the night focusing most of your attention on your new little one. 

Because it can be such an emotional and difficult transition, here are some tips to help get you through:

1. Practice Your Routine

Figure out what time you will need to wake up in the morning and plan your routine. The week or so before returning to work, consider getting your baby used to that new routine as well. Start waking the baby at the same time as your new work schedule allows. Do a dry run of your morning routine to help you and baby prepare for that first day back to work. You may find that it takes longer to feed than you thought, or that you need an extra five minutes in the morning to get packed to leave the house. 

2. Figure Out Feeds

If you are breastfeeding, I recommend starting to work on building a breast milk stash about two to four weeks before returning to work. You can add one pump session a day, usually best in the morning, to start building that supply. Also, make sure you have a plan at work for pumping. Pumping at work can seem like a full time job in itself, so knowing what to expect when you return to the workplace can help ease that transition. 

Nursing moms also need to get baby used to taking the bottle while you are gone. If the baby refuses the bottle from you, have someone else offer the bottle. Keep offering it until baby will take it. 

3. Simplify Your Schedule

If you thought you were low on time right after your baby was born, wait until you have to add a full workday to your schedule! I prepare as much as I can the night before work so I have more time in the morning to snuggle with my baby. I lay out my clothes for the morning, make sure his diaper bag is stocked, and pack my lunch. I really look forward to that little extra bonding time (and extra smiles) I get with my baby in the morning. 

4. Rest When You Can

Depending on how long your maternity leave is, there is a good chance your baby won’t be sleeping through the night when you go back to work. That’s why it’s so important to sleep when you can. This may mean going to bed when your baby goes to bed, or it may mean saying “no” to certain obligations that may interfere with getting rest. It’s also important to make time for yourself. And lastly, remember that your baby’s sleep WILL get better. The best treatment is time!

If you are having trouble readjusting to work after baby, talk with your baby’s pediatrician or your primary care provider for more tips on making the transition easier for you and your new little arrival.


About the Author

Pediatrician Dr. Emily Bendlin has always had a passion for working with kids and parents.

Not one to steer clear of difficult cases, she wakes up every morning ready to take on new challenges that await her at Methodist Physicians Clinic.

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