Our Top Eight Tips for Working Moms
Welcoming your first baby into your life is an exciting yet stressful time, whether you’re the biological or adopted mother. There are a lot of things to enjoy and a lot of things to get used to, so for most new moms, the weeks of maternity fly by.
It’s crucial for your baby’s health and well-being, as well as your own, that you properly prepare for going back to work. Leaving your baby in someone else’s care while you re-enter the professional world is emotionally difficult. By planning ahead, you can minimize stress and make the transition as smooth as possible.
Before you return to work
Since you’ll have a number of arrangements to make, you’re best advised to start preparing for your return to work as soon as possible. Keep the following tips in mind.
1. Find trustworthy childcare. Unless your partner will be staying at home to look after your baby, you’ll need to find a reputable caregiver. Ask friends, colleagues, or your doctor to recommend a good childcare centre. Make sure it’s close to either your home or your place of work in order to keep your commute to a minimum.
2. Discuss easing back into work with your supervisor. Instead of returning at full speed, arrange for a week or so of reduced hours before taking on your full workload. This will give you time to adjust to combining working life with your responsibilities as a new parent.
3. Ask about telecommuting. Working from home one or two days a week gives you more time with your baby while keeping your professional life going—as well as safeguarding your paid working hours.
4. If you’re breastfeeding, make arrangements to continue. You’ll need access to a private and hygienic space for breast pumping, so talk to your employer about the possibilities. The Mayo Clinic article “Maternity leave: Tips for returning to work” advises adjusting your nursing schedule fourteen days before returning to work so you’re nursing your baby before and after your work hours, plus pumping one or more times a day. It’s also advisable to prepare your baby for the change by asking somebody else to give him or her a bottle now and then.
Back at work
Once you’re back at work, it’s not unusual to feel upset and emotional—not to mention spread thin. The following tips can help.
1. Establish a morning routine. Your previous shower-dress-makeup routine just became more complicated, since you now also have to feed and bathe your baby, not to mention bring him or her to the caregiver. Make a list of what you have to do to get to work on time and stick to it. Give yourself plenty of time so you can establish your new routine without too much stress.
2. Check in. You’re going to miss your baby, so discuss with the caregiver when and how you’ll check in. For example, your caregiver can send you photos and text messages during the day, or you can check in with video chat during your breaks.
3. Find peer support. Seek out other working new moms and meet with them a few times a month to share experiences and commiserate. Good places to meet them are at your child’s daycare centre; at baby-oriented activities like infant swimming; or even via Meetup groups.
4. Take care of number one. You need to decompress and rejuvenate in order to perform both as a mother and a professional. Regularly schedule some time for yourself, whether it’s to go to the gym, read a book or take a long, relaxing bath.
For new moms, returning to work can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. With the tips above in mind, you can prepare your baby and yourself properly and establish a fulfilling work-life balance as a new parent.