Originally posted on February 3, 2023 @ 10:00 am
Going back to work after a baby is an emotional and difficult decision for many mothers. I remember how difficult it was for me when I was going to resume back to work after my first daughter. I found it very difficult to leave her in someone else’s care but this is a decision we all have to take except you are a stay-at-home mom who has all the time.
In this article
Tips for going back to work after having a baby
The tips I shared in this post are what worked for me at that time and I hope it also helps you.
- Find a reliable day-care or nanny
Most workplaces do not have a crèche or daycare where their staff can keep their babies. This means you have to opt for a nanny or daycare where your child can get the best care. Some women prefer a nanny who will either live with them or come daily to take care of their baby while others prefer daycare.
Whichever one you decide make sure it is reliable and comfortable for your baby. I have a post that can guide you to choose the best day-care for your child; you can read it here.
- Understand the feeding pattern of your baby
Babies are different and they exhibit different behaviours. You must understand your baby’s feeding pattern. This will help you to plan your meals, I believe this tip is more important if you’re exclusively breastfeeding your baby.
When my daughter started crèche, she was about five months and she was only breastfed. When I dropped her off on the first day, her caregiver was surprised that I packed so much breast milk in her bag. I just laughed and told her my baby will finish the milk in no time; she didn’t believe me. When I came to pick up my daughter later in the day, she asked me to pack more for the next day. My baby finished the milk!
- Prepare yourself for this shift mentally
Leaving your baby is a task you have to prepare for mentally. Some women find it depressing to leave their babies to go to work. Explain to yourself why you need to make this decision.
- Weigh your options
Weigh your options and decide how important it is for you to go back to work. In Nigeria where I live, many organisations give six weeks of paid leave to women after delivery. This is sometimes mentally draining because most women are just acclimatising to the new responsibility. If you have options and other arrangements you can make with your employer; consider those options.
- Make time for yourself
Dear mom, please make time for yourself before you resume work. It helps to rejuvenate and refresh your mind. I know it is very difficult to get me time when you have a baby but you need to care for yourself. Some little thing like getting a new haircut or hairstyle goes a long way in boosting your self-confidence.
Create time for something that excites you and lightens your mood.
- Plan your meals
Planning your meals is very important especially if you have older kids. Do a grocery audit before you resume work and try to stock up on things you need for at least two weeks after you resume work. If you can, create a food timetable for those two weeks and try to stick to the plan.
It saves you a lot of stress and heartache.
- Discuss with your partner
If your partner lives with you, kindly discuss resumption with your partner. Discuss how they can help after your resume. You need all the help you can get to reduce the stress you’ll go through.
I remember my husband picks our daughters when he’s coming home which made things easier for me. I try to arrive home earlier, prepare dinner and get things ready for the next day.
- Decide how chores will be handled
I always advise new moms to learn how to overlook house chores especially if they don’t have help. Schedule how you will handle chores around the house. When do you mop the floor, wash the bathrooms, sweep the house thoroughly etc.
If you can afford to get someone to do these chores for you, please do. Allow your money work for you. Get gadgets that make things easy for you around the house.
- Ask for flexibility at work
If your company or organisation is flexible, make the most of the opportunity. Some organisations allow nursing mothers to close an hour earlier while some organisations allow you to work remotely. Know your organisation’s options and maximize every opportunity without abusing the opportunity.
- Prepare your baby and yourself for the routine
You must prepare yourself and the baby for the routine you’ll likely follow when you resume work. This includes; waking and sleeping hours. You can start training your body and the baby two weeks before you resume work; I assure you that it will make life easier for you and the baby.
- Know your emotions will not be the same
Dear mom, understand that your emotions will be a roller coaster; some days are high while on other days they will be low. Women sometimes become depressed because of the changes they have to endure after having their babies. It sometimes leads to postpartum depression.
- Don’t feel guilty
Guilt is another emotion many women feel when they leave their baby in someone else’s care. Don’t feel guilty; it’s a necessary life skill for your baby. They will have to be independent at some point in life.
- Set expectations and boundaries with colleagues
When you resume work, your colleagues will expect you to act and behave as you did before having a baby; let them know you can’t meet their expectations. You can be tired or forgetful; they should bear with you for a while.
Never allow anyone body shame you. It was one of the challenges I faced when I resumed work after having a baby. I went from size 10 to size 14. The comments from some of my colleagues were demoralising but I stood my ground. I made clear about boundaries; I never accepted negative comments about my body.
- Accept help/support
Moms tend to be superheroes that can do all things. Dear momma, accept help from other mothers, friends, neighbours etc. Don’t be a superhero all the time. I believe superheroes also need a sidekick.
- Adjust to new realities
You are now a mom, that’s your reality. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had children before, it hits differently every time.
In conclusion, I know it’s not easy to go back to work after having a baby but I believe you can do it. Know that I’m rooting for you momma.