The Baby Guide
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The Baby Guide

The Mom Guide: How to Prepare for Going Back to Work

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Going back to work is different for every parent. Some are dreading being away from their baby, or nervous about leaving them with another caregiver. Others are excited about the prospect of jumping back in and getting back to their job. However you are feeling, know that it’s valid, and okay, and it’s also fine to be feeling all of these emotions at the same time and feel overwhelmed (which was basically me).

Let’s review some of the tips and suggestions for the last week or two of leave that can make the transition a little smoother. They definitely helped me transition back to work!

  1. Talk to your co-parent/partner/spouse/support network. This is the person (or people) who you will need to rely heavily on. Remember that parenting takes a village! Talk to them prior to going back about which tasks are feeling overwhelming to you and see if they can pitch in. Worried about making it to work on time after a long break? See if someone else can do the AM daycare drop offs. Concerned about meals? See if family can bring by take-out. You’re not alone so don’t be a stranger!
  2. Speaking of meals, try to plan or prep these ahead of time for at least the first week or two. Casseroles that can be put into the oven, slow-cooker meals, frozen options. Think quick and easy with minimal cleanup. (If you’d like some options, let us know in the comments and we’ll share some of our favorites!)
  3. If at all possible, do a trial morning (or a few) at daycare or with your care provider. Practice getting up and out the door on time, and find out if there will be any hiccups with daycare. Maybe there is toy you should be packing that you are not. Maybe you thought they needed 4 bottles, but it’s five. Having a little time to work out any kinks before the stress of actually being at work is super helpful and acclimating your baby to daycare early is a huge stress-reliever once you’re back at work and not getting any phone calls that your baby is in distress.
  4. Go back to work, before you have to go back to work. Yes, you read that right. Go into work and speak with your boss about things like schedule, work load, pumping times, etc. Find out what space they’ve prepared for you to pump and think about what you need to pack in advance to make that space optimal. Get brought back up to speed on any projects you were working on. Show off the cute baby pictures in a lower stress situation. Even if you just head in for 1 to 2 hours, it will make the big morning feel much less intimidating.
  5. Above all, remember to set your boundaries and communicate. Remember, things have changed for you but they may not have for your co-workers. If you used to do drinks every Thursday night but now you don’t want to miss bath time, it’s ok to tell your friends. If taking on another project is something that used to excite you and now you dread, if you have the option to turn it down, then do so.

Keep in mind going back to work is a transition. It will take time to get used to for both you and your baby. Be open with friends and family about how they can best support you even if all you really need is someone to text you with some words of positivity. Only you know what you need, but it’s okay to ask for help!

About the Author:

Sydnie Gil is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Nutrition Science. Sydnie began her career in public health, where she became passionate about supporting pregnant and breastfeeding women and their kiddos. Sydnie recently became a Mom herself and now feels bad for years of telling her clients to “sleep when the baby sleeps” (yeah right!)

All the information a parent needs to raise a healthy, happy baby. New posts on Mondays and Wednesdays.

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