Deciding whether to stay at home or return to work is one of the hardest decisions for a new parent to make. If you and your partner decide that both of you will return to work after you take maternity (and, possibly, paternity) leave, here are some suggestions that can help ease the transition.
- Line up excellent childcare. Knowing that a competent, nurturing professional is caring for your child in your absence can give you peace of mind.
- Discuss your job duties and schedule with your boss before you return. If your workplace is flexible, it may be possible to work different hours than you did before the baby was born, or you may be able to work one or more days from home.
- At least one week before you return to work, begin the transition to childcare. Spend an hour with the caregiver, and gradually increase your time together over the course of the week. This will allow your baby to get used to the new caregiver, help you feel confident about the care your child is receiving and help both of you adjust to the new routine.
- When you return to work, try to return on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Having your first week be a short one makes things easier on you and on your baby.
- For your first couple of weeks, consider working part-time (perhaps three days a week) or working shorter days (perhaps leaving at 3pm instead of 5pm). Again, this will help your family make the adjustment.
- Continue to breastfeed. You and your baby will enjoy the closeness when you're together, and pumping at work will help you feel connected to your baby when you're apart.
- Talk to other working moms who've worked through this transition. They'll be full of advice and encouragement!
For more information, read our article on returning to work.