Just when you’re starting to get used to the whole newborn and new mother phase of your life, like getting up at 3:00 AM for feeding or changing nappies along with handling some house chores, it’s time to get back to the corporate world. This is the moment when you start doubting yourself- will you be able to deal with the strict deadlines, the crazy work hours and let’s not forget, the anxiety and guilt of leaving your baby alone in the care of someone else. Don’t panic! With a bit of planning and preparation, getting back to work can be a smooth, comfortable and happy journey for both you and your baby.
Here are a few tips to help all new mothers get back to work without the guilt and doubt:
- The right person/place, at the right time: If your family can not support you by taking care of your child in your absence, you might need the services of a nanny or a crèche. Entrusting someone with the task of caring for your baby can be challenging. When choosing a day care provider, make sure that they are accredited and have a safe, clean environment. Do a good background check on their employees and make sure you ask for referrals from other parents. It is very important to do everything in your strength to make sure your baby will be safe. If you have full trust in the people who will be with your baby when you are not, you will be able to focus at work more easily.
- Managing breastfeeding goals and office: One of the main fears women have is that they may not be able to continue breastfeeding after returning to work. This is a legitimate concern, that is one reason many women either don’t get back to work or leave breastfeeding. Do not be shy about initiating the discussion with your employer, even to asking how they can support (like a breast-feeding/pumping room, a storage place for the expressed milk and why not? A free pump!) Try and prepare a few weeks before going back to work, so that you are familiar with the pump and the baby with taking the milk indirectly. Think in advance about the right time to introduce solids as well.
- Time Management is Key: Try to put forward some options yourself (like a parking slot to make your commuting less time consuming). Arrange the planning with your husband. Explore part-time or working from home options if you need a re-adaptation time.
- Separation Anxiety – Handling it on your own: Leaving your baby will be difficult in the initial stages. The teary eyes and the tiny hands reaching out to you will not make it easy, but after the first few times, it will start being ok. To ease the stress of not being around your baby, keep a photo on your desk. Always remember to stay away from the misconception that working outside the home will hamper your child’s development. There’s no scientific evidence that suggests that children are harmed when their mothers work outside the home. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that a child who is emotionally well adjusted, well loved, and well cared for will thrive regardless of whether his mother works outside the home.
- Guilty as charged: There will always be those moments, when you are suddenly hit with a rush of guilt for leaving your baby in the care of some stranger. Worry not, this is a very normal thing. Checking up on your baby with the care taker might give you mental peace but remember too much might push the buttons of both the care taker and your colleagues. A call every 3-4 hours will keep you relaxed and wont agitate your baby’s care taker.
- Rest up: Being a working mother is actually working two full time jobs. The only way to do your best at both is to get a good amount of rest. Make sure when you are home, you are sleeping when your baby is sleeping. Try to ensure that you have someone to help you with household chores including washing clothes, cleaning the house or even cooking for that matter.