Whether you have 4 weeks or 4 months of maternity leave, the time will fly and you may be one teary eyed mama while packing lunch for that first day back at the office. While you might find yourself wishing you had that work-from-home job that your best friend does, there is many a mom who would love to get out of the house a few days a week and wear an outfit free of baby spit up. So if it’s back to work you go, try and embrace it! Your baby will be fine, and although you’ll miss your pumpkin like crazy, you’ll find that being back at work gives you a little breathing room that all moms need…. even the ones who won’t admit it! But the transition can be emotional, there’s no question: so what can you do to make it a little bit easier?
- Arrange to have your first day back be mid-week if possible. It will be a lot easier to cope if you know that the weekend is right around the corner.
- Take a relaxing bath the night before your first day and visualize the transition going well. Practice deep breathing and 10 minutes of meditation before bed to calm your mind and help you get centered.
- If you’re breastfeeding and pumping, make sure there will be a clean, private room with an outlet available at your workplace. By law, employers are required to provide one, and no, the bathroom doesn’t count.
- Pack your breastpump bag the night before. Make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need for a day of pumping: clean bottles, ice packs, breast pads, plastic bags, power supply, photo of baby.
- Remember to nourish throughout the day to keep your energy up. You will be tired during your first weeks back at work. Being up at night with the baby, breastfeeding, and recovering from childbirth all add up. You may not have the pep in your step that you’re used to while on the job. If you are breastfeeding, remember that your caloric intake is increased, so pack a few healthy snacks, like fruit, hummus, or cheese and crackers.
- Make sure communication is established and fluid with your child’s caregiver. Whether this is a nanny or daycare provider, you should feel comfortable being able to call and receive updates on your child as often as you like.
- Create a cooking plan. Unless you have a private chef, the cooking won’t get done magically. You need to eat, yes YOU, not just your baby. If you have a partner, try to work out a cooking duty schedule between the two of you. Perhaps you alternate nights, or your husband is a Jamie Oliver in training and cooks all the meals (wouldn’t we all love that). What works for a lot of families is to prepare a few meals in advance and freeze them. It can be time consuming, but try setting aside a Sunday morning for cooking in bulk~ you can make it a fun thing for the whole family!
- Go shopping. Picking out a new outfit for work can help make you more excited about going back.
- Connect with other moms. You’ll feel better if you keep in contact with friends and other moms in the workplace who’ve been where you are. You can exchange stories about breastmilk leaking through your shirt during meetings and have a good laugh. Have lunch with friends as much as you can, even if you’re just eating at your desks together.
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