June 15, 2022 4 min read
Having a baby is a blissful experience. It also feels like a full-time job, now that the little one depends on you completely for every need.
As your maternity leave starts coming to an end, and it’s time to get back to work, it is natural to start feeling anxious. After all, the maternity break meant that you were with your baby practically 24/7. The thought of going to work and leaving the baby in someone else’s care can feel overwhelming.
Don’t worry, mummy. The feelings you are going through right now are very natural. All mothers go through this when it’s time to join back at work.
Read on to know how you can prepare yourself (and your baby) when you start working again after a maternity break.
Dealing with the emotions you feel when it's time to go back to work
Many mothers feel guilty about leaving the baby in someone else’s care. But know that ‘mummy guilt’ is very real and not just working mums but even stay-at-home mums have to deal with mummy guilt at some point.
Talk to people you trust or consult healthcare professionals. Remind yourself that as your baby grows, she will appreciate a strong mum like you who took the time to focus on her career.
It’s also natural to feel anxious for the baby’s safety. You might feel worried about whether the baby would be safe while you are gone. The best way to deal with this anxiety is to start planning in advance. Let the baby spend some time with the alternate caregivers. Gradually, increase the time. This will help the baby and the caregiver to bond and will also put you at ease.
You can also schedule regular check-ins on the baby. When you are at work, you can call periodically to check on the baby or have someone trusted (such as your husband or a family member) check in regularly. Just remember not to overdo this. Calling every 15 minutes will drain you out completely. It is best to speak to the caregiver and decide on a schedule.
Finding Reliable Alternate Childcare
When it comes to finding reliable alternatives for childcare, it’s never too early. You can start planning from a variety of options such as childcare, at-home nanny, taking turns with your husband, a close family member, etc. The earlier you decide, the more time you will have to get used to the idea and feel less anxious about it.
Once you have decided who the caregiver(s) would be, try to involve them as early as you can. If it is a husband, family member, or a nanny, you can get them involved right from day one. With childcare, you might have to wait till the baby is a little older.
Make sure that the caregiver(s) understands the baby’s needs and knows the baby’s feeding and sleep schedule. It can help to note these things in a diary so the caregiver(s) has something to refer to when in doubt.Source: ECDA
Continuing breastmilk for the baby when you restart working
If you choose to breastfeed the baby and want to continue giving your baby the benefits of breastmilk, there are several ways you can continue doing this after you return to work.
If your nature of work allows you breaks long enough to visit the baby and breastfeed, that is great. If not, you can choose to pump and store the breastmilk. While at work, when it is the time the baby usually breastfeeds, you can find a private place to pump breastmilk. When you are back home, you can get the baby to latch and feed as usual. This will help you maintain the breastmilk supply.
The first step before planning to go back to work is to believe in yourself and trust the decision you have made. Go back to work with confidence and know that this does not make you any less of a mother. In fact, it only goes to prove that you are a strong mother.
While managing the baby and work at the same time can get stressful, remember to take breaks regularly. Take some time off for self-care and prioritise your health and wellness. Get help for the chores in the house such as cooking, cleaning, getting groceries, etc. to prevent getting overwhelmed.
Know that as the baby grows, it gets easier for other caregivers to look after them. Try not to worry too much, and stay happy. Remember that a happy mummy makes a happy baby!
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