Torgesen Family Times

{We are trying to enjoy and record the moments that make life special}
Related Posts with Thumbnails

11 tips for going back to work after having a baby

Disclaimer: I do not proclaim or profess to be any sort of expert on going back to work after having a baby in any way – but I do have personal experience with going back to work after having both my babies.  I’ve been thinking of ways I have done this and tried to make the transition easier on myself, as it is no easy task.  It takes work to go back to work!


Man – is going back to work hard!  Each day I wake up at the crack of dawn I feel like I step on a treadmill (going fast with no warm up!) and don’t get off until I fall back into bed each night.  Or I’m on one of those gerbil wheels going around and around.  I’m not joking when I say my days go FAST and I’m BUSY.  That being said, I have thought of a few ways that I have tried to help myself when returning to work after maternity leave.  I know other readers out there might be going through this in the future, so I thought I’d share and see if it could help anyone or get some other ideas (hint hint – make a comment!)


Without further ado…


1). Know why you are going back to work – really think about it.  I’m sure you never thought it would be this tough to go back to work after having a baby, huh?  You thought it would be like this: get pregnant, have baby, have 3 months maternity leave then go back to work – easy peasy, right?  Wrong.  It’s one of the hardest things to do – go back to work after having a baby.  It’s way tough, more tough than you ever imagined.  Suddenly you have this little bundle of joy that becomes a real (outside of the womb) person and bam - you fall head over heels in love with this new person and can’t fathom leaving him/her/them.  Hormones play a big role in this too, and they are powerful, don’t underestimate this.  So, this is why my first recommendation is to figure out why you’re going back.  Most of us need the paycheck, moola, money, dinero.  You might also need health care, your retirement funds to increase, paid vacation days/sick days and other benefits.  This is why we work, correct?  Well, take a look at your financial picture before you go back to work and see if there is wiggle room.  In my case, there was not.  We needed my paycheck, my healthcare – all of it.  I couldn’t go back part time (if they even offered it – which seems few and far between these days!).  Knowing why you are doing this (and knowing the numbers) makes going back to work a bit easier.  A friend gave me the perfect mantra about going back to work – and it has stuck with me ever since.  It’s OK to put on your work hat and make a living for your family.  This mantra has helped me so much over the years.  You go through such a big change with your first baby.  You are now a Mom – a new part of your identity.  There is nothing wrong with going to work and making a living for your family.  In fact, you’re quite lucky. 

2). Plan – I can’t stress this enough.  You will be BUSY.  Way busier than before.  So planning meals and lunches, who does what and when (pick ups/drop offs), simplifying your life and commitments as much as possible will make your new job as a WOHM (work outside the home mom) easier.  And that is going to be your sanity saver.  Since my life revolves (it seems!) around good food, and I can’t think straight if I don’t know what we’re going to eat, I like to plan my meals in advance and have them made already for the week.  If I’ve done my planning well – then I might have 5-10-20 minutes to prep things in the evening, a few nights a week, and serve dinner to my family.  For us, we try to have dinner be a special time where we’re all sitting down together.  Not an easy task, but a good goal.    There are many other things to plan, this is just one example. 

3). Get good care.  This is REALLY important and will allow you to (eventually) not think about your child every minute that you are gone from them.  Transition your child from you to your childcare provider over a period of a week or two, if possible (and phase back into work, if you can). Infant care is SO expensive, but get the best care you can afford.  You won’t regret it.  Plus, it’s only that expensive until they are one year old, then it drops quite a bit and keeps dropping down, especially after potty training.  Although nobody will take care of your baby like you take care of her/him, it will be good care.  You want them to form a bond with your caregiver, this is important and good for their development.  I remember thinking about how horrible it would be when Alex did something for the first time and I wasn’t there – how crushing that would be.  It really wasn’t that bad.  When he did things for the first time in front of me, they were the first time for me and it was just wonderful.  There are pros and cons with daycare – learn some pros and ask other Moms about their experiences.  Some of the pros that I’ve learned are: socialization, learning to share, learning to play with other kids, flexibility, learning from someone else other than you, etc. 

4). Know that other Moms go back to work and darn it – you can too! 

5). Realize that it gets easier with time.  The first month or two (or 3 … or 12?) back will be tough.  Expect ups and downs.  Expect days where you think you can’t do it or where you cry while driving to work.  Expect days where you are really tired and don’t know how you’ll stay awake at work.  But, it will get easier.  You and your baby and your entire family will get into a new rhythm.  Also, expect days further down the road where on Sunday afternoon, you’re actually looking forward to sending your kiddo off to daycare on Monday.  :) 

6). Surround yourself with other Moms who have gone back to work after having a baby recently, and also talk with Moms who did this a while ago.  Nothing is better than talking with other people who are going through the same thing at the same time.  It will also be good to get yourself some perspective from a few years out or more, too.   

7). Pumping tips.  Ahh – the pump.  Your new breast friend – ha ha.  Pumping milk at work is a lot of work, as well.  You bring your pump, pump parts, storage bottles, etc.   But, it is so good for you and your baby.  At least your baby is still drinking your milk when you’re gone to work during the day.   A few tips on making it a bit easier for you: refrigerate the pump parts during the day using a small refrigerator or using a cooler bag with ice packs.  You will probably pump 3 x a day for a while, and that’s a lot of pump parts to wash (in a public area?).  So, do you’re self a favor and just put them in your cooler.  They’ll be just fine and you’ll only have one set to wash.  That being said – have a whole extra set in your pump bag, because, at some time, you will forget a part and the pump doesn’t work without all it’s parts.  Get a “hands free bra” – this is so important.  You don’t want to be holding the pump parts all the time.  Get a big enough cooler bag to store your pump parts and pumped milk.  It’s an easy way to transport everything.  P.S. supplementing with formula is not the end of the world, just keep breastfeeding at home and weekends and keep pumping. 

8). Make the most of your time when you are home.  Sleep with your baby, use your carrier from the time you get home to the time you go to bed.  Do what ever it takes to get more time with them.  You can do most chores after they are asleep.  Make the most of weekends, too.  They are precious and they go by fast.  Don’t worry about whether or not your baby knows who you are – you are the most important person in their life – trust me – they know who you are.

9). Know there is no right or wrong answer, and pros and cons to every decision.  Decisions are not as black and white as they used to be before baby arrived.  Each family has to make this decision for themselves. 

10). You can change your mind.  If you go back to work and it’s just not working – then change it.  It’s not permanent!  If the care you thought would be good is not working for you – look for a new place.  There are so many options out there, not just with daycare options, but with everything.  Do you research and make the changes necessary for you to be happier with your situation. 

11).  Set expectations at work.  Set them early and often.  You might be willing to work late like you used to, but maybe not anymore since now you have to pick up your kiddo before daycare closes.  Let your boss know what your plans are and stick to it.  You might not make the next promotion round, but that’s OK.  You have a whole new perspective right now and it’s OK to be just a good employee, not one striving for the next promotion or raise.  Just do a good job, show up and work hard when you’re there.  But, then – go home and love your baby. 







Make peace with it – it’s ok to put on your work hat and make a living.  Struggling against it, instead of working along with it, costs you energy and this is something you need every ounce of right now.  It will be OK.  Going back to work and having someone else take care of your child will be OK.  Your child will be OK and you will be OK. 



Now – what do you think?  Any thing I’ve missed?


Please leave me a comment!




And a few shameless photos of my two babes!

Sara in Jumperoo-4



zoe said...

You are a wicked awesome human being! I wish I could add something, but I just want to give you tons of encouragement. If anyone can do this and be balanced and successful it's you!!