Going Back To Work After Baby:
How to Transition Smoothly
Date: February 16 2016
In my work as a careers counsellor I have helped countless women transition from having their baby (and a few years off work), to heading back to work, whether part time or full time. For mums, it can be a challenging time to get back to work, and it must be said: having a baby is hard work.
Caring for your baby, caring for your family and caring for yourself can really take it out of you, and you also change the way you think when your priorities shift as you become a parent. As such, when you head back to the working environment it can be a bit of a culture shock, so I’ve prepared a list of the ways that you can make the transition smoothly. I have outlined some tips on what kind of work you can do, how to schedule your life, how to manage breastfeeding and how to keep your sanity, to name just a few.
1. You’re not out of date, you just need to update!
It can often be the case that many mums will take a year or two off work and then think that their skills are in dire need of updating, or that they need to consider a new career that is flexible with their new family. In this case I often recommend things like counselling courses or caring as an option, as they are careers that can be worked part time and often around your family’s schedule. You can access a list of counselling courses online, and I always suggest doing plenty of reading about any potential upskilling course to make sure it works for you.
2. Are you planning on breastfeeding? If so you need to get pumping now!
You need to begin pumping a few weeks before your back to work starting date so that you can ensure that you have a nice supply of frozen milk built up for baby. This is important because you’ll have more time to build up your supply, considering potential road-blocks to your milk like poor supply or other stressors. Plus, once you start work you’ll also need to ensure that you have time to pump at work if that’s something you’re planning on doing. Your boss will need to provide you with a place to pump, privacy to do so, and the time to do so as well.
3. If baby has been breastfeeding you need to transition them to bottle prior to starting work
It’s a good idea to get your baby used to the bottle so that they have time to adjust. This means possibly trying different bottle nipples, milk temperatures and feeding positions. Every baby is different and every baby needs something different so make sure you know what works for your bubba!
4. Watch the sleep of your child once they’re in childcare
Many babies don’t sleep as well in childcare as they do at home, so make sure they’re not getting overtired and waking up at night! You can compensate for any missed sleep with daytime naps and altered bedtimes, and you need to ensure that the new schedule works for both of you.
5. Start introducing your new schedule before you actually begin work
This will help you to get your baby used to the new times that you are going to be keeping, and will ensure that it’s an easy time for both of you. You’re going to be introducing a new feeding and sleeping schedule so be sure to make it as pain-free as possible.
I hope that these tips about transitioning back to work make this an easy time for you and your baby, and remember that you’re going to be doing something potentially challenging, and that you need to be patient and kind to yourself. Stay strong, and you’ll get through it.