Getting Ready For The Workplace
Most new mothers dread the day they have to go back to work. After all, the challenges they face: separation anxiety, childcare arrangements, and managing a household at the same time represents a daunting prospect. But with a lot of planning, going back to work will be smooth sailing. Here's how:
During maternity leave you may feel conflicted about your upcoming return to the workforce. On the one hand, you're yearning to get some adult interaction and you're looking forward to the challenges of work. On the other hand, you feel guilty about that. Tell yourself that what is good for you is good for the baby and for your family. Wipe out that guilt. You're NOT a bad mother.
Research and arrange childcare as soon as possible. Perhaps you can even start interviewing prospective candidates or visiting childcare centers in advance of your birth. Ask for recommendations from friends, your doctor, coworkers and neighbors. Let your gut instincts be your guide.
You'll also need to have a backup plan for childcare in the event that your sitter takes sick, has a day off, or quits. If your baby attends a childcare center you'll need to have someone on call to care for him in the event that he feels unwell and must stay at home. Perhaps you have a good friend or a family member that is willing to pinch-hit at times, or perhaps you can speak to your boss and see if it might be possible for you to have an emergency day off, here and there.
Have a talk with your boss and make sure you cover it all: your anticipated job duties and your schedule after your return to work. Perhaps your boss will be willing to discuss having you work part-time, give you more flexible hours, or allow you to telecommute.
Ask your boss about providing you with a clean and private room where you can pump your breasts if you're planning to breastfeed. Rent or buy an electric breast pump that can pump both breasts at the same time. Two weeks prior to your return to work, switch your breastfeeding schedule so that you are pumping 2-3 times during daytime hours and nursing just before and just after you would return from work. Try having someone feed your baby bottles of your breast milk to teach him how to adapt.
Make sure you have the equipment you'll need to continue to breastfeed after you return to the workforce. You'll need an insulated bag, ice packs, containers for expressed milk, and the aforementioned breast pump. It's a good idea to keep a supply of breast pads and maybe a spare blouse or two, in preparation for leaking breasts.