Going back to work after maternity leave is not easy. It is not only emotional, draining and physically exhausting but there is so much more stress that goes along with it. Especially for a first time mom, how can you manage to get up, get yourself ready and get the baby ready for who will be watching them? On top of that your pump material, nursing pad, dinner, etc. This period of returning back to work is one of the most stressful, dreaded days as a new mother.
There are so many things to do that having everything done in advance is only going to help.
If you are going to be nursing a good quality breast pump is a definite must. Always consult with your health insurance because you should get a free breast pump for every baby you have. If you are on your third kid, know that it can be your third pump.
Prior to starting your maternity leave discuss with your employer that you need time to pump throughout the day. There are laws in place to protect you but this conversation is always a good one to have prior to leaving for maternity. I would also make sure you have a sanitary place to pump that is private.
Don’t forget the nursing pads. Especially when you are recently postpartum, leaking is bound to happen. I have tried multiple brands of the disposable ones and honestly they all work the same. Don’t want to use the disposable nursing pads? There are washable ones also.
Make sure you have snacks galore. I had one issue, I was always hungry. That meant anything that was sitting around I would pick at. Maybe that is why the baby weight was so hard to drop? I made sure I had protein bars, bananas, or anything else. Yogurt is a great option, although once I threw that up pregnant I have not been able to look back at it.
Before you go to your first day at work make dinners and freeze them. This saved a ton of work. I would have Steve take it out when he got home and pop it right in the oven. We had a fresh dinner and then leftovers for a good 2 days. When I didn’t do this we were eating scrambled eggs with ketchup.
Going back to work after having a baby so soon, most of the time you won’t fit into your clothes. If you do, teach me how. Be good to yourself and buy some clothes to make you feel comfortable throughout the day. I think this my biggest pitfall. I was hesitant to buy clothes since I assumed the weight would just fall off since obviously, that did not happen it took me a few months to convince myself to buy some clothes.
Make sure you secure childcare early. Finding a babysitter or daycare early is key. With Tyler, it took a good 2 months to really find a babysitter. The only daycare we found that had a spot I did not feel comfortable with so thankfully we found someone we trusted to watch him.
Learn to say no. I remember pre-children I would say yes to everyone and everything. Your animal needs this? Sure I’ll be there soon. After Tyler was born I quickly learned I can’t be everyone else’s everything and I need to say no. It was the greatest thing I did. It pulled the stress off me.
One last thing to always remember is your baby’s first only counts when they are with you! I remember missing Tyler’s first steps, the first time he crawled. Basically, what I thought was everything. I was adamant about being there for Jacob’s firsts. Then I realized all those other firsts only happened when I was with Tyler. That is the first that counts. The other side of that is the people who are watching them while they do it for the first time if you don’t want to know it is best for them not to tell you.
Remember this time is very stressful for you as you return to work, but with some preparation, you can make it a smooth transition.