Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Going Back to Work after Baby? Here’s How to Make Life a Little Easier on You and Baby

Adjusting to life with a newborn is hard enough, but when the days of your maternity leave are coming to an end, here are some tips on how to make life a little easier when it’s time to head back into the office.

• Set up your childcare as far in advance as possible so you can begin to adjust to this new situation.

• A few days before your first day back in the office, if your childcare is not in your home, do a trial-run of leaving your house to the childcare location at the same time you will leave in the mornings for work. This will give you a better idea of how long you need to allot for travel time. Once you figure out travel time, factor in the time it will take you to get your baby in and out of the car, and also leave enough time to give instructions to the daycare teacher or nanny. Always give yourself a few extra minutes in the morning, too, in case there is a spit-up or if you need to do an emergency diaper change.

• If your childcare is away from your home, pack your baby’s bag the night before. Also make your bottles ahead of time. This will save you so much time in the morning. If you have a nanny come to your house, set up the bottles, clothes, diapers and anything else the nanny will need for the next day the night before. This will alleviate stress in the a.m. while you get ready for work.

• To make your mornings go more smoothly, lay out your outfit for work the night before as well. After you have a baby, you may not be back in your regular clothes right away, so finding suitable outfits for work can be stressful. Do this the night before to avoid wardrobe meltdowns!

• If at all possible, try not to have the childcare travel arrangements solely your responsibility. Sometimes work or personal things come up unexpectedly, and you may not be able to always be the one who picks up your baby from childcare.

• If you are nursing your baby, set up a pumping location with your boss and the HR department before you return to work. Pack your pumping necessities the night before, too.

• Take care of yourself and get plenty of sleep when you can. Working all day and then taking care of your baby at night leaves little room for “mama” to take care of herself. If you have a spouse or partner, divide the responsibilities at home so it doesn’t all rest on you. And remember to cut yourself some slack. The laundry can wait another day- get your rest while you can!

• Make time for your friends with babies even when you go back to work. Nothing can substitute your “mama friends” as they provide emotional support and understand what you are going through!

Good luck heading back to the office!

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