Returning to Work
July 31, 2018
Returning to work after the birth of a child is one of the most difficult transitions new parents must make. In addition to the emotional impact—you’ll miss that sweet smile so much!—there are numerous practical issues to work through as well such as changes to daily routines and arranging for child care. Breastfeeding mothers also need to ensure that the breastfeeding journey is able to continue.
Here are some things to consider as you prepare to transition back to work:
- Adjust family routines: As families prepare for the transition, adjustments to routines needs to be made. Here are some examples of important questions that will help begin the conversation: Who will dress the baby for the day? Who will handle the morning feeding? If you are a nursing mother, how will your routine need to be adjusted for early morning breastfeeding and/or pumping? Who will transport the baby to the child care provider? How long will it take to commute from home to care provider to work? It might be helpful that once these and other questions are addressed that you do a “practice run” before your return date so that you can identify any kinks in the process. And don’t forget, anything you can do the night before (lay out clothes, pack lunches and diaper bags, prepare bottles, etc.) will make your morning run much smoother!
- Choose a care provider: Finding a child care provider you can trust to nurture your little one is of critical importance. Become familiar with quality indicators and questions to ask when interviewing a potential care provider. If you are a breastfeeding mother, make sure that your provider is familiar and comfortable with handling breastmilk and caring for a breastfed infant. Child Care Aware of America provides guidance for providers in supporting families with a breastfed infant that you can discuss with your provider.
- Make a plan with your employer: If you anticipate that your schedule will need to change due to child care considerations, discuss the changes with your employer prior to returning to work. Breastfeeding mothers will need to plan for where and when they will pump their milk during the work day. Be prepared to advocate for your needs by educating yourself about protections under the law for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace and educating your employer on the benefits of breastfeeding.
This article was written for the August 2018 edition of Parent Source.