Going back to work after having a baby can be daunting. Whether you’re counting down the days (in a good way) or dreading it like doomsday, you’re sure to be running the gamut on emotions, and feeling pressure to get organized.
10 Tips From Moms Who Learned To Make It Work:
1. Try to remain optimistic.
If you are dreading leaving your newborn and think you both will be emotionally scarred forever, know this: You won’t be. You may even find that being around adults again is rewarding. And your little one will be safe and happy in the capable arms of a trusted caregiver.
2. On that note, hire someone you trust.
Do your due diligence. This is not the time for a rush job. Interview several people, check their backgrounds, ask for references and above all: Trust your gut. You’ll never feel secure if you hire the woman with 20 years experience if something about her didn’t sit well with you. Your instincts are a great barometer.
Make sure your nanny or babysitter knows your cell phone numbers, your home address, the baby’s schedule and where the emergency equipment is (first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc.). Talk to your nanny about the circumstances under which you should be contacted at work; if you get pulled out of a meeting because the nanny called, your first reaction will be panic, when she just had a simple question about picking up groceries. Be sure to do a few trial runs -- leave the babysitter with your child for shorter periods of time while you are still on maternity leave to help everyone get oriented.
4. Baby proof.
Your newborn is just a bundle now, but before you know it, he or she will be crawling—and heading straight for that three-prong outlet. Go to the baby gear store and get what you need—outlet covers, cabinet locks, toilet locks, soft corner covers, and whatever else your house might require. You’ll feel better knowing it’s done, especially when you’re at work.
5. Stock up.
No need to be running to the store after work every other night. It’s so much easier to stock up NOW on the things you know you’ll need. Head to a big box store and buy a 2-3 month supply of diapers (don’t forget to size up), wipes, formula, baby food, laundry detergent, bath soap, diaper cream, and anything else your baby might need in the coming months. Just one less thing to do…
6. Buy a pump.
If you’re breastfeeding, get a good pump and test it out ahead of time. A hands’ free pumping bra will help too. Also, prepare your baby to be bottle-fed. Don’t wait until the morning you leave for work — if he or she is at all reluctant, you’ll regret not trying earlier.
7. Ease In.
Gradually ease back into work if you can. See if you can work shorter hours the first week, or plan to start back on a Wednesday or Thursday so that the first week doesn't seem so long.
8. Redefine the word “first.”
It can be hard initially when a nanny is the one who first sees your baby roll over, crawl, or take her initial steps. Try to savor the first time you see the milestone and realize it’s just as special.
9. Strength in Numbers.
Seek out other working moms at your company. You may not have been close to them before you had a baby, but now it may help to have a mom friend at work. They understand what you are going through and you can offer each other tips and support.
10. Don’t feel guilty.
Dozens of studies confirm that there are no fundamental differences between children reared by stay-at-home-parents and those cared for by nannies or day care centers. So, enjoy those moments to yourself, try not to focus on the negative, and make the most of quality time with your child when you get home.
Lynn Perkins is CEO and co-founder of UrbanSitter
, an online resource to find and book trusted babysitters and nannies. Browse detailed babysitter and nanny profiles, read reviews from parents, and schedule interviews at the click of a button--it's quick, easy, and efficient.
Lynn will be speaking at this year's MomFair, so don't miss out!