Helpful Tips for Going Back to Work After a Baby
There is nothing “easy” about going back to work after a baby.
Even if you LOVE your job, the first day back to work can be really tough.
I went back to work after our first. I was teaching at the time, and so I had a lot to figure out.
When would I pump? Where would I pump? What did I need to do for my baby before leaving in the morning? How soon could I get out of work and to the sitters?
It was hard. And although I loved my job, I loved my baby more.
That for me was the hardest part. I could deal with the craziness that was the life of being a teacher, but I missed my baby.
Thankfully, I had friends who “coached” me through the experience of working after baby. And I want to share some of the most helpful tips with you.
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Prepare the Night Before
First and foremost, prepare yourself the night before.
Make sure you have your clothes picked out, your bag packed, all of your pump parts and bottles in the pump bag, the baby’s bag packed, bottles prepared, and anything else you need to do to make the mornings easier.
You guys, there were nights where I would be up until 10:30 washing bottles, and pump parts, and all the crap that comes with it.
I didn’t enjoy it, but I knew it was what I needed to do so I wasn’t stressed out in the morning when my baby woke up and I wanted to spend time with them rather than run around trying to make sure I had everything I needed.
Do yourself a favor, and every night before going to bed make sure you have everything prepared for the morning.
Make Sure Your Clothes Fit
Yes mama, I am going there.
I wrote this great post about what to wear after giving birth, and as I sit here writing this, I realize I need to write an entirely new post about what to wear after having a baby when you’re going back to work.
My c-section recovery and natural birth recoveries were very different. It could be random chance, but I feel like I got my body back sooner after my natural delivery.
One thing I know for sure is that your pre-baby clothes may or may not fit the way they once did.
My best suggestion is this.
Two weeks before going back to work after baby, try one at least half of your work clothes. If they fit, you’ll be fine.
If they don’t fit, try on the other half of your work wardrobe.
If nothing fits, don’t sit on your bed and cry. There is nothing shameful about having a postpartum body. It took 40 weeks to grow your beautiful baby, and it may not bounce back quickly.
Figure out what you can do to be healthier. Maybe it’s better food choices or getting more exercise.
Regardless, you’ll need to make sure you have work clothes that fit. Anytime I find myself in a situation of needing more than a couple of outfits quickly, I head to my nearest consignment shop. You can find some really great deals.
And remember, chances are, your body situation is temporary. Don’t let it cause your situation of going back to work to be more stressful.
Take Lots of Pictures in Frames
I loved seeing my sweet baby anytime I was around my desk.
It was my reminder of why I was working in the first place- to help take care of them.
I know that not every mom feels emotional about going back to work after baby. I get that. And there’s nothing wrong with being excited to go back to work. The stay at home mom thing isn’t for everyone.
But I have to believe that every momma loves seeing sweet pictures of their baby during the day.
Depending on your childcare situation, you can also request to have photos sent to you throughout the day, which was always encouraging for me.
Pumping at Work
Planning to breastfeed your baby?
No Problem! Here are some helpful tips for using a breast pump while your baby is at daycare!
Thankfully, if you live in the US, there is a breastfeeding law that protects your right to be given time, and have a safe and private place for breastfeeding.
Now, that doesn’t mean it’s going to feel like a glorious nursing suite, but if it allows you to safely pump breast milk for your baby, you’ll be OK.
For me as a teacher, it was tricky. I would pump in my classroom sitting at my desk. Thankfully, I never had anyone walk in on me, but wow, that would’ve been awkward.
Take Time for Yourself
When you’re a new mom in general, it’s hard to find time for yourself.
Let alone being a new mom who is returning to work. Mom guilt sets in and you feel like every moment you have free should be spent with your baby.
I’m not going to affirm you in that. There are two other people who also deserve to have your time and attention. One of those people is you, and the other is your spouse.
Adjusting to life with a new baby is just that- an adjustment. But that little person will be OK if they don’t have every single moment of your free time.
Make time to take care of yourself, and make time for date nights with your husband.
As I just mentioned, having a baby and going back to work is going to be a major adjustment for you and your husband.
Once upon a time, you spent most of your free time together, and although you may still be spending that same time together, it’s going to be different.
Not bad, just different.
One of the best things you can do to prepare your marriage for a baby and adjusting to you going back to work is talking. You and your husband need to be able to have open and honest conversations and be OK hearing each other’s feelings about things.
Work through the transition together.
Ask for Flexibility When You Need It
If you find yourself struggling to make your previous work schedule the best schedule for your new family, ask if there is flexibility.
Tell them you want to make sure you’re doing the best job for your boss and your company, that you love your job, and you were just wondering if this other more flexible schedule would be OK to try.
If you’re lucky to have a great employer, especially one who understands and appreciates working moms, you may be incredibly lucky and they say yes!
How to Handle Guilt
Mom guilt is a real thing.
Even if you’re excited about going to work, at some point it’s incredibly possible that you’ll feel guilty about something.
Maybe your baby wasn’t feeling great, or they had a rough night, or you left them crying at daycare.
It’s going to happen.
Give yourself some grace, momma.
You’re doing amazing.
And whether you’re working by choice or necessity, you’re doing well.
There is no right or wrong here. You have to do what you have to do. Stop beating yourself up.
If you’re working more hours than you want, learn to say no or find a job that better meets the needs of your new family.
For me, that is how my blog came to be. I didn’t want to work, but I needed something constructive that I could help other mommas.
But, for the love of all things, stop guilting yourself into believing you aren’t good enough, or you’re not as good of a mom as the mom who’s home with her baby. Let me tell you from a momma who is home all day, I STILL have mom guilt.
Do what you have to do and be OK with it.
Put Your Purse in the Back Seat
You may wonder what in the world this has to do with going back to work after maternity leave.
Here’s the thing- your routine has likely changed greatly from what it was before you had a baby.
If you’re the one dropping off or picking up your baby from daycare, you always want to make sure you remember they’re there.
Unfortunately, people leave their babies in the car every year because we mindlessly get into routines and forget.
And you may think, “I would never forget my baby”, and I hope that’s true.
But in my mind, better safe than sorry.
Put something with your baby that you know you HAVE to have while you’re at work.
Going Back to Work After a Baby- You Can Do This!
Going back to work after having a baby isn’t always the easiest.
There are mental, physical, and emotional challenges that come with the territory.
My greatest suggestion is to make sure you have a support team of friends and family, especially if you’re struggling with things emotionally.
At the end of the day, you’re a confident mom who can totally do this.
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