New Baby: Tips To Make Going Back To Work Easy
Taking maternity leave to have a baby, bond with her, and recover from childbirth isn't much of a vacation. Though you get a break from work, you don't get a break from life so you can play board games all day. It makes going back to work after having a baby tough. But it's manageable -- millions of mothers do it every day. Here are a few tips to make going back to work after having a baby easier.
Make Peace With Guilt
One of the hardest parts about going to work after a baby is born is the guilt you feel for not being with your baby. We all have different reasons for not being stay-at-home moms and those reasons are not easy to work around. Remind yourself that you are doing what's best for your baby, family, and pets, and make the most of the time you do get to spend with them.
Before your return-to-work date, talk to your boss about a custom schedule for the first few days. You may be able to talk your boss into letting you work half days to start. Companies can be surprisingly flexible about it. It gives you time to wean yourself off cuddly time with your baby and re-introduce yourself to the daily grind. If you don't think your company will go for it, make sure your return work date is later in the week -- having a full work week after being off six weeks can be challenging to a new mom.
Take It Easy
When you return to work, you may not be able to be as proactive as you were before your baby was born, and that's OK. Adjusting to a newborn's schedule is exhausting -- don't be afraid to say "no" to taking on new projects. Once you get back into the swing of things, you can add a little more to your plate, but now is not the time to be a hero at work.
A Little Coffee Is OK
If you're breastfeeding, you know that everything you eat and drink is what your baby is eating and drinking. That means if you have that double cinnamon dolce latte to wake you up, baby is going to be drinking it too, which affects baby's sleep and mood and that indirectly affects your sleep and mood. However, your body filters out a lot of caffeine before it can reach your breast milk, which means you can have some. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests three cups of coffee per day is OK to drink without affecting your baby-- and you still get your little burst of energy.
As a dutiful employee, you may be tempted to eat your lunch in your office to catch up on all the things you missed while you were out for six weeks, but resist. It's difficult for anyone's body and mind to adjust to an eight-hour work day, let alone someone who just had a baby. Remind yourself to step away from your desk and shut out work for coffee breaks and lunch breaks. It takes time to get used to working both physically and emotionally.
The first month is difficult, but don't give up. It gets better, but you may have to remind yourself many times. After a few weeks, you'll be back in the game and you won't even notice that you don't have to give yourself a pep talk anymore.