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Health & Pregnancy

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Going Back to Work After Baby

The transition back to work isn't always easy. Here's how to get ready -- even before your baby is born.
By Linda Formichelli
WebMD Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD

The nursery is painted and the cabinets are stocked with newborn-size onesies. Now, it's time to think about how you'll get back to work after the baby's here. Linda Glass, an executive coach and career strategist, mom, and former director of Global Talent Strategies for Starbucks, shares her top four tips for transitioning back to the office.

Call for help. Arranging reliable care for your baby can help you get back into the work mind-set while feeling reassured that your baby is being well cared for in your absence. Ask any candidates for referrals, and ask your friends whether they've used the person or service and what their experiences have been. And start the search early, says Glass. "You can always get a car seat last minute, but a decision on what type of care you'll need for your child takes some research and time."

Start slow. Jumping from maternity leave to full-time work can be a shock, so if possible, ask your employer to let you start off with a part-time schedule for as long as you feel your workplace culture will allow -- from a few weeks to a couple of months, says Glass. Alternatively, you can find out if your boss will be willing to let you schedule your first day back later in the week, say, on a Thursday. That way, you have only two days of work and then you get the weekend with your baby. "You're not diving into the deep end with the schedule, but easing yourself back into it," Glass says.

Write it down. Before going back to the office, write down your family's priorities and take a look at the big picture. Where can you compromise? For example, how important is it for you to have the house sparkling clean? To eat home-cooked dinners every night? "There are so many needs and only so much time, so it's about using the hours most effectively," says Glass.

Connect with the boss. To help get your head back in the game, schedule time with your boss a few weeks before your return to familiarize yourself with projects you'll be working on, says Glass. Also, ask your boss whether she has any concerns about your return so you can reassure her that you're ready to get back to work. Some bosses worry that you won't be able to focus on work, that you'll be arriving late or leaving early, or that you'll soon quit to stay at home with your baby.

Reviewed on September 04, 2015

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