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Tips for Going Back to Work After Baby


WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

By Nicole Yorio

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How can I best prepare myself for returning to work?

Remember that everyone in your life needs to be part of the picture. So before you go back to work, build your support team — that includes your partner, the caretaker, fellow working moms you can go to for advice, and a parent or friend who's willing to help out. Discuss your expectations for your working-mom lifestyle with your partner, your boss, and your sitter — and also ask what they expect from you. Maybe you want to arrive at the office at 9:30 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., or you need your husband to alternate midnight feedings. These discussions will make for a smoother transition. But also know that the first few weeks will be messy, and you're allowed to be human, so take one thing at a time: Don't make your first day at work your first day back in the gym as well. Finally, this is one time that a little splurge has a big advantage; buying one new outfit that you feel good in will help boost your self-esteem and give you more confidence at the office.

What emotions can I expect?

You'll experience many — anxiety, stress — but the number one feeling is guilt. You lay it on yourself, either because you feel bad about leaving or because you're actually relieved to get out the door, and other people have a way of laying it on you too. When guilt strikes, remind yourself why you're going back to work and why that's a good thing, and stay committed to your decision. Guilt fades, and you'll feel better in time. Also, we compare ourselves with other working moms — the woman who seems to have it together or the mom whose husband seems more helpful — but comparisons will only make you feel worse. Instead, ask those moms to share their tips. Know, too, that all moms crave validation that they're doing the right thing, but that feeling won't come from balancing your life perfectly (if only that were possible!). It will come from knowing that you're doing what's best for you and baby.

Returning from Maternity Leave: 5 Ways to Ease the Transition

1. Decide on child care. Bring baby when you interview caregivers to see how she connects with them. Practice the new routines together before your start date.

2. Delegate. Decide how you and your partner will divide responsibilities — and what you can agree to let go (making the bed every day?).

3. Suit up. Set a professional tone by keeping baby stories to a minimum or sharing mainly with your closest colleagues. It'll assure coworkers that your head is at work, not at home.

4. Stay connected. Those first few weeks, call the sitter on breaks or go home for lunch if you can. As you adjust to your new schedule, you will find solutions that help you feel better.

5. Embrace your new role. You're providing for your family, showing baby that moms can wear many hats, and benefiting from a sense of fulfillment that comes with your day job.

Ariane de Bonvoisin is the author of The First 30 Days (now in paperback) and the founder of first30days.com, a Website dedicated to helping you navigate any life change. Log on for advice and to connect with others who are making transitions.

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