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Returning to Work: Coping With Mommy Guilt

Month 3, Week 1

The three-month mark is when many moms return to their job outside the home. If you’re struggling with separation anxiety and wondering if you can do it all, you’re not alone.

Here is some advice to help you manage your new balancing act:

  • Start slow. Might it be possible for you to start off on part-time? Consider asking your employer. 
  • Check in with your boss before you go back to work. You can get up to speed on what's going on at work and discuss your schedule.
  • Line up help. Check referrals and network to find an arrangement that works for you. This may go a long way toward your peace of mind. Use that help to schedule practice stints away from baby.

Breastfeeding? Learn the rule of 5s to figure out how long your breast milk lasts after it's out of you:

  • 5 hours at room temperature
  • 5 days in the refrigerator
  • 5 months in the freezer

Your Baby's Development This Week

At three months old, babies are busy, engaged, and very social little people. It seems like they’re learning new skills almost every day.

As she gets stronger, your three-month-old will probably:

  • Stretch her legs out and kick when lying on her stomach or back. Encourage that movement by bicycling her legs -- she’ll love the game!
  • Bring her hands to her mouth and try to get fingers and thumbs inside.
  • Take eager swipes or bat at dangling objects, like the toys on her mobile.

You might wonder about:

  • Why your baby suddenly seems a lot taller. Her arms and legs are loosening up from that in-the-womb curl. She’s growing, of course, but she’s also stretching out!
  • Your baby’s coordination. She still can’t move her fingers and thumbs independently. So while she can grab objects, it’s still a challenge for her to pick up many toys.
  • Is it OK to prop your baby up in a sitting position? Definitely -- she will probably love it. You can use a breastfeeding pillow or other firm cushion to help support her, but keep your hands on her at all times.

Month 3, Week 1 Tips

  • If your baby looks away from you for a few moments, she may be a bit overwhelmed. It’s called gaze aversion. Give her a little space to calm down.
  • Your baby is fascinated by sounds. Play the echo game with her by making a sound like "ooh," "aah," or "eee," and see if she'll mimic you.
  • Never leave a baby alone with a pet, no matter how gentle.
  • It's still probably too early for solid foods. Wait until your baby is able to sit on her own, between 4 and 6 months.
  • Start good oral health. Moisten a piece of gauze with a little water and wipe it along her gums once a day after a feeding.
  • Avoid tooth decay: Don't let your baby snack on a bottle all night. Milk can pool in her mouth and damage budding baby teeth.
  • When was the last time you talked to a friend? Reach out and keep your own network strong.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on September 15, 2013

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