Going back to work after having a baby
Worried about being a working mum? Here are a few hints and tips for going back to work after a baby.
At a glance
Deciding when to go back to work is an emotional decision to make
It’s all about achieving the best work-life balance for you, your baby and your family
Flexible working hours can ease you back into work gently, ask your employer if they offer this
Choosing childcare can be daunting so use your network of parent friends for some tips
Worried about going back to work?
You might be feeling the time is right to go back to work after having your baby. It’s a difficult and an emotional decision to make. How do you plan going back to work and what do you need to say to your employer, what do you need to ask them?
Here are our tips to stop the working mum woes. First up, you’re going to be full of emotions about going back to work after having your baby. It’s only natural to feel guilty or anxious, but you also might be excited about getting back into the world of work too. All these feelings are perfectly normal.
It’s all about achieving the best work-life balance for you, your baby and your family.
Breastfeeding and going back to work
The good news is that going back to work doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding, there’s some great advice on expressing your milk and how to start combination feeding to help you ease back to work without compromising on your feeding choices. So, if you’re a breastfeeding mum going back to work have a chat with your employer beforehand about suitable facilities for expressing milk in the office as you will need somewhere quiet and private. As a handy tip block out some time in your work calendar so you’ll always have time to do it.
Choosing the right childcare
Don’t let that working mum childcare guilt get you down; your little one will love it and get so much out of it. When choosing childcare shop around and ask for recommendations and check reviews. Your network of new parent friends may have some great tips. Most importantly, trust your parenting instincts. If you’re little one’s happy, then you’ll be happy at work too (although it can be tough to say goodbye!)
Requesting flexible working
You might be able to reduce your hours or your days or even job-share, although that might mean a pay cut. Most employers these days are pretty open to different ways of working so you could put in a request for flexible working, you could start earlier or later, perhaps work from home. Let’s face it you’re a great employee, so we’re sure they’ll do their best to help!
Dealing with your colleagues
One of the best things about being a mum returning to work is bringing your baby into your workplace to say hello - brace yourself for the cooing!
Don’t forget to speak to your colleagues about your change in circumstances and your hours or days at work. It’s important to do this to manage expectations. You don’t want to feel pressured into doing overtime or taking on tight deadlines if you are on reduced hours. Don’t be afraid to speak up if project timings feel too tight.
Working mum anxiety
You might have a bit of wobble when you step back in the office for the first time after having your baby. Everyone does. It’s a big change and might be the first time you’ve been away from your little one since they arrived. Easing yourself into your new routine might help, perhaps ask if you could do a few hours to begin with or do a phased return to work for the first week/month. Once you see how happy your baby is at childcare, things will get better!
Support from other working mums
If the wobble is getting too, well, wobbly, then don't be afraid to seek support. There's bound to be other mums in the same boat at work who may well want to form a working mother support group! Most importantly, don't beat yourself up about being at work and keep talking about how you feel.