Going Back to Work After Baby
Hey ff fam,
The time has come, you're going back to work after having your baby. I know, it's scary. This is a huge adjustment and there's a whole new routine to figure out. You were just getting the hang of having a baby in your life, and now, you have to get used to all of the things that going back to work involves. Just like everything else with being a parent, you got this!
Whether you're working from home or going to the office, it's still a huge adjustment!
I went back to work at my office 14 weeks after my daughter was born and it was, challenging. For me, going back to work was a mix of emotions. I was still recovering from my PPD and I was really starting to bond with my daughter and feel ‘confident' as a mother. At the same time, I love my job and the people I work with, so I was excited to see them.
It took me some time to realize it's okay to miss my daughter and be excited to go back to work and have something for myself everyday.
I was lucky that my mom was watching my daughter for a few months when I went back to work, thanks Mom!! But no matter what your childcare is, there are unique challenges involved. There is a lot to pack/organize everyday. When I first went back to work, I had the bottles lined up in the refrigerator labeled 1, 2, 3 for the order she was supposed to drink them in. They were all breastmilk and all the same ounces, so I'm still unsure why I had a specific order but, at the time it seemed responsible 😂
Pumping/nursing is another challenge for going back to work. I had the Elvie, which I have mixed feelings about, but I found it easy to commute with on the subway in NYC. I used silicone breast milk bags from Haakaa to store my milk in, a PackIt bag to bring my milk home and kept my pump parts in a Stasher bag in the refrigerator during the day (read up on the refrigerator method and decide if you're comfortable with it).
Before I went back to work, I scheduled a meeting with my boss to let her know that I was nursing and would need to pump 3 times a day at work. I also reserved the pumping room and blocked off my calendar. There were many days where I wasn't able to pump at the exact right time my daughter ate, but I did my best and never missed a feeding.
If you're pumping, nursing, or if you're a human, you'll need to eat and drink water so make sure to pack snacks and meals that you like or schedule time on your calendar to eat. It's so easy to forget about yourself when you're rushing to get your work done so you can go home to your baby, but you need to eat and take care of yourself too. For nursing moms, it also helps to have an extra shirt at work, in case you leak.
When I got home, the first thing I did was organize my milk for the next day and clean my pump parts (after squeezing my daughter, of course).
I also read that it helps your supply to look at your baby when you're pumping, so I would look at videos of her (or FaceTIme my mom sometimes). Whether it helps or not, it's a great excuse to look at videos of your baby during the day! If you're not pumping, I highly suggest not skipping this step, we all need a baby break during the day.
Two weeks before my first day back, I started to get into the routine. I work out a lot, so I began to move my workout back to the morning and get my daughter up at the time I would need to for work. I wanted to ease into the routine so I started to model some parts of it to prepare. It helped me to feel less stressed to know that I was able to get everything done that I needed to in the morning, before my actual first day.
I liked to organize everything the night before so I would prep the bottles (in the right order), pack her food (once she was on solids), clean up her play area, etc. This meant the morning was a bit less chaotic and I knew everything was in place in case I was rushing, which I always was. Our daughter was using cloth diapers, so we also did her laundry every night.
Sleep is so important to me, obviously since I also work for a sleep company, so I gave myself a bedtime and did my best to stick to it everyday. Prioritizing myself in that way, was key for me that first year.
On my first day back I remember sitting at my computer and having to remember how to log in to my email. I couldn't remember how to do the most basic tasks in involved in my job, but, after a few days I was back in work mode. Being a working parent is never easy, so give yourself time to adjust and take all of the help/support you can to make things easier.
Find the rhythm that works for you, and you'll thrive! If all else fails, do what I did and add your picture to your baby's play mat, if you panic they're going to forget you (they won't)!!!