Childcare and time management
No matter how efficiently you managed time at work before becoming a working mum, you will need to learn a new routine after your baby is born. Your physical recovery, extra flow of visitors and long list of errands like laundry can drive you crazy at first. You’ll need to reallocate your time to fit in your new responsibilities and redefine the work life balance for working mums. You may experience erratic emotions during these first few weeks until this new routine is fine tuned. Be aware of how you are doing and acknowledge your feelings. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, you may be a superb employee but your efforts to be a super mum may still need help from your partner, family or a care-taker.
Getting back to work
If you intend to go back to work shortly after your baby is born, try to make childcare arrangements while you are still pregnant. This may include signing them up to a local day care centre. If you are planning to hire a nanny, make a shortlist ahead of time before you are planning on returning from maternity leave.
Manage baby and work
To effectively manage work and childcare, it is important to plan in advance. Do not feel guilty about not being able to spend the whole day with your baby anymore. Get regular updates on your baby’s day from a family member or the day care centre over the phone or email. If you can, you might want to consider starting with only a few hours away from your baby and gradually increase the duration.
Spend quality time with your baby
Give your baby much-needed attention and love when you are home and focus on spending quality time with them . Play with them, sing to them, feed them and give them loads of cuddles. If you’re looking for some fun activities to do with your baby, see our article.
Talk to your employer
Talk to your employer about flexibility of your work hours, lots of mums returning to work can only do it if they have flexible working conditions and most employers will understand this. You can also research any day care options available in your work facility and provisions for time off for breastfeeding, a clean private place for expressing breast milk, and storing your breastmilk in a refrigerator.
Postnatal visits with a health professional
Make the appointments at a convenient time and be there for every appointment with your baby. Whatever the nature of your job, your baby will still be your top priority and you will find time to be there for them whenever needed.
Storing breast milk in advance
If you plan to breastfeed your baby, get a pump and start to practice expressing before you returning from maternity leave. Store the breast milk carefully in sterilized airtight containers and put them in the refrigerator. You can also freeze breast milk in small containers so that only the required milk is brought back to room temperature for your baby to consume. Get your baby into a habit of receiving feeds from their caretaker in your absence before you return to work.
Childbirth and childcare are huge responsibilities and there is no perfect one-size-fits-all solution when returning from maternity leave. Work life balance for working mums is challenging, but with the right support and planning, you can make it all work. Experiment and find out the best possible ways and options for yourself and your baby.