So your maternity leave is over.
You’ve had the opportunity to bond with your precious baby and now it is back to reality.
This can be a very difficult and emotional time. Leaving your newborn for an extended period of time early on can be extremely stressful.
Let me warn you that returning to work will NOT be easy. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming!
Here are my top tips to help the transition go as smooth as possible:
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BUILD YOUR MILK SUPPLY
This is HUGE (if you’re breastfeeding). I had an abundant supply straight from the get-go, so I wasn’t worried about it initially.
My milk supply was great, I pumped when I felt like it and had a decent supply in the freezer. I figured I didn’t need a ton saved up because I would always be adding to my supply every day.
Well, for one…returning to work only adds to your lack of sleep, and even if you are lucky enough to have a baby that is sleeping through the night, it is really difficult to force yourself to wake up in the middle of the night to pump.
Also, if you tend to be constantly busy at your job as I am, it will be hard to find time to pump enough during your shift.
All of this combined caused my milk supply to significantly drop. I found myself scrambling for stored milk to give whoever was watching Olivia while I was at work. I felt so much pressure to feed her every moment I could and pump enough milk in between.
Had I focused on building a larger supply during my time off, I would have had less pressure to squeeze out every drop down the road.
If this happens to you, I recommend reading my post on how I increased my milk supply and got things back on track after returning to work.
DEVELOP A ROUTINE
Developing a good routine with your baby will make it easier on him/her, and whoever is babysitting as well.
Have a feeding/nap schedule in place that your baby is used to. You don’t want to pass off a fussy baby that hasn’t napped, has a sporadic feeding schedule and leave it up to your babysitter to figure out what to do.
If you have a good routine, your baby will adjust to a new environment much more seamlessly if that same routine is continued.
Also, your sitter will greatly appreciate the structure.
When packing the diaper bag, always remember to include multiple changes of clothes!
I always included at least two outfits and a sleeper. Also, burp cloths, toys, wipes, diapers, diaper cream, etc.
We’re lucky enough to have my parents available to watch her when my husband and I are not, so they always had their own supply of diapers and wipes and toys.
Be prepared and always have back-ups in the diaper bag just in case!
This is something that might easily get overlooked at first.
But I guarantee the first time your boobs leak at work and completely soak through your top, you will never forget again. (Talk about embarrassing!)
This is almost a joke because let’s be honest…who is really sleeping at this point?!
While I was on maternity leave I was feeding every two hours and obviously not getting consistent sleep. However, I would sleep for short periods of time throughout the day when possible.
After returning to work and not being able to nap during the day, the lack of sleep can really build up.
My first couple of weeks back were brutal. I remember walking around like a zombie, having blood-shot eyes and a headache that never went away. It came to the point where my husband had to take over. I had to skip my pumping schedule and sleep for about 12 hours straight.
It was AMAZING but not feeding my baby and not pumping wasn’t ideal.
I became more disciplined with my sleeping habits, accepted the help from my husband and got back on track.
Yes, I was still somewhat sleep deprived, but I was functional.
Avoid getting to that point because being over-exhausted is not good for your health or your milk supply.
The last thing you need is to add getting sick and losing your milk supply to the list. Check out my post on how to get your baby to sleep through the night to help you both sleep better!
I highly recommend taking a class on the subject so that you are prepared, have all of the information to make the best decisions for you and your baby, avoid any unnecessary obstacles, and have the tools to overcome any struggles you are faced with.
But what new or expecting mom has the time or energy to go to a class?!
That is why online courses are SO convenient! Finish at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home!
Milkology has my favorite courses, created by a certified lactation consultant and filled with a TON of helpful information covering every single topic, free printables at the end of the course, and is SUPER affordable!
Check it out HERE!
Just remember this will be a trying time, to say the least.
I hope these tips help provide a little inspiration to get you through the transition period and remember that it does get easier! Good luck!