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When maternity leave first begins, the break ahead can seem almost endless. However, those longs weeks and/or months often reach their end more quickly than you might think or like and the prospect of going back to work after baby can prove quite a difficult readjustment.
Top Tips for Getting Back to Work after Having a Baby
If it is the case you are anxious about going back to work after baby leave, the following tips should help you prepare for rejoining the workplace:
- Establish a Reconnection with Your Office/Workplace
Before going back to work after baby begin by trying to ease yourself back into the culture of work and your workplace, especially if some time has passed since you thought of work. An abrupt switch from spending entire days with your baby to dividing your time between work and being a parent can be taxing, and is possibly bad for you in both your roles of employee and parent. Do a little work in advance of your actual return to the office to smoothen the transition.
- Call or Email the Human Resource Department
The thought of how to balance work and family will probably be your main concern. So, call the Human Resource (HR) department in your workplace if they have not already contacted you. These people will be able to provide you with important information e.g. the most suitable date for returning to work, where the lactation facilities at work are located, and any other information related to paperwork and readjusting to the routine of work.
- Schedule a Date for Your Return
When returning to work after maternity leave, try to return towards the end of the working week. Do not be tempted to return on Monday: going back for a whole week at first can make the transition difficult. Arranging for your first day at work after maternity leave to occur on Thursday or on Friday provides you with a weekend of recalibration time and the chance to attend to possible issues with scheduling, child-minding, and so on.
- Before your first day back at work, make contact with your manager or boss
Even if you are thinking “I don't want to go back to work” and if the HR department has not contacted you, you should let your boss or manager know what date you plan to return. This approach can provide a good opportunity to discuss any requirements with regards to pumping, childcare, etc. Perhaps you are unsure how best to approach your boss or manager to discuss schedule alterations before you get back to work?
- Before You Go Back to Workplace Life, Schedule a Person-to-Person Meeting
Arranging a casual post-maternity leave lunch or a coffee meet-up with co-workers and/or a manager before returning to the workplace can help. Meeting people from work in person is a chance to catch up on news and gossip from the office or workspace, to learn about new initiatives and/or projects, and to begin reengaging with your work environment. If it is not possible to meet people beforehand, make it your priority to meet them in person on your return.
- Prepare Yourself for Pumping at the Office
Are you likely to pump when you return to work? If so, be sure you feel comfortable about this before you go back. Talk to fellow-workers and HR about what facilities your workplace has for pumping.
So, how long do you have to wait to go back to work after having a baby? It really depends on the organization or workplace.
- Be Sure that you and Members of Your Family are Prepared for Your Return to Work
Before returning to work after pregnancy, you need to ensure you are adequately prepared from the home side. This includes every aspect from making sure childcare arrangements (and a backup plan for childcare) are in place to switching from sweat pants to business suits.
- Check Your Wardrobe (!)
Delve deeply into your wardrobe before going to work after baby has arrived in order to retrieve your best office shirts, tops, skirts, and pants. Check that clothes are still a good fit for you – try them on – since one’s figure can change as a result of pregnancy and from breastfeeding.
- Get Mentally Prepare
The question: “will my baby remember me when i go back to work” is, of course, a concern for new parents. And similar to the way that taking care of a new baby is challenging for the first few days, the first days after returning to work can be difficult too. It is possible you will be filled with all sorts of feelings and emotions, which is fine. Do your best to make the transition easier.
- Do a Dry Run
The process of leaving baby to go back to work means preparing a new routine for the mornings: do a dry run to include setting your alarm clock, leaving your baby at his or her childcare place, and travelling to your workplace. A practice run provides the opportunity to figure out and fix any issues with childcare and it allows you develop a new morning routine to accommodate your baby and coordinate with your partner.
- Arrange Childcare – As Well As a Backup Plan for Childcare
One of our final tips for going back to work after baby concerns those days where inevitably your child will become ill and really need you – very possibly on a day where you have an important deadline, presentation, or meeting. Be prepared for such an event in advance of it happening. Together with your partner, work out who should be the main contact for the child-minder, nanny, or daycare. If baby has to be collected unexpectedly, whose responsibility is this? Develop a practical strategy for days your baby might be sick, have to visit a doctor, and where other occurrences may mean having to depart work in an unexpected manner.