Your Life as a Parent : Returning to Work

Depending on your situation, different factors may come into play as you decide if and when to go back to work, including your finances, maternity leave options, and general family considerations. If you can, allow yourself some flexibility as you may change your mind about your return to work when the time comes. Whenever you do return to work, it’s natural to feel sad, anxious, or concerned about how your baby will adjust. If your partner is not staying home with your baby, the key is to find childcare that you feel comfortable with and that your baby thrives under. You might also consider getting additional help at home so you can spend that precious home time with your baby without additional distractions.

Establish a routine

A couple of weeks before you return to work, start mapping out what your typical workday will look like. Consider things like what time you will need to wake up in order to be ready to leave the house in time, how long will your commute take when you take into account dropping your baby off at day care, or perhaps you are getting a nanny, what time will they need to arrive? How about evenings, if you are nursing when do you plan on pumping etc.? Be sure to include your baby’s naps and feeding times, and of course don’t forget to make sure you have time for those all-important babies snuggles!  

Not sure what your baby’s current day looks like? Start tracking your day now, note down every wake up, nap time, feeding etc. so you have a complete picture. The Lumi by Pampers Smart Sleep Coaching App can help you start tracking all of this info in an organized way and includes education, insights and tools to help you establish healthy sleep habits for your baby.

Once you have this draft schedule you have a rough idea of what you may need to try to adjust to make the return to work as smooth as possible for all of you. It’s a good idea to start to adjust your daily routine at least a week before going back to work so that you and your baby are already used to the new timeline. 

Obviously at just 2-months old your baby still needs to be fed frequently and it may seem challenging to ‘get them on a schedule’. A lot of working parents try to adjust things they can control to help here. Things like waking up 30mins before your baby so you can shower and get ready first.

Babies thrive in a routine, and once routine is established it is scientifically proven that they will fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. You’ve got this!

Organizing Child Care

You may have multiple sources and forms of childcare, which you could consider, including

• your parents or other relatives

• a babysitter

• a day care center

• in-home care, either solely for your baby or in a group with other children

• a nanny

• or a combination of the above.

As you search for childcare, keep in mind that the most important thing is to make sure your baby is happy and developing well under the care you select. Ask other parents or your baby’s healthcare provider for referrals. Speak to potential caregivers at length, observe them with your baby for a day or two, check their references and do background checks, and trust your instincts. You should always keep a watchful eye that your baby is doing well, and reevaluate your choice if need be.

Expressing Breast Milk at Work

Returning to work can be stressful for some women and may reduce your breast milk supply (as may other sources of stress), particularly if you are not able to pump as much as you would like. By law, your employer must allow you time and a space — other than a bathroom — for you to express breast milk until your baby turns 1 year old. If you are concerned your milk supply may be running low, read up on how to increase breast milk supply and contact your healthcare provider or lactation consultant for help.

Finding Help at Home

As you return to work — or simply because you need an extra pair of helping hands — you may need help with cooking, household chores, or errands. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Make sure you have someone you trust who will relieve the load, not add to it.

Figure out when you’ll need help and make sure the helper can reliably commit to this schedule.

Be Clear About What You Need Help With And Consider Having It In Writing.

Ask for enough warning if the helper can’t make it or if they are sick.

Have a plan B like a babysitter or neighbor you can call to jump in at the last minute.

Consider getting a background check and checking for a valid driver’s license.

If the person’s role includes caring for your baby, ask the caregiver to complete a baby first aid course.