Returning to Work after Maternity Leave

Melissa Ann Camuti

Your maternity leave is coming to an end. You’re just about recovered from delivery and established a daily routine at home with the new baby. 

What can you do now that you’ll be returning back to work in the next few weeks and the baby will be going to a new child care? 

Here are a few ways to help you return back to the workplace:

Where do you start? 

First, have you researched and found the best child care center for your baby? Will you be going back to work full-time or will you be able to go back part-time? 

The next thing you should do is reach out to your employer or HR department to talk about your first day back. Reconnect with your boss to discuss what your first week will look like and share your expectations of being a new mom.

3 weeks before your 1st day back to work

  • Connect with your support group: your closest friends and family, local support groups such as Mommy and Me classes. Share how you feel going back to work. Meet up with other moms who recently had babies and went back to work. Talking to other moms who are going through the same process will help you. 

2 weeks before your 1st day back to work

  • Hire a babysitter, find a trustworthy friend or ask your mom to help watch the baby so you can go out solo. This will allow you to have time for yourself without the baby for an hour or two. Baby will be with someone you trust and learn to be away from mom for a short period of time. This will help both of you slowly adjust to not being together before going to work.

  • Set expectations with work and speak with your boss and colleagues. What will work look like your first week back at work? What tasks will you be responsible for? Mentally prepare for what your role will be when you return. Share what support you’ll need such as a different work schedule or breakroom/quiet place to pump.

1 week before your 1st day back to work

  • Have your baby start at the child care center you found. This is to help him or her adjust to the first week which will allow you to get to know his teachers and build your communication and relationship. It will help give you peace of mind when you start working as you get to know the baby’s new routine. 

  • Go through a few trial runs to practice your morning and evening routines. Wake up, get ready for the day and prepare your baby to go to his or her child care center. Do a wardrobe check for yourself to feel comfortable in your work clothes. During these practice runs will help you see what works for you and what you’ll need to adjust in your routine before your first day of work. 

Your 1st day back to work

  • You made it! It’s your first day back. Bring your baby’s photo with you to place one your desk. 

  • Let your work community support you. Plan a lunch with your friend or co-worker on your first day back. 

  • Trust that your baby’s day is going well. You’ve researched and chose the best fit school for you and your baby.

Remember this is an adjustment period- a transition into a new routine for you and your family. Be gentle with yourself. You’ll find your way to what works for you and the baby.