Many new mothers tend to be anxious about balancing work and motherhood when they realise that their maternity leave is soon coming to an end.
And the few weeks after returning to work aren’t any easier, as you try to get used to being away from your baby and working life again. Here are some tips for making the transition easier.
Train your nanny properly
For any mother, the first few weeks at work after maternity leave can be difficult as you have some adjusting to do. It’s not easy leaving your newborn in the hands of someone else, but you can make the process easier and allow yourself to be at peace that your child is in good hands by ensuring you give your nanny ample training on what will be expected of her in terms of balancing household chores and the baby once you resume work. If possible, do this a few weeks in advance and even begin to let go of some of the responsibilities, so that you can monitor your nanny and get used to parting with your baby. Insist that the baby be given the first priority always as everything else can wait.
Come up with a back-to-work plan
At times it may feel like it will take ages to settle in at work like before, but just like everything else you want to succeed in, you must have a plan. This will help ease your settling in at work after maternity leave. Ensure you work closely with your immediate manager to plan your workflow either on a weekly or bi-weekly basis as well as have regular reviews on your progress and areas that need improvement. Use this meeting to agree on some goals you can work towards. Be proactive and initiate the process instead of waiting for your manager to initiate it. That way, it is more likely that you will be offered the support you need. Additionally, this will help to reassure your employer of your commitment to the job.
Maximise your time
Naturally, your mind will often be torn between your work and the baby. Mornings especially can be very daunting as you walk away from your child to go to work. Remind yourself that you are working to provide a better future for your child and this will make the morning a little bearable. If it doesn’t, don’t suffer in silence. It is easy to assume everyone including your boss to understand your needs, but rather than assume, learn to ask for what you want. For instance, you can request for flexible working hours as it can help you to attain the right work-life balance. This might mean you work from home once a week. If your boss allows for this, do not abuse it. Maximise the time by attending to your work and doing it excellently as this will mean once done you can spend some time with your baby.
Stock up on essentials
If you are going to continue nursing after resuming work (it is advisable for babies to be breastfed exclusively for the first six months), you will need to invest in some essentials to make your life a bit smoother. Ensure you get a breast pump to allow you to pump and store the milk in a freezer for future use. Moreover, get your nanny to start bottle-feeding the baby so that he can get used to someone else feeding him other than you.
Some employers today have provided crèche facilities for their employees in their work places to support nursing mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months. But if these services are unavailable, use your tea and lunch breaks to pump milk in a private room within the work place. While at it, ensure you carry extra nursing pads and even keep some in your desk because sometimes your breasts will leak. Also, since work can at times be demanding leaving one with little time to sit and take a meal, have healthy snacks with you that you can eat at your desk, as you need the energy.
Published October 2017