The decisions around going back to work are some of the hardest ones a mother can make. There will be much conversation, oceans of tears and lots and lots of guilt. For many moms going back to work, the decision is based on financial necessity. For others, career is an important part of your identity that you don’t want to lose.
Whatever you decide, know this. A child who is loved, cared for and emotionally well-adjusted will thrive, whether he has a working mom or a stay-at-home one. If you're happy, your baby will be, too.
Here are some things to consider when returning to work:
Try not to return to work too soon.
If possible, give yourselves three or four months to get to know each other and get on a schedule. Avoid other big changes, like moving or a new job, at the same time.
Consider your options.
Maybe it doesn't have to be full-time or not at all. Many women job-share, work flextime or part-time, or do contract work. And today's technology has made it easier than ever to telecommute.
Secure childcare early on.
Explore different childcare options to see what fits best. Some prefer the social environment of a childcare center, while others seek the one-on-one nurturing of an in-home nanny or au pair. The better childcare centers tend to have waiting lists, so it's best to get on it as soon as the baby is born.
Create a strategy for pumping and supplementing.
If you're planning on pumping at work, speak to someone in charge about securing a clean, private place for pumping. Some large companies already have programs in place for this. If you plan to supplement with newborn formula, be sure to introduce your baby to the concept a few weeks before you go back to work.