Ok, so you've cleared the delivery and newborn stage. Now the next hurdle is returning to work.
Here's the good news: You're not alone. The majority of moms go back to work when their babies are under one year old. That means generations of women have cleared the path for you. To make that path a little smoother, we've gathered a handful of helpful tips and tricks so you can return to work like a boss.
Hit it on hump day. Return on a Wednesday instead of a Monday, giving you only three days until the weekend.
Book this (hello, breast pump) on your calendar. Book regular pumping sessions on your calendar and own it. Don’t label the meeting “private,” put “pumping” and everyone should get the message.
Introduce the dynamic duo. Before you head back to the office, get your little one used to both the breast and the bottle (if you haven't already!). One new Mom told us she puts formula in an oral syringe sprinkling a few drops on her breast so her son got used to the taste. "He took to the bottle no problem!" she said. Another new Mom recommends using 25 percent formula and 75 percent breast milk for a few feedings and then moving to a 50/50 ratio and so on. "If that mixture is not rejected, you're good to go," she said.
Two words: Dry Shampoo. Just know you and your little one don't have to bathe or shower as much as you think you do. A little dry shampoo (for you!) can work wonders when you're low on time.
Don your superwoman cape. Ok, so it doesn't have to have a 'S' on it. Any type of salon style cape will do. Put it on over your clothes until you're ready to walk out the door. That way a little spit up will never slow you down.
See that smile in (almost) real time. Ask your sitter or day care provider to text a few photo updates or arrange a Facetime chat. For many moms, this helps them feel more connected, although for others it may be too distracting or trigger tears. Know what works for you.
There may be tears. Maybe you're happy to return to work. Maybe you're dreading it. Maybe it's both. Don't be surprised if you have strong and even conflicting emotions. It's normal.
You're good enough, you're smart enough. Now, this one is really important--and can have lasting impact--take a minute every day to think about what you did do well and what you did accomplish instead of what you did not. Motherhood is an imperfect science with plenty of ups and downs. Get the good affirmations going early and everyone in your sphere will be grateful.
Stash some snacks. It's smart to have on-the-go goodies for everyone. Offering your little one a snack at pick up (and enjoying one yourself) keeps the hunger (and grumpiness) away and can help keep up your milk supply if you’re nursing.
Build badass boundaries. Discuss a new departure time or any changes to your routine with your boss and stick to it. And, don't make excuses. Make the case that creating workable schedules for parents will help the company attract and retain talent.
Do a dress rehearsal. Practice makes (almost) perfect. Do a practice run of your morning routine, discuss the sharing of duties with your partner or care provider beforehand and plan your work wardrobe with pumping friendly clothes if needed.