Going back to work after having a baby can be really daunting. For weeks, months and even years, you have done nothing but think about your little offspring. Your whole life has probably revolved around their sleeping (or not sleeping), their eating and new behaviours, and so, going back to work can seem like a real shock to the system.

Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

First, you have to start thinking about childcare – who is going to look after your baby, and feed and love them like you do? This can be a huge stress-maker, as you seek a child-minder or nanny, or negotiate with partner, your parents and/or other mums.

Secondly, you have to figure out all those things that you had forgotten about such as the commute, work load, office life, colleagues etc. Things may have also moved on at work, and you may not be going back to the same job.

With baby expert Dentinox revealing that lack of sleep is one of the hardest things about being a new parent [1], it’s not surprising that some women find it very hard to refocus outwards onto the world of work. However, for others, this is a real relief and offers a sense of new beginning.

If you’re looking to step back into your working life, the following tips will help to ease you back in without too much worry:

  • Going back to work can be difficult on an emotional level, especially if you’re worried about missing out on key milestones. Babies develop amazingly fast during the first year and many mothers love to see every bit. Make sure that whoever is with your child takes photos and lets you know when these milestones happen. It is very important for your emotional wellbeing and productivity that you are kept in the baby loop.
  • If you’re still breastfeeding when you go back to work, there is the tricky question of leaky breasts but don’t worry. Try buying an expressing machine and find time to use it in the bathroom.
  • When you’re back to work you may initially find it hard coming home tired and needing to spring back into being mum and your baby may protest out of having missed you. Getting support at this time is vital. Explain to your boss and HR any difficulties you might have and use this opportunity to discuss flexible working or reduced hours.
  • Get emotional and practical support from family and friends. Be patient with yourself if you need to learn new skills or update yourself. It can be hard to slot back in, as things may have changed at work, and you need to be brought up to speed.
  • Make time for your relationship to adjust. If both of you and your partner are working, you will need to work out domestic chores, cooking, and making social arrangements. Sharing these between you will ease any strains.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Expect to feel anxious as you change your habits and situation. Don’t forget we humans are immensely adaptable, and you and your family will adjust, in time. Things will settle down as you get used to the new regime. Your baby will adapt, too.

Remember, every parent feels unsettled by going back to work, and, yet, in no time, you will be juggling everything skilfully and successfully, just like any other working mum.

Psychologist Corinne Sweet has recently teamed up with Dentinox to launch its Kindness to New Mums campaign. For more information about Dentinox’s range of gentle solutions, which help to treat and soothe common baby ailments, please visit www.dentinox.co.uk

[1] 2018 Research by 3Gem and Dentinox of 500 UK new mums

About Corinne Sweet

Corinne Sweet is a Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Broadcaster and Author of Birth Begins at Forty (Hodder, coming soon revised on Amazon) and The Anxiety Journal (Pan Macmillan). For more information please visit: www.corinnesweet.com

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