Going Back To Work
You probably felt like this day would never come and you’re terrified and excited in equal measure. Going back to work after having a baby can be a bit daunting but there are some things you can do to prepare yourself.
Take extra time if you need it
You are entitled to 26 weeks’ maternity leave. Don’t forget that you are also entitled to days off in lieu for any public holidays or annual leave that happen during your maternity leave so make sure you’ve taken all of those too. You can also avail of 16 additional weeks of unpaid leave so take some extra time if you need it (and can afford it).
Consider your breastfeeding options
If you are still breastfeeding you will need to stock up on milk for when you’re away. You are legally entitled to breastfeed or express milk in work, where facilities are provided or take one paid hour off a day to feed your baby and this applies for up to 26 weeks after your baby is born.
Take a week or two to get baby settled in to childcare
Research your childcare options well ahead of time and start your baby before you return to work so they’re well settled in. This will also give you a little headspace before you start back.
Try not to feel guilty
“Mommy guilt” is something every mum feels, no matter what their circumstances, so while you may feel a bit guilty about leaving your little one to go out to work, chances are you’d probably still find something else to feel guilty about if you were staying at home. A change of scene will be good for both of you.
Ease yourself back in gently
Consider starting mid-week if you can to ease yourself back in.
Try to get the balance right
If working late at the drop of a hat was part of your pre-baby work culture, you may need to make some changes, at least to begin with. Bosses and co-workers will just have to understand that your life has changed dramatically so try not to feel under too much pressure to “prove yourself”.
Consider more flexible working hours
You may be lucky enough to work in a “mum-friendly” environment and if that’s the case you might be able to negotiate some changes to your working hours – coming in earlier and leaving earlier might suit you better or a 4 day week might help to ease the pressure.