Back to work after baby

Back to work after baby

If you are a new mom returning to work after giving birth, you may be wondering how you are going to balance your job with raising a little one.

Here are a few actions you can take to ensure your transition back to your job is as smooth for you, your baby and your co-workers as possible.

Take your leave

While the U.S. lags behind the rest of the developed world in terms of maternity leave, the Family Medical Leave Act guarantees you at least three months of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. As much as your economic and job situation allows, take this time to get used to motherhood.

“Experts say that six weeks is desirable, though 12 may be best to help you and your baby get on a good breastfeeding schedule,” says Marjorie Greenfield, MD, Division Chief of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital. To strengthen your milk supply, practice expressing milk by hand or with a quality breast pump between feedings a few weeks before you return to work. This is also the time to help your baby learn to accept a bottle.

Consider logistics

Dr. Greenfield, author of The Working Woman’s Pregnancy Book, says, “While every woman’s situation is different, think about taking advantage of flexible work options after your maternity leave if your role and employer allow it.” Telecommuting a few days a week may be an excellent way to ensure your boss has the benefit of your expertise – and your baby, the benefit of your presence. Split shifts or part-time schedules can also help.

To ensure you can continue breastfeeding successfully, make sure your workplace offers a private, nonrestroom space to pump. Suitable space and appropriate breaks are required by law.

Stay positive

Remember that perfection is not an option when it comes to motherhood – or anything else. There will be missteps at home and the office. As much as possible, have a sense of humor about them and ask for help when you need it.

Remember you

“To remain effective in all your roles, remember to take care of yourself,” says Dr. Greenfield. “Relax whenever you can. Breathe deeply, meditate or listen to your favorite music. Also, look out for negative stress responses, such as smoking, overeating, overdrinking, drug use or extended bouts of depression. Seek professional help when necessary.” Have periodic get-togethers with other new moms to talk about your challenges. Dr. Greenfield says, “Giving and gaining feedback can help put any roadblocks you are facing into perspective and aid you in finding solutions that work.”

The Working Woman’s Pregnancy Book is available on Amazon.com.

Download FREE breastfeeding resources online

Whether you are a new mom or a seasoned parenting pro, breastfeeding often comes with its fair share of questions. Visit UHhospitals.org/Breastfeeding to find answers.

Marjorie Greenfield

MARJORIE GREENFIELD, MD
Division Chief, General Obstetrics and Gynecology at UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital
Professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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