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One of the most difficult things to do after having a baby isn't being up all night with a fussy baby, or messy diaper explosions. The hardest thing to do is to go back to work. It's a decision that most moms don't take lightly and everyone has their reasons for doing what they do. Leaving baby the first few times is so difficult, even if it is just with grandma so you can run to the store. The questions run through your head, is she going to get hungry, will grandma be able to soothe her??? How will she do taking a bottle??? It's never easy. Here are some tips to help you with the transition of returning to work.
Preparing yourself and your baby for a separation of a few hours is essential to make a smooth return to work. Do a trial run or two by leaving baby with their caregiver for a couple of hours. Go and get your hair done, go grocery shopping, or buy some new clothes. Just get a couple of hours away from baby. Even if the caregiver who will be with baby when you are at work isn't available, leave baby with dad so you and the child can adjust to the separation.
Practice your mornings. Do you need to be at work at 8 am? Do you normally wake up at 6:30 and that gave you plenty of time to get ready, eat and get to work? Well, surprise! It's not that easy anymore. Do a couple of practice mornings. Wake up, shower, get dressed, eat, you know all the things you normally do and then do it for the baby too. You might discover that the baby takes more than 15 minutes to feed in the morning. Plus you know she will need a diaper change the moment you are ready to go. And how about dropping her off at daycare, how much time will that add to your morning?
Have a list ready for your baby's caregiver so they know what you and the baby expect. Does baby have a sleep schedule or specific routine at home that you wish to follow? Does baby have certain allergies or sensitivities? Do you need to have hourly updates and photos sent to you? Then let the caregiver know. For me frequent updates eases my stress and reassures me that baby is okay. If baby is okay, then I am okay.
Ease Into It
Schedule yourself to go back to work in the middle of the week, or on the last day of the week so that you only have to get through a few days the first time away. This was one of the best things I did when returning to work with the older girls. Personally, I work three shifts a week and those are mostly on the weekend. I scheduled my first day back to work to be on a Sunday, which is my short shift, so I can work and then be home for a few days before going back again, to kind of ease baby and myself into the separation.