If you’re counting down the days with trepidation until you return to work after having a baby, then you’re not alone. Work is a necessary part of life, especially if you want to give your new baby everything they deserve. It can be one of the most emotional experiences as a mum, evoking sadness, guilt and anxiety. 

We’ve put together this helpful guide to make returning to work that little bit easier and stress free.

1. Get rid of the guilt

This is much easier said than done, and it is totally natural to feel guilty for leaving your baby. The key is to remind yourself why you both need and want to be at work, as well as the fact that it will get easier. “Fake it ‘til you make it” and think about the financial benefits, and the benefits to you as an independent woman. Keep a picture of your baby with you, and remember that there is no evidence to suggest that your child will be harmed in any way if you work.

However, if things do not improve, then it may be necessary to seek help. Postpartum depression can appear at any point during the first year of your baby’s life. If you experience excessive sadness, guilt, insomnia, anxiety or mood swings, then call your doctor.

2. Decide on breast or bottle

Whatever you decide on, make sure that you do your research before you go back to work. If you decide on breast milk, then you may need to pump in advance and freeze it or pump while you work. If you opt for the bottle, you should make sure that you choose the best one for you and your baby, so you know exactly what your baby is being fed while you’re away.

3. Childcare arrangements

This is often one of the biggest decisions that you need to make before returning to work. From both a financial and an emotional point of view, the right childcare is essential for a smooth transition for both of you. Whether it’s a nanny who works in your home, a childminder or a nursery, you need to be confident in your choice so that you can go back to work feeling happy that your baby is happy, too.

Start looking for childcare as early as possible. Some women put their names down for popular nurseries the day they find out they are expecting a baby, but three to six months ahead should be fine. 

4. Reflect on your skills

If part of your worry about returning to work is the fact that you feel like you may be behind on the skills or knowledge needed to be competent, then make sure that you tackle this head on. Whether it’s browsing job vacancies online to identify how eligible you are, or taking a refresher course in the skills you lack, there are lots of things you can do to boost your confidence.

Leaving your baby is never easy, but with these tips, plus a bit of time and getting used to it, returning to work will be like you never left.

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