How to Prepare to Go Back to Work After Baby
One of the biggest challenges new mothers face is going back to work after maternity leave. It is filled with emotional and practical issues, but with planning, you can make it a smooth and happy transition for both you and baby.
General Childcare Concerns
- Timing is perhaps the most important issue for most families. Many will start daycare after the first set of vaccines, at about two months.
- Schedules are also a factor and need to be worked out. Who's dropping off and picking up and is it practical for that person to stick to that schedule? Do you take turns handling situations at daycare when baby needs to be picked up early?
- Adhere to their hours of operation—not doing so can be expensive or might even cause the daycare to ask you to find another option.
- The daycare's sick policy is critical. Many daycares give you a window of time to pick your baby up if they notice a fever. However, delays can mean extra charges.
In-home vs. Daycare Center
- When choosing a daycare provider, be sure to ask yourself how many other children you want your baby to be around. More established daycares tend to be larger, which means more children and better socialization, but also more viruses and other variables.
- Ask about what kind of schedule they maintain for all children, not just newborns. You'll get an idea of whether or not it's a good option for your baby in the years ahead. Some are free-play-type facilities, while others offer structured activities and learning.
- Make sure any in-home daycare is licensed. This means they have met certain expectations for safety and health. Ask to see the license or check with your community's licensing agency—not every daycare that advertises is licensed.
Breastfeeding Baby at Work
- Pumping will allow you to deliver breast milk for your baby's feeding to whatever daycare you choose.
- Each state is different when it comes to breastfeeding laws and allowances that need to be made for new moms who need to pump.
- Many state laws require any job with more than a certain number of employees to provide break time so mom can provide breastmilk for her baby. However, others do not.
- Be sure to discuss pumping with your employer. Most jobs will be supportive but understand their expectations. Also, consider consulting with a labor attorney to understand your rights in your state.
- Work may provide a refrigerator to store your pumped breastmilk, or you may have to provide one or even bring a cooler with ice for storage.
- Be sure you understand where you can pump as well. Some state laws require your employer to provide a private place to pump.