Returning to Work After Baby: Tips for New Mom Work-Life Balance

New mom working from home with baby

Returning to Work After Baby: Tips for New Mom Work-Life Balance

TL;DR: Returning to work after baby can be challenging and emotional. This blog offers practical tips and support for new moms transitioning back to the workforce, emphasizing a balance between professional and parental duties.  

  • Setting Realistic Expectations: Understand that it takes time to adjust to a new normal at work and with baby care. 
  • Easing into Your Routine: Start with a part-time or flexible schedule to ease the transition. 
  • Breastfeeding and Pumping Tips: Plan pumping sessions and know your rights in the workplace for space and time. 
  • Building a Support Network: Lean on family, friends, and co-workers to help navigate your new dual responsibilities. 
  • Celebrating Motherhood: Keep your bond close with meaningful keepsakes like breastmilk jewelry. 

Returning to work after maternity leave can bring a whirlwind of emotions. It can be bittersweet for new moms who are excited to reconnect with their professional lives and colleagues but feel the anxiety of leaving their little ones for even just a few hours. 

Alongside these emotions also come practical considerations. Will you be able to pump at work? How will postpartum hormones affect your day-to-day?  

Today, we’ll explore practical tips and advice on how to balance your work life and your new role as a mom. We’ll cover everything from pumping to the importance of building a supportive network to help you feel more prepared and less overwhelmed going back to work after baby. 

Setting the Stage for Return: Expectations vs. Reality 

One recent study found that 98% of women want to return to work after maternity leave. However, only 13% say it’s actually viable for them on a full-time basis. 

This isn’t to say that going back to work after baby isn’t possible, but that it’s challenging.  

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions including excitement about returning to work, guilt about leaving your baby, and anxiety about managing it all. By setting realistic expectations and being kind to yourself, you can create a solid foundation for this transition. 

Here are a few things to realistically expect when re-entering the workforce: 

  • Expectation: You’ll seamlessly slip back into your pre-baby routine. 
  • Reality: It will take time to adjust to a new normal. Your schedule will likely be tighter, and you will need to be more flexible with deadlines. 
  • Expectation: You’ll be 100% focused and productive all day. 
  • Reality: Interruptions and distractions are inevitable, especially if you’re pumping breast milk or receiving childcare updates. 
  • Expectation: You’ll feel the same level of attachment and confidence in your work as before. 
  • Reality: It’s common to experience a dip in confidence or question your career choices after parental leave. 

Another way to ease the change is to get baby used to being without you. Arrange for short periods of childcare beforehand, like running errands or attending appointments, before you return to work. 

Easing into Your Routine as a New Mom 

With the stage set, it’s time to ease back into your work routine as a parent. Here are some practical tips that can make returning to work easier: 

  • Don’t jump headfirst: Resist the urge to dive back into a full workload right away. A gradual transition helps you and your family adjust to a new routine. 
  • Start small: Consider a phased return with reduced hours or a temporary part-time schedule (if offered by your workplace) to allow for adjustments. This helps you decide if a full-time return to work is feasible and gives you time to establish routines and set up childcare. 
  • Discuss options with your manager: Explore potential flexibility in your schedule, like condensed workweeks or adjusted start and end times to accommodate childcare needs. Depending on your position, working from home may also be an option. 
  • Prepare your workspace: Set up a dedicated work area at home (if working remotely) to minimize distractions during your work hours. You can also prepare your office in the workspace with any essentials like a pump or new pictures of your little one so everything is set up on your return. 
  • Communicate with colleagues: Let them know you’re transitioning back and may need extra time to catch up or complete tasks. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries at work that are in the best interest of your health and home life.  
  • Embrace Flexibility: Planners or organization apps can be a lifesaver for keeping everything organized. But it’s also important to embrace flexibility as a working mom and be kind to yourself when plans need to change. 

Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms at Work 

For breastfeeding moms, going back to work after baby also brings the consideration of how to feed your baby.  

Balancing work and breastfeeding requires planning and preparation. It’s important to continue with regular feedings or pumping sessions throughout the workday to maintain milk production. Consider planning pumping sessions to mimic your baby’s feeding schedule (ideally every 2-3 hours). You can find many convenient portable pumps that help make these sessions a breeze.  

Pumping Tips for New Moms 

Pumping at work may feel odd at first, but there are laws in place to ensure new moms can safely and comfortably do so. 

Here are a handful of tips specifically for pumping

  • Know your rights: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guarantees reasonable break time and a private space for nursing mothers. An employer may not deny a covered employee a needed break to pump. 
  • Make arrangements: Make sure you are being provided with a clean, private space to pump. A bathroom is not a permissible location according to the FLSA.  

Baby Care Tips for New Moms Returning to Work 

Mom pumping breastmilk while working from home

Going back to work after baby is a delicate balance of maintaining professional performance while accommodating new maternal needs. To take care of your little one, it’s also important to take care of yourself during this transition. 

Some of the best ways to make sure you can find work-life balance in this new stage of life include: 

  • Getting enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can affect your performance at work and at home. Make sure to prioritize sleep and request support during nighttime routines or early mornings. 
  • Practicing self-care: Find moments of self-care throughout the day, whether that’s deep breathing exercises at work or taking a warm bath when you get home to recharge.  
  • Building a support network: It takes a village to raise a child – and also to support new moms. Lean on your partner, colleagues, and your community to help with the transition.  

Keep your little one close to your heart as you return to the office with a sentimental piece of breastmilk jewelry. Shop our full collection of breastmilk jewelry and order today at KeepsakeMom. 

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