Going back to work, whether you're ready or not, is always bittersweet. For some, you're excited to get back to your job where you can stimulate your brain again and feel like you're important and as though you are making a difference. For others, you are sad to be leaving your sweet baby and don't know how you can get through your day without them.
Going back to work for me is good. I enjoy what I do, I enjoy using my brain at a higher level other than singing mickey mouse clubhouse or playing legos all day, and I enjoy my co-workers. Yes, I do get sad when my maternity leave is nearing the end, but not really sad about going back to work as much as I am sad about my baby getting older, bigger, and not being my squishy newborn anymore.
If you didn't know, I work part time as a NICU nurse. That means I work 6 (12 hour) night shifts in a month. Of those shifts I work every third weekend, which makes me the most sad because that is when we are able to spend our most time as a complete family, but that's part of being a nurse and it is what it is. For me the balance between staying home most of the time, and working part of the time is just what I need to stay sane. I feel very fortunate to be able to do both, and as much as I'd love to be a SAHM (stay at home mom) I also love my job and feel incredibly grateful to care for such tiny humans in their most vulnerable time of life.
Now I've "gone back to work" three times now. I'd say each time gets easier, but again it's always bittersweet. There are a few things I've learned along the way to help make the transition easier and hopefully allow you to have a positive return back!
5 tips for going back to work after baby:
Plan ahead. Get all of your stuff ready and packed the night before. Be sure you have all the correct supplies if you will be pumping at work. Order lactation supplements to help give you a boost, and get a pump free nursing bra so you can eat, scroll social media, and look through pics of your baby on your phone all while pumping your titties.
Child Care. The last thing you want to do is worry about who is caring for your child while you're at work. Figure out who will watch your child whether it be a daycare center, home daycare, nanny, family member, or friend.. knowing who will be watching your child and having someone lined up will help put you at ease. Oh and maybe whomever is watching your babies will send you cute pics throughout the day.. BONUS!
Milk Supply. Start your freezer stash EARLY. I've always started pumping once I got home from the hospital at least once/twice per day. Once in the morning and once in the evening to help build up my freezer stash for when I go back to work or for date nights! Stressing about your milk supply or not having enough when the time comes is the last thing you want to be doing, so building that freezer supply early on will help ease your stress and create a nice stash in your freezer.
Treat Yo self. Buy yourself something new that you'll use at work and get you excited about going back. Kinda like back to school shopping lol but back to work shopping. As a nurse, I bought myself a new lunchbox (cool stuff) and a pair of new tennis shoes since I'm always on my feet. If you work a desk job, buy yourself a new planner or comfy clothes to wear or if you're a fitness instructor buy yourself a new work out outfit! And definitely treat yourself to a starbucks on the way into work because you DESERVE IT MAMA!
Give yourself grace. You may be a little rusty at your job, you've got mom brain now (the never ending pregnancy brain lol) but don't let it get you discouraged. You will pick it back up in no time, and you can do this. Don't beat yourself up. It's okay to miss your baby and think of them often.. mom guilt is real and no one will understand until they become a mom themselves, but know that your baby is fine, you are a freaking rockstar, and you are the best mom to that baby there ever could be!
Now go show them who’s boss! You will do great, I know you will. Afterall, you’re raising a freaking human which is the toughest and most rewarding job there ever was!