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June 30, 2016 – 9:41 AM | No Comment

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Going Back to Work After a Baby: Five Tips for Transitioning

Submitted by on February 17, 2016 – 12:46 PMNo Comment
Going Back to Work After a Baby: Five Tips for Transitioning

Carrying a baby for nine months is hard, caring for a baby in the weeks after birth is even harder, and going back to work once your maternity leave is over might be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. Here are five tips for making the transition as smooth as possible – for you and your baby.

#1 – If You Breastfeed, Start Building a Stockpile Early

Many breastfeeding moms who went back to work at the end of 12 weeks find that they misjudged the amount of breastmilk they would need to have on hand. Remember that breastmilk keeps nicely in the freezer for as long as six months, so it never hurts to have more than you think you will need. What’s more, remember that you should introduce a bottle at least two weeks before going back to work so that your little one has time to accept the bottle and make the transition.

#2 – Hold “Practice Runs” a Week Before Going Back to Work

You and your baby will both need to adjust to your new schedule, so holding “practice runs” each day a week before you return to work is a great idea. Wake baby up at the time you’ll need to get up when you go back to work, and try to follow your babysitter or daycare provider’s naptime and feeding schedules, as well. Finally, start incorporating the new bedtime into the mix. This gives you both time to adjust to the way things will be when you really do need to head back to work.

#3 – Keep Track of Your Baby’s Sleeping Habits

Many parents and caregivers notice that babies simply do not sleep as well in childcare as they do at home with their parents, so it is a great idea to keep a log of your baby’s sleeping habits after going back to work – at least for a while. If your little one does not get enough sleep, this could lead to overtiredness, which in turn leads to nighttime waking and more stress for everyone. If you find that your baby is not sleeping enough, consider an earlier bedtime, especially during the week, to compensate for your baby’s lack of naps.

#4 – Work on Sleep Coaching

Simply put, sleep coaching is the process by which you teach your baby to fall asleep without aid from you, but it is only a viable suggestion if your baby is at least four months old.  If up until now you’ve rocked, fed, or held your baby until he or she has fallen asleep, now is a great time to start your coaching. This process teaches your baby to soothe him or herself back to sleep upon waking in the middle of the night, which can reduce the amount of time you spend awake during the nighttime hours.

#5 – Remember to Take Time for Yourself

Going back to work after having a baby can be draining, both emotionally and physically. There is no denying that you will miss the time you spent bonding with baby after his or her birth, so you may try to fill every single second of your off time caring for your little one. Remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time for yourself. Ask a friend, your husband, or another family member to tend to the baby while you read a book, take a long bath, or enjoy your favorite hobby for an hour or so each day.

If you will be going back to work soon, these five tips can help make the transition less traumatic for you and your baby. For the most part, it’s all about practicing early so that your little one – and yourself – can enjoy a good night’s sleep and plenty of time for bonding.

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