Going back to work
Whether your maternity leave is coming to an end, or you’re returning to work after being off for a while, there’s lots to think about to help everything run as smoothly as possible. Here’s our guide to some of the main things you’ll have a think about, to make going back to work a good experience for everyone involved
Returning to work as a mum
Going back to work after having a baby can be a great help for family finances. Another benefit for your baby or toddler is being with others who may approach things differently from you. Whether it’s a childminder, nanny, a nursery with other children or a family member, they will all provide new stimulation. New songs, toys, books and games will contribute towards your baby’s development too. And feeling safe and secure at nursery or with a child minder can be a great boost for their confidence and independence.
Finding the right childcare – starting early
Starting your childcare search as soon as you know you’re returning to work will give you lots more choice, and also a chance to visit if you need to. The options depend on various things, including how many hours and days you’re planning to work. Cost is an important factor too, along with whether you want your baby or toddler to be looked after one-to-one by a childminder, grandparent or nanny, or if you’d prefer them to play with other children in a nursery. It may be that doing a mixture of both is best for you and your little one.
Recommendations can be worth their weight in gold, so ask around your friends and family why they chose the childcare option they did. Your local health board and the National Childminding Association are other places to find help in your area. Once you’ve got a list together, you can start visiting and interviewing them to find the childcare that fits best with you and your family. It’s always good to ask for references, who you can then contact to have a chat about their experiences.
Breastfeeding as a working mum
If you want to carry on breastfeeding after going back to work, you may need to express milk during the day. You should contact your employer early on to let them know that you’ll need a few things:
• Breaks for expressing
• A private, comfortable place
• A fridge to store your milk
If you would rather not express at work, you can build up a milk supply in the freezer for your childminder or nursery carer to give using bottles. Read our article on how to express and store breast milk for more help. You can then continue breastfeeding when you’re at home, especially just before going to work and when you get home. Your milk supply may take a few days to adjust, so it’s probably worth reducing the daytime feeds a little while before you go back, to give your body time to respond.
Other breastfeeding working mums will have loads of tips and advice to share, and our Facebook page is a great place to hear about all kinds of experiences. Your healthcare professional will be able to talk through all your options too, to help you make the best choices for you and your baby.