By Natalie Fitzgerald
First things first, we all know that being a mom is work. It’s a full-time job to care for, nurture, and keep a tiny human (or a few tiny humans) alive. It is hands-down the hardest, best job. So stop right there and give yourself a moment of appreciation. That said, for some of us, our work is at home full time with our babies, and for others our work is shared outside of the home. Wearing so many different hats can be a challenge to juggle, especially when you’re preparing to go back to work after several weeks or months of maternity leave. Before you panic about how you’re going to manage it all, take a deep breath, make a checklist, and set yourself up for success with these tips on transitioning back to work.
Wardrobe: Don’t wait until the week before you’re set to clock back in to start thinking about your work wardrobe. What time of year will you be heading back to work? Will your postpartum body be comfortable in the wardrobe you have? Will you be pumping at work? If so, consider nursing-friendly outfits and tops so you don’t have to completely de-robe.
Sleep: It’s hard to work on little sleep, and I’ll be the first to tell you that doesn’t need to be your norm! Babies actually need a ton of sleep for proper growth and development, just as adults need adequate sleep to function on the daily. As a sleep consultant, I work with families all the time who are transitioning into a new routine with work. Contact me through one of the links in my bio below if you and your baby need help getting more sleep.
Childcare: Start thinking about childcare early, even before you have the baby if you live somewhere with crowded or limited daycare options. The last thing you want to stress about is who will be caring for your child while you’re preparing to go back to work. What type of childcare is aligned with your budget and parenting style? Are there options near your home or workplace? Will you have family help, or a nanny at home? You can read more about choosing the childcare that’s right for your family here.
Prioritize and Set Limits: There is only so much of you to go around. Prioritize your time, where and how you spend it, and with whom. For many of us working moms that means most of our time is spent between our family and work. Don’t overbook your weekends. Your friends who love and support you will understand.
Give Grace: To yourself, to your family, to your caretakers, to your colleagues. Getting into a new routine can be an adjustment for everyone!
Natalie Fitzgerald is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula.
Natalie's approach to sleep training is tailored to each family she works with, meeting them exactly where they are and developing a customized plan to help them reach their sleep goals, based on their unique baby's needs and their parenting style. Natalie walks alongside families during the time they need the most support, encouraging parents and helping them find a rhythm that works best with their baby and lifestyle.
Natalie is also a member of the Postpartum Health Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders.
She lives in San Diego with her little ones: Connor (7yrs), Kate (4yrs), and Makenna (1.5yrs).
You can follow Natalie or reach out to her with questions on Instagram and Facebook.