Maternal Tips: Choosing When To Return To Work

Options to consider when making the decision about returning to work after your child is born. Factors to consider for new mothers back at the job.

There are many things to take into consideration when deciding when to return (or "if," in some cases) once your new baby is born. When you become pregnant, you may have already worked everything out in your mind:

- Take a twelve-week maternity leave, worked out ahead of time with your employer. (pretty standard)

- Leave your baby with the best possible caregivers to blissfully play with other babies.

- Pump breast milk during breaks between working if you are not using formula.

Seems straight forward, right?

Easy enough . . .

Then comes the actual birth of the child. Reality sets in. This complicates and confuses everything that seemed so clear and straightforward just nine short months ago. Bonding begins, routines emerge and the idea of leaving your infant appears ridiculous when mentioned by anyone. Thoughts of panic and frustration rush into your mind, "Twelve weeks! What was I thinking?" Calm down, these are natural thoughts. If you are not ready to return to work by the time that your baby is twelve weeks old, you may wish to speak to your employer about adding sick days and vacation time. If you are still not ready, then it is time to explore other options.

How you feed your child must also be taken into consideration when weighing your decision. If your child is fed formula, then you should have no trouble using a caregiver outside the fact that you don't want to leave your child. It gets a little more complicated when you breast-feed your child and they will not take a bottle. (Adding further complication to what you thought was a pretty straightforward situation.) What do you do? You have a few options:

- If possible, discuss with your employer about waiting four to six months before returning to work. By this time, your child will be able to eat solids and can go longer without feeling the need to nurse.

- You may want to consider exploring the possibilities of telecommunication from home for your employer.

- Work part time with shorter shifts for a different employer, if your current employer is unable to change working conditions.

- Find a job with a daycare on the premises or nearby so you can feed your infant during breaks between work or, if you have a flexible work situation, feed on demand.

You also may be thinking about the possibility of not returning to work. Many thousands of women debate about either being a stay at home or work at home mother. If you are in a financial situation that allows you to do so, then by all means go forth without guilt. Parenting is considered by some to be the most difficult job in the world. This often goes under appreciated by many outside of the situation because there is no monetary compensation. Do not let this discourage you should your decision to stay home to raise your child be made. Your work is both valued and supported, or at least should be, by your family.

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