5 Things You Need To Know Before Going Back To Work After A Baby

Today I’m going to tell you about 5 things you need to know before going back to work after having a baby.

I’ve been back at work 3 months now and while I thought I was prepared there were a few curveballs I wasn’t expecting. 

I’m sure you’ve read the usual “Pack your lunch the night before” type of advice, but this post will help you prepare by talking about the topics no one’s talking about. 

Let’s dive in.

1) You Will Feel Double Guilt

Working mom guilt comes in two parts, and I’m not sure which is worse. 

The first is the guilt that you’re leaving your tiny adorable completely dependent little baby in someone else’s care, the second is that secretly you can’t wait to getaway.

There I’ve said it. 

I love my baby, but I also love time away from her. 

I never appreciated the bliss of being able to eat lunch with two hands until it was taken away, nor did I realise how much I enjoyed adult conversation until I spent all day, every day with incoherent babbling. 

Does this make me a bad mother? Perhaps. 

I have found that being back at work has forced me to be more present and engaged in our time together. 

When I was on maternity I was always trying to get this and that job done. Now our time together is reduced I make a real effort to make it special and fun.

2) You Now Leave On Time

10 Ways Moms Can Balance Work and Family

This part gets me some redemption for my previous point. As much as I love time away, my heart ACHES for my little girl by the end of the day. 

I’m usually ok in the morning, but as the day goes on I find myself looking at the clock more and more. I think about her and what she’s likely doing, is she missing me…

And oh my life, the sheer fear of missing bedtime! 

That I might get home and she’s already clocked out for the night tears me to pieces. I usually get home around 8 pm so I know eventually I’ll start missing bedtimes, but god I hope it’s no time soon.

A side effect of this has been I organise my time so much better at work. I find slots in the day to do my calls, and finish my notes instead of leaving them till the end of the day. 

Suddenly, after nearly a decade of never leaving work on time, I am almost never late out the door. 

3) Pumping At Work Is A Pain

Pumping at work is getting on my last nerve.

I’ve tried a few different pumps now and come to the conclusion that no amount of padding will make having fluid suction pumped out of my nipples an enjoyable experience

I’m very fortunate to have my own office to pump in, and a small close-knit team I don’t feel uncomfortable about popping in mid-session. 

What I do find infuriating is having to take the time out of my day. I’m pretty speedy but by the time I’ve got it out of the fridge, attached to me, pumped for 10 minutes, decanted the milk, detached it from me and put everything back in the fridge I’ve lost at least 20 minutes

Every. Few. Hours. 

I’m chasing my tail every day trying to make up that loss of productivity.

I did try to reduce the frequency of sessions but I ended up with rock hard lumps in both boobs and a fear of mastitis has stopped me from trying that again. 

I don’t know how long our breastfeeding journey will last, but the global average of 4 years seems unrealistic at this stage. I’ll keep you posted.

4) You Are Not Prepared For The Extreme Tiredness

You will fantasize about doing this on your work floor. I promise you.

Everyone knows babies are tiring and new parents are sleep deprived right? But wow, even though I knew, I was not prepared for this at all. 

I am no stranger to sleep deprivation. In college, I would be on call all night and still expected to turn up for a full day as normal the next day. As a young vet, I dabbled in night work and occasionally picked up emergency shifts on top of my normal job. 

But I’ve since discovered the difference between those and motherhood, is they were temporary. Eventually, the shift or rotation would end and I could head home to sleep as much as I wanted.

All weekend if I needed to. 

Parenting is relentless and compounding. There’s no catching up on sleep after a bad night, you’re in the trenches day after day. 

Maternity was manageable without sleep. Mostly I got up and spent the day keeping the baby alive and reasonably happy. A mammoth task occasionally, but not particularly neurologically challenging. 

Work is an entirely different kettle of fish. Suddenly I’m making decisions, sometimes life or death, about someone’s beloved family pet on three hours worth of sleep.

Or I’m sitting in the monthly progress meeting trying to contribute meaningfully when all I want to do is grab a thick, soft duvet and curl up on the floor.

If you’re heading back to work I implore you, break yourself in gently if you can. Delegate tasks where you can. Your baby may be a fab sleeper now, but that can change very quickly.

5) You Won’t Miss Your Pre-Mom Life As Much As You Thought

Pre-pregnancy I had a full and active social life, during pregnancy I lay ill on the sofa dreaming of the full and active social life I would have after I gave birth.

Jamie and I talked about how we’d each still have our own interests and split childcare accordingly.

Turns out I’m not particularly interested in pursuing a social life that doesn’t include Christina. 

Now, as a caveat, I will say she was born at the start of the covid pandemic so options to socialise have been slim to none. 

But honestly, I haven’t missed it. Yes I’ve been sad when we’ve been locked down, and I definitely would have seen friends and family more without covid

But nights out and partying? I think I’m done. 10pm’s a late night for me these days and I’m ok with that.

I’ve swapped Cava for co-sleeping and I have no regrets

When Do You Go Back To Work?

Reach out and let me know when your due to go back

What are you most worried about?

You can either comment below or message me directly here