For many new mums, returning to work after having a baby can be a terrifying prospect. Visions of your little one being scarred by separation anxiety or mistaking the nanny for mummy is enough to keep you awake at night. Fortunately we caught up with international parenting coach, author and founder of Munchkins, Andalene Salvesen to get her top tips on making that transition as painless as possible. Read on…
Mentally prepare yourself
You may think that you are mentally ready for leaving your baby when you return to work, but don’t underestimate the emotional impact it will have on you. To prepare yourself beforehand, practice going out and leaving your baby with a caregiver. Begin with a few shorter trips, like a drive to the mall, and then extend it to a morning out with friends. Little by little you will become used to the idea of being apart.
Be ready for separation anxiety
Separation anxiety can be incredibly distressing for a new mum. To ease the parting, make sure baby has a special comforter or blanket that they can hold when you leave. Even a t-shirt that you sleep in can be helpful, as the smell of you will be a comfort to them.
Prepare for nursing
If you decide to continue breastfeeding after you return to work, make sure that there is somewhere suitable for you to express milk during the day. It needs to be private and clean and there should be a refrigerator nearby for you to store your milk.
Be straight with your boss
It’s important to be clear with your employer about your parenting priorities. Before you return, discuss holidays, sick leave and what alternatives or back-up plans you have in mind if your baby becomes ill.
Keep hubby involved
As mothers it’s easy to forget that we are actually one half of a team, so involve your husband and encourage him to share the load. Before you return to work, sit down and have a frank discussion about who will take on which responsibilities. That way there will be no unmet expectations.
Keep a regular routine
If you’re handing over the reins to a nanny, you have to give them adequate time to bond with your little one before your maternity leave ends. You can help this process by sharing all the little facial expressions, preference and noises your baby makes and what they mean. Also, explain the way your baby likes to be held, burped, cuddled and played with. Each mummy has developed her own unique way of chatting and playing with her baby, but you will need to share those secrets in order to make the transition as easy as possible for your tot.
Maximise your time with baby
When you start back at work, be sure to set your alarm 20 minutes early every morning so that you can feed baby before you leave. This is not only important for your milk flow, but it also gives you and baby much-needed skin-on-skin contact.
Everything always seems 10 times worse when you’re exhausted and overtired, so make sure that this new routine doesn’t get on top of you, by getting to bed early and getting enough rest on the weekends. This is especially important in the beginning when you are trying to settle into a new schedule.
Andalene Salvesen, aka ‘Super Granny’, is a parenting coach and author. To book a consultation with her visit www.munckins.me.