Going Back To Work After Parental Leave: What To Expect

Hands holding baby's feet

Going back to work after a baby is hard. Whether you’re a mom or on parental leave, your baby has been the center of your world for weeks. From preparing for their arrival to daily walks, the two of you have found a rhythm.

How can you make sure that you and your baby thrive and adjust when you go back to work? 

Putting mental health first

Parental separation anxiety is normal, especially when going back to work after maternity leave. Take care of yourself during this time. A massage, a warm bath, movie night with your partner: a little downtime goes a long way. 

Above all, enjoy these last few weeks with your little one. In ramping up to retuning to work after a parental leave, it's easy to miss out on the magic of this time. 

Finding child care will take time

Finding the perfect nanny makes it easier to go back to work after your baby. Services like Nanny Lane simplify the process. We offer advice on the best nanny interview questions, tips for a successful nanny trial, and what to include in a nanny contract.

That said, any transition takes time. It's completely normal to feel guilty, sad, and anxious. You want to know your child is in good hands. 

Fortunately, you can hire a capable and loving nanny who creates a safe and caring environment while you're away. Nanny Lane can help you with your search. 

Easing back into work after parental leave

Explore what a transition to going back to work might look like. It may not need to be all or nothing.

More and more companies accommodate valued employees returning to work after maternity leave. If you have a supportive boss, discuss flexibility: Can you work remotely? Is a 4-day week an option? Half days? It's worth a conversation.

If flexibility isn’t realistic, try asking for a short week on your first week back. Starting mid-week will make the weekend (and the down-time and snuggles) come faster.

Changing breastfeeding patterns

When thinking about your first day back at work after the baby, there are some practical challenges to overcome like breastfeeding. The choice to keep breastfeeding is a personal one. If you opt to breastfeed when going back to work after maternity leave, you'll need to pump.

Successful pumping takes practice. Pump once a day. The best time to pump is right after your morning feed. Start at least a month before heading back to boost your frozen milk supply. 

If this is your first time bottle-feeding, include your partner in the process. Even if you won't be returning to work after maternity leave, the sooner your baby accepts a bottle from others, the better.

You'll also have to pump at work. Let your boss know that you'll need extra time each day. If you're in the office, make sure you can find a private spot. 

Practicing the first day back at work

Prep for your first day back to work by doing some practice runs: What will the average morning look like? What will it take to get out the door? 

Nail-down a new routine, so your baby knows what to expect. Trade-off with your partner while you both shower and dress. 

You can even practice walking out the front door and saying goodbye. Say “bye-bye” as quickly and cheerfully as possible. Your baby takes their cues from you: if you don't fret, they won't either.

If you can, ask your nanny to start a week early to help with the transition. Run some errands while the baby is in their care, or, better yet, meet a friend for coffee.

Leaving the house without your child helps you experience how it will feel to be apart when you’re back at work. 

Conversely, if your baby is starting at a daycare, see if you can do a test run for an hour or so to help them adjust.

And remember that your partner can ask for flexibility at work too. 

Needing a support system

You're already superhuman as a new parent – but that doesn't mean you have to go it alone. What if the nanny calls in sick or your meeting runs late? 

Make sure you have people who can step in if needed. Get a list of friends and family you can count on in a pinch. 

Navigating childcare and work is a balancing act. Anyone who's been there knows that and might be willing to help. 

Feeling conflicted about going back to work after baby

No matter what your career was pre-parenthood, if you liked it before, you probably still will.

That said, after serious baby bonding, it can feel confusing —wrong, even, to embrace your professional side again. 

Thankfully, our narrow definition of parenthood, and especially motherhood, has changed. 

You can be both a mother and a professional. More importantly, you can enjoy both! You model the kind of life you want for your baby by having professional and personal goals.

Simplifying wherever possible

It’s a busy time. Consider outsourcing and paying for certain services.  

At Nanny Lane, we understand how overwhelming parenthood is. We’re here for you at every step, from finding qualified candidates’ profiles and navigating background checks to managing payments. We’ve got you covered!

Share this article
Someone that you know might find this helpful.

Start your journey towards finding your perfect nanny

Please choose your location.