Every parent will feel differently about returning to work. We’d like to preface this blog by telling you that whatever you are feeling is okay. Whether you’re excited to find a new routine, sad to be leaving your bub, or anxious about returning to your role, please remember that your feelings are valid. This is a time of great change, so remember to hold space for your emotions and be kind to yourself. You’re doing great, mums and dads.
If you’ve decided that it's time to get back to work, what can you expect? How should you prepare? Read on for some top tips, plus some words of wisdom from the LittleOak family.
Simplify your life, and negotiate flexible work conditions
With a new bub, you are busy enough as it is. Try to cultivate a routine that truly serves you. Do you have upcoming commitments that you’d really rather not attend? It’s okay to say no. When you’re adjusting to such a new routine, it's important to reassess your priorities and make sure that you still have space for your own relaxation. Next, we recommend having open conversations with your employer about flexible work conditions; you now have the responsibility of caring for a child, so you might need to change your hours or your patterns of work (we are a team of parents, and we live by this!).
Know what you’re entitled to
For mums who breastfeed, make sure you know your rights and understand what support systems are in place for you at your place of employment. Does your employer provide a breastfeeding/expressing room? Have they been accommodating towards employees returning to work while breastfeeding? Try to familiarise yourself so you know what to expect by the time you return and can ensure you will have adequate support. If you will be pumping at work, be sure to use a high quality breast pump that aligns with your needs (how long you need to pump for, how much time you have etc.)
Let go of guilt
Did you feel relieved when you went for a walk and escaped the screaming baby? Are you craving adult conversation, instead of baby talk? There’s nothing wrong with that, and those feelings are completely normal.
It’s common for these twinges of guilt to stir up again when new parents leave their bubs for the first time to return to work. It’s also common for parents who are not returning to work to feel guilty too. It’s an impossible dilemma. You’re trying to strike that balance between being a working parent, while also being as present as possible for your little ones—it's no easy task. In fact, in her book Forget Having it All, author Amy Westervelt states that “We expect women to work like they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work.”
All this is to say, whether you’re returning to work or not, feelings of guilt are extremely common among parents; it’s important to be kind to yourself. You can only do your best, and as long as you continue to provide love and comfort to your little ones, they will be just fine. Push away those feelings of guilt, remember to forgive yourself and ask for help when you need it.
To all you new parents out there, you are doing fantastic. While there will be days filled with tears (and not just the baby’s), remember how far you’ve come. Please reach out to our Careline team if you have questions or need support – we are always here for you.
LittleOak has been nourishing children for many years and feeds millions of infants, babies and children across the globe each and every day, in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. In the US, we're proud to have our FDA compliant Toddler Drink available for families