Get Ready! Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave Can be Tough

Get Ready! Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave Can be Tough!

Written by Jessica Lanerie, M.D. on Apr 18, 2015, 10:00:00 AM

Staying home with your baby during maternity leave can be one of the most rewarding and special times of your life. But when maternity leave is over, it can be difficult for you and your family once you return to work. Not only has your baby gotten used to having you home, but chances are, so has your significant other and any other children you may have. While this may take some getting used to, here are my six tips for easing your way back into the 9-to-5 life based on my own experience as a working mom.

  1. Have a plan.
What kind of childcare will you seek when you go back to work? Will you leave your child with a family member who stays home? A nanny? With an in-home daycare or a childcare center? This is perhaps the biggest issue to deal with before you head back to work. Weighing the pros and cons for each option is important. 
  1. Consider drop-off and pick-up times when evaluating childcare options.
Do you have time to get your baby ready and dropped off in the morning? What time can you pick your baby up? Some childcare centers close at 6. If you’re working far away, traffic may not allow you to get to the center in time without incurring additional fees for the staff having to stay late. Talk with your significant other and determine what kind of daily time frame you’re working with to help narrow down what option will work for your family. 
  1. In-home childcare offers advantages.
Obviously, leaving your child with a loved and trusted family member is an option that comes with a lot of security. In-home care means that your child won’t be exposed to different colds and illnesses that other children at a childcare center may have, so they will likely get sick less often than a child at a childcare center. In-home childcare is usually easier on parents because your baby doesn’t have to leave the house – there isn’t any long process to get them ready in the morning or pick them up in the evening. 
  1. Childcare centers are regulated, but nannies may not be.

Childcare centers are regulated by the state and have to maintain licensure, which is not necessarily the case with nannies, so the benefit of taking your child to a childcare center is that there will be more oversight of its employees. It is important to ask questions. Talk to parents in your neighborhood, research the center’s reviews online, or visit the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services site for help in finding a credible child care facility in Texas. 

  1. Know your rights and what is available to you at work.
Before maternity leave, talk to your employer about what will be available to you when you come back to work. According to the Affordable Care Act of 2010, employers with 50 or more employees are required by law to provide reasonable break times and a clean place, other than a bathroom, for moms to pump until their baby is 12 months of age. Another item to add to your “to-do” list before having your baby is to make sure you have a good breast pump, especially if you’ll be pumping at the office. These can generally be provided through insurance, so call the number on the back of your insurance card to see what the requirements are for qualification. 
  1. Mentally prepare for separation.

Leaving your baby after you’ve been home for three months can be very difficult for some mothers. After having your undivided attention, it can be difficult for your baby, too. That’s why, before you return to work, it’s a good idea to take some practice trips away from your little one. Spend a couple of hours out of the house and away from the baby a few weeks before you go back to work. This is a good time for you both to get used to the separation, and it’s also a good time for your baby to practice taking a bottle, which is something they’ll need to do while you’re gone for eight hours or more each day. This time apart will help both of you get ready for what lies ahead.  


Dr. Jessica Lanerie is a pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Sienna Plantation ClinicAfter receiving her medical degree from Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Medicine in 2013, Dr. Lanerie completed a residency in Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in 2016. Her clinical interests include weight management, asthma and eczema.


Topics: working moms, going back to work after having a baby, childcare, maternity leave, child care

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