Going back to work after maternity leave

Going back to work after having a baby

Going back to work after having a baby could be daunting and emotionally challenging for most new moms. Despite the sleepless nights and endless nappy changes, motherhood brings bliss and joy like never before. Waking up to squeals and cries, breastfeeding, watching the tiny arms and legs flail about, rocking the baby to sleep, a new moms life changes in wonderful and unexpected ways.

While it may seem like yesterday that this bundle of joy came into your life, time flies more quickly than you can imagine. Soon the reality of leaving your baby and going back to work looms over your head. Most companies in Dubai offer 45 to 90 days of maternity leave, but more often than not, this may seem very short. You probably didn’t even think about it, but then, the date does get uncomfortably close.

The thought of stepping out of the house and interacting with the world outside could be exciting, but a whole lot of other concerns put you in doubt – if at all you can make the switch from being a full time mum to a working mum. It’s natural to feel apprehensive, but some bit of planning can help you get over the initial jitters and make the transition easier.

  1. Be prepared and face the reality: Your Maternity leave is not forever; if you want to keep the job, then some day or the other, you have to go back to work. The more you avoid thinking about it, the more difficult it gets for you. So remain focused and start preparing yourself for the big day. Consider buying a breast pump, practise expressing milk at home and let your baby adapt to taking bottle feed from someone other than you.
  2. Talk to your employer before you start: Although your employer is expecting you back at the end of your maternity leave, it’s always a good idea to send them an advance notice. If possible, have a chat with your employer or the HR at least a week or two before you join, and explain any specific concerns or requirements that you may have. That way, your employer will have sufficient to time to figure out a new work schedule to suit your needs. If you wish to continue with breastfeeding, request for reasonable breaks and a comfortable place to express milk.
  3. Find a reliable, trustworthy caretaker: You need someone to look after your baby in your absence. Be it your mum, mum-in-law, husband, nanny or a day-care facility; seek support from someone who you trust the most. You don’t want to be preoccupied and worried about your baby’s wellbeing while you’re at work. Make sure you give your baby sufficient time to bond with the caretaker before you join work.
  4. Boost your confidence: If you’re running low on confidence, it might be a good idea to work on your wardrobe and looks. Go for a facial or body massage to get rid of the stress, get your nails and hair groomed and buy some comfortable office wear as you may not fit into the previous ones.
  5. Set a new routine: Work out a new routine for yourself and your baby, at least a week ahead. Try going to bed early with your baby, set a wake up alarm, and follow the nursing routine as if you were going to work. Try leaving the baby with the caretaker for a couple of hours every day.
  6. Plan well: Get organised and make to-do lists daily. Pack your baby’s stuff and pass on any instructions to the caretaker, the previous night. It’s also not easy to kiss good bye to your baby before leaving for office. Especially the initial days could be difficult and challenging. Your baby could be clinging, crying or not wanting to let go. Give yourself some extra time to account for an emotional and not so easy farewell.
  7. Go easy on yourself: Let go off the guilt. Don’t let the emotional conflict affect you and your work. Speak up about your feelings with colleagues and friends. Go easy on work and set reasonable goals. According to a research study, most new moms require at least 4 months to re-adjust and settle down into the job. So keep a positive attitude at all times and work towards achieving the work-life balance. Soon, you and your baby will settle down and enjoy the new routine.

Written by Dr. Arpitha Reddy

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