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5 Tips to Ease your Return From Maternity Leave

Learn how to make the transition back to work as smooth as possible.

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The first week back to work is both emotionally stressful and physically exhausting. New moms often operate on less than ideal sleep. They may be concerned with issues of childcare, or with schedules related to feeding, pumping, and napping. Some may feel self-conscious of their postpartum figure. Some may also feel that they are expected to pop right back to work, without missing a beat, despite this very large life event. The good news is that most employers recognize the significance of having a baby and are there to help make the transition back to work more manageable.

Please note that while this article is directed toward mothers returning from maternity leave, the suggestions are also applicable to anyone returning from family-related leave or from medical leave.

Try these five tips to make the transition smoother. If you have any additional tips for new mothers, please share them in the comments section below.

  1. Give yourself permission to feel emotional on your first day back to work. Some new moms are ready to jump right in and feel guilty that they are so excited to get back to work. Other new moms feel guilty leaving their baby and may resent going back to work. Allow yourself to have these feelings and remind yourself that it is normal to be more emotional than you might expect.
  2. Ask your manager or HR representative about any support groups at your organization. Many organizations have resources for new mothers. If your manager hasn’t offered these to you yet, be sure to inquire. If you cannot find a support group within your company, look for an online support group. It helps to vent and share with those who are in a similar position.
  3. Accept that lunch or coffee date. Take advantage of some grownup (sans baby) time to catch up with a colleague or to learn some tips from another new mom. While being social may be the last thing on your agenda, consider making this more of a priority. Quality grownup time can make the transition smoother and help you feel like you are a part of the team.
  4. Jot down any outstanding questions that you have about job duties and upcoming projects. It’s common to be a bit forgetful when you first jump back to work. So, if you are confused about a project or deliverable, don’t fret—just ask for more details. The only bad questions are those that are not asked. This adage is especially true when you have been away from your desk for a while.
  5. Ask your boss for a touch-base meeting. It’s a great idea to meet with your boss to find out how she thinks things are going. Find out which projects should be on top of your to-do list. And maybe even show her a picture of your little one!

Copyright© 2020 Amy Cooper Hakim