Considerations for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Image Credit: Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

With beautiful new mum and Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, intending to only take six week’s maternity leave, there has been lots of discussion around the challenges woman face getting back to work. Whilst there is no right or wrong time (if ever) to return to the workforce, when deciding to go back there are number of factors to keep in mind:

Childcare

Unlike Jacinda Ardern, for many the costs of traditional childcare outweigh the increase in earnings gained by returning to the office. Before deciding to go back, keep in mind how many days a week you’ll be working, wages after tax, travel costs and check whether you are eligible for working tax credits or tax free childcare.

After doing the calculations, many new mums are looking at an increase of just £10-30 to their weekly income. Often this isn’t enough to justify the stress and time away from little ones. However, aside from just monetary advantages, now is also the time to consider your career progression. A small increase to your monthly income now could mean a significantly larger one later.

Breast feeding

In the news recently has also been studies on the impact of returning to work for a mothers’ ability to breastfeed. Breast milk not only contains the nutrients a baby needs to grow, but also reduces their risk of infection as it contains antibodies that help little immune systems fight off harmful bacteria. Experts recommend that babies are breast fed until at least six months and by this time many mothers will be back at work. So, if you do return to work, how can you fit this around your hectic schedule?

  • Finding a day-care nearby will mean that you can pop in on breaks and lunches to feed your little one.
  • Expressing milk is another option, the Haakaa breast pump is small, portable and the container is also chemical free so that your baby gets uncontaminated, nutrient-rich milk. You can store these in the fridge or freezer as well, so if you have a busy couple of days at work – you baby still has some milk whilst your away!
  • Partial feeding also allows babies to benefit from breastmilk with you and formula milk whilst you are working.

Routine

Even after a short time away, returning to work can be stressful for both you and your baby. Getting into a routine as soon as possible will help to reduce the initial discomfort and allow you to get back into the swing off things as quickly as possible. Planning for this does not just include thinking about getting your clothes ready the night before (although this is important), it also means getting baby adjusted to your day and night schedule, which takes some serious perseverance.

Having a baby is an incredible and exciting time, but as all mums know it’s not without its challenges. Add to this the stress of returning to work and you could have a recipe for more sleepless nights than necessary! With careful consideration, research and planning however, you can choose get back to your career relatively smoothly.