By Guest Blogger Makayla Berry

Below are some tips and tricks for returning to work after a maternity leave that helped me. Please share some that helped you in the comments below.

Have a Game Plan

First things first, as a mom we are constantly thinking of our “game plan” to get through the day and once you decide to return to work this game plan only has to be tweaked. One of the most important parts to the game plan is to know what your childcare plan will be. Will your child be in daycare? Will you hire a nanny? Will family and friends be watching your little one? Whatever your situation may be make sure that you have childcare coverage and that you are comfortable with whomever may be caring for your little one.

Set a Back Up Game Plan

Make sure that you have a backup game plan in case situations change such as illness, job hours, etc.  in order to help alleviate any anxiety about childcare while at work. This will also make your day smoother by knowing that there is a solid back up plan and that your child is cared for while you are working.

Do a Trial Run

Before your first day on the job, be sure to do a trial run with leaving your little one for the first time. There can be so many emotions for everyone—mom, dad, and baby the first time you leave your little one so sometimes doing a trial run helps everyone navigate these emotions before you are gone for a prolonged period of time. A trial run can include leaving your little one with whomever will be caring for them in the setting that they will also be cared for (daycare, loved one’s home, your home, etc.) for a simple date night, a few hours while you run errands, or just for some “you” time before you start your job! By doing this trial run it allows for your little one and you to be more comfortable before they are left for an extended period of time. This also really helped me to feel more comfortable and prepared for my first day back at work because I knew that my child was well loved and cared for. It was also easier to only be gone a few hours the first time I left him rather than a full 8-12 hour work day.

Know There May Be an Adjustment Period

Change can be a challenging time for both you and your little one so it’s clear that there may be an adjustment period for both you and baby. A new routine is likely to bring about some adjustments with your little one and may cause some disruption in their sleep and nap schedule. You may notice that your little one is more fussy than usual. This is likely temporary and will get better with time. Something that helped me with the adjustment period is to remember that change promotes growth and allow your little one to develop new routines and flexibility. Something that also helped my little one with adjusting to a new routine is trying to keep the same sleep habits and routine as it helped him to find comfort during nap and bed time.

Be Kind to Yourself

This is the most important tip because as a mom we are so hard on ourselves, but in reality, we should all be giving ourselves SO much more credit! Going back to work and being a working mama does NOT mean that you are a bad mama (I promise). We are all doing everything we possibly can to be the best mom to our little ones and that is what is most important. Please be kind to yourself during this transition and know that we are all here cheering you on as you head back to work!

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