Your mat leave is almost over and before you know it you’ll be back at work. Here’s some advice on going back to work stress-free.

Who will take care of the baby?

Some new parents choose to put their child’s name on a daycare waiting list even before they are born.

Others need to find a reliable place where their bundle of joy will be looked after when the time comes.

You have a few options:

  • Private home daycare
  • Licensed child care centres
  • At-home caregiver like a nanny
  • Family member like a grandparent

Don’t hesitate to meet with people, ask questions and get references, and pay close attention to how the future caregiver interacts with your child.

Gradually set up a routine

Going back to work means adjusting to a different schedule and pace.

Having a routine will help you organize your day in order to reach a good and healthy work-life balance.

Sleep, perchance to dream

In a few weeks, mom and child will have to get used to a new schedule and they’ll have to be in peak physical condition.

Gradually set up a sleep routine that is more compatible with your work schedule.

Your return will be less brutal this way.

Goodbye breastfeeding, hello bottle!

Going back to work full-time often means giving up breastfeeding… for lack of time.

Plan for a gradual transition from breastfeeding to the bottle (roughly 1 month) so that the baby and you can adjust comfortably as you go.

You could also opt for partial weaning and keep your early morning and evening feedings.

Gradual entry into daycare

Soon, baby will be going to daycare full-time. To make this a smooth transition for you and the caregiver, it is recommended to introduce daycare gradually.

Start with a few half-days here and there, and then slowly increase the frequency until you go back to work.

This will give your child a chance to become accustomed to their new caregiver, new friends and to their new environment.

Work differently

To gradually adapt to your new life and make it easier to reach a work-life balance, try organizing your workday around your child.

Ask your employer about the following:

  • Gradual return-to-work (if possible)
  • Teleworking (whether part-time or full-time)
  • Modified work schedule

Do you need a hand?

Does it seem nearly impossible to juggle caring for your child, the demands of your job, your personal life and housework?

A few weeks before returning to work, hold a family meeting with everyone living in the household about your respective roles and responsibilities. You may be able to start divvying up the chores in a fair manner among everyone even before you go back to work.

Delegate. Accept that you can’t do everything and that there are only 24 hours in a day.

Ask for help. Sometimes, having someone do the housework can make all the difference.

If meals are an issue, consider prepared ones. An increasing number of caterers now offer affordable and healthy meal options that could make life a lot easier.

And you, how’re you doing?

Many mothers will tell you that going back to work is a difficult time filled with guilt and sadness at the thought of being separated from their child (especially if it’s your first one).

Rest assured: you’re not alone to feel that way and those feelings are quite normal.

Over time, you’ll learn that you’re not just a mother, but a working woman, a spouse, a friend, an athlete etc.

Your little one will also benefit from being surrounded by adults who cherish them and develop a special relationship with them.

A final piece of advice

Avoid make-up that’s not waterproof when you drop off your child on their first day at daycare.

Emotions may be running high!