Mother’s Day 2023: Re-joining Work After Maternity Break – Tips For New Moms

Mother’s Day 2023: When a child is born, it changes the lives of the family members, particularly the parents and especially the mother. However many books you read or parenting classes you take, the addition of a new family member brings with it sea changes and unexpected challenges. And when it comes to working mothers, juggling baby duties and work commitments poses several challenges, especially in the beginning. While it’s not easy for new fathers too, social and biological factors make the job more challenging for mothers. Dr Sonal Singhal, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Gurugram, Gurgaon, share with us the problems new mothers face when they rejoin the workforce after a maternity break and ways in which they can deal with the problem.

Guilt And Anxiety: Issues New Moms Face

“While couples learn to transition their role as parents, it is difficult to juggle the responsibilities of taking care of the baby along with work commitments. In these situations, it is natural for a new mother to experience a shift in her priorities especially after taking care and spending time with the newborn baby during the first few weeks. A parent can even experience postpartum emotions hence recognizing these emotions is equally important,” says Dr Sonal Singhal. She points out two key issues a mother faces when she rejoins work after maternity break: 

Anxiety: Leaving the baby with someone new makes a parent feel anxious leading to separation anxiety in certain cases.  In these situations, keeping a regular check with the caregiver or connecting with your family and friends while you’re away during work can help reduce anxiety. 

Guilt:  Resuming work can make a parent feel nervous or excited which creates a sense of guilt within. Working parents often feel the guilt of not giving sufficient time to the baby while experiencing these emotions, seeking help from professionals or parental coaches can help make a parent feel at ease. For some, returning to work may bring excitement as it brings a sense of familiarity and can make a person feel more balanced while dealing with the new phase of motherhood.

Mother’s Day: Going Back To Office After Maternity Break? 5 Key Tips

“Resuming work following maternity leave can make a new mother feel anxious and apprehensive. However to maintain the balance between parenthood and work, listed below are a few measures that new parents should undertake to ensure an effective transition between work and parenting,” shares Dr Singhal. Dr Singhal lists the following five tips for new moms:

1. Find reliable childcare: As expectant parents, looking for reliable childcare and scrutinizing references from friends during the earlier stages is convenient because getting access to reliable childcare while going back to work tends to be challenging.  After finding a childcare provider, it is important to undergo a few test trials before returning to work to help feel a sense of security and reliability while leaving the baby during work hours. 

2. Create a feeding plan for you and the baby: Another important task as a working mother is to decide on a feeding plan as to whether you would undergo breastfeeding full-time, part-time, or opt for formula. If the decision is to continue breastfeeding, it is important to maintain adequate milk supply for the baby during work hours. As a mother, it is important to make the transition to pumping and bottles a gradual and smooth one hence it is preferred to begin pumping ahead of time to build up a sufficient supply of milk.  To create a smooth transition, introducing the bottle to the baby at least three weeks before the start date will help the baby adjust to the approach. 

3. Consider flexibility during work hours: As a new mother, it is all right to opt for flexible hours. Let your boss know about the alternative measures of work options such as working from home or a part-time schedule with a gradual expansion of work hours. What a working mother should remember is that requesting flexible work hours does not question an individual’s capability and efficiency. 

4. Schedule a proper routine:  Babies and toddlers tend to seek familiarity and predictability, hence maintaining the same routine every day keeps the baby at ease. An organized, consistent, and predictable routine helps the family get into a specific rhythm. 

5. Create some time for self-care: Juggling between work and parenting can make a mother feel exhausted physically and emotionally. In these situations, getting sufficient sleep and trying out activities to manage stress levels like meditation or yoga will help tune one’s emotions. Engaging in other relaxing activities like going to a coffee shop for a while or a walk in the park every once in a while, can help a mother cope with the juggling activities.

Dr Singhal says that if problems persist, women should not shy away from seeking professional help. “While going back to work it is likely for a mother to undergo a range of emotions and in these situations, it is important to show compassion and empathy towards yourself. If in these situations, it becomes difficult to bear these emotions seeking professional help is advised,” adds Dr Sonal Singhal.