By Wangui Thuo for MumsVillage
RETURNING TO WORK AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE IS ONE OF THE MOST DAUNTING SEASONS OF A MOTHER’S LIFE.
Whether the child is 6 weeks or 6 years, both parties will have to contend with different degrees of separation anxiety before a balance is achieved. Preparation is therefore vital to create a seamless transition. Here are some tips to consider:
- Hire dependable childcare: This is possibly THE most important factor in the process. It is advisable to start this process when you are still pregnant as it gives you more time to gauge the caregiver’s character and ability, create a rapport with her and give guidance on how you like things to be done. Introduce your caregiver to your family, your pediatrician, the Mama Mboga and other resources you consider key. Equip her with formal first aid training and let her know the steps she should take in the event of an emergency. On the same note, have a plan B lined up in the event the primary caregiver is not available. Your plan B can include friends, relatives, neighbours, daycare- all trusted by you and your family.
- Put your baby on a schedule: It is true that babies thrive on routines. The earlier you can get them on a schedule of sorts the better. It makes daily planning, particularly for the caregiver, that much easier.
- Carry out practice runs: A few weeks before you report to work, spend some time away from your baby to make the actual separation easier to cope with. Start small – 10 minutes – and gradually increase the length of time you are away. A week to my report-back date from maternity leave, I also practiced a back-to-work run that was very close to what my daily routine would generally look like. From these, I selected two random days that I returned home later than usual and a separate day that I returned earlier than expected. This helps in giving everyone a general idea of what works and what may need more fine tuning; and for breastfeeding moms, the milk contingencies to bear in mind.