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Some of them are lightning fast, and some seem to drag on for ages. Some of them are so pleasant, humorous, enjoyable, etc. that you know you’ll miss them like crazy when they inevitably end, and with others, you’re nearly watching the clock and waiting for them to end. It’s funny for me to say that now – after just dropping Des off for kindergarten. My second born in kindergarten! My first in third grade! Some people are high-fiving me for getting to this point with two in full-time school.
No matter what happens, there’s one area of parenting in which I’m quite experienced in and that’s the postpartum period. For the first baby, I worked in an office and had a maternity leave. For the second time, I was in between jobs and plotting my next move. That day did come and I started two businesses after Des was born. (SLOWLY) These lifestyle changes make it so that I will most likely not work outside the home again – except for numerous photo shoots. I will not report to an office, but that doesn’t mean I won’t truly experience what a new baby brings – in all its entirety. Although I work at home, I would take a maternity leave. This time, I have the wisdom of everything I’ve learned and I’m excited to share it with you now!
Mainly, what’s the most important thing for your baby? Love. That’s right. What’s second most important? Feeding. This can be a challenge when the baby is at home with you, when you’re at work and the baby is at home, when the baby is at daycare and you’re at work, etc. Challenging doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It can and WILL happen. This requires conversations, practice and the right feeding equipment. Don’t worry – I SO have you covered here (see tip #5).
1 – Feelings of isolation and loneliness. I remember the morning my husband went to work and left me with our sleeping baby. Yes, I should have been grateful she was sleeping, but I’m social by nature. I grew up with four siblings and always had a lot of friends, roommates, or family members around. I love my alone time, but this was pretty challenging. The solution? Joining a mother’s group. I met several mom and dad friends through our hospital baby group (see if your hospital has these) and through social media. You can also connect with other parents at parks, gyms, and local parenting centers.
2 – You feel disorganized and have no idea how to get organized in time for going back to work. Let’s face it – days with a baby are unpredictable and it seems like it’s hard to get anything done. It’s tough to stick to a schedule. Meanwhile, in your work life, you’re probably used to being more organized, in control, and following a schedule that follows you back! There is probably no perfect solution to overcoming this challenge, but you can work more on going with the flow. Focus on taking care of yourself alongside taking care of your baby. Eat and drink well, rest with your baby (whenever possible), and remember that nap time is WAY more important than housework. And I mean YOUR nap time, mainly.
3 – You can’t relax and enjoy your maternity leave. THIS. That’s me. I’m someone who watches the clock and ticks it down. I’m prone to anxiety. What worked for me is letting myself off the hook. I had just had a baby! Work was looming. I stopped beating myself up about the anxiety and then I worked on relaxation techniques. There are many ways you can do this – read a book, go for a walk, listen to music, deep breathe, watch a movie, etc. You can’t slow time, but you can slow yourself.
4 – You honestly have no idea how you’re going to pull off working and having a baby. Don’t worry! We ALL feel that way. It’s completely overwhelming and the work/life balance discussion is one we’ve been having for decades, and probably always will. My advice is to do a trial run. A dress rehearsal! Get everything packed for your baby and your work. Schedule a day with your nanny, babysitter, childcare, school, etc. where you can drop the baby off for a few hours. Then, go to “work.” You can go to actual work, or bring a laptop to a coffee shop and plug in. See how it all feels. See what seemed rushed or hard. Work on it. Maybe go on errands too, and do something nice for yourself!
5 – You’re concerned about your baby’s feeding. Oh, how we all are. For some babies (and parents), this has worked out from the way beginning, with the partner or other loved ones doing feedings right after the baby is born. For me, it wasn’t easy like that. I had to teach my babies to take bottles at some point down the line. It’s crucial if you’re going back to work, and even if you’re not, and just need time off. Whether you’re feeding your baby breastmilk, formula, or a combination of the two, it’s important to have food on hand in case anything happens in which you’re not near your baby. You NEED bottles.
NUK Simply Natural Bottles give baby a close-to-mom feel never before found from a bottle, because they’re designed to be just like mom’s breast. It’s important to find the best bottle for baby because 65% of moms switch bottles after birth because the first bottle didn’t work. When you use NUK Simply Natural Bottles, it makes the transition easier to leave your baby in the hands of a caregiver, AND means that you can come back to breastfeeding easier after work. The bottle has multiple nipple holes to help provide a natural feed. The advanced 1-piece Anti-Colic Air system helps reduce colic, gas, and spit up.