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How would you return to work?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for some advice on how to handle returning to work. I'm scheduled to be off from work until May 3, at which time DS will be only 11 weeks old. I will then be away from DS for about 12 hours a day, which makes me cry whenever I think about it.

I've been considering returning to work 2 weeks early, and working part time for a month to ease the transition (this way I wouldn't have to use any more vacation time--which I don't have). Unfortunately I'm the primary wage earner in our family, and we can't afford for me to work part time longer than that. What would you do??? Which way would be easier, in your opinion, for DS and for me? Thanks.
post #2 of 14
I would definately try to work part time for awhile to ease the transition. Any chance of working at home so you can use less vacation time? I managed to do this some of the time I was out on maternity leave. I was out 8 weeks full time, then eight weeks part time with one day working from home. It still wasn't enough time but I think it helped. Good luck.
post #3 of 14

First of all, hugs to you!! 11 weeks is so young. It's so unfair that women don't get more time in this country!!

I'm not quite sure how to handle this with a child so young. He may actually not notice it so much as an older child would. But when I returned to work I did what you described for my 15 month old. However, I took six weeks of volunteer time to ease myself into being away from work full time. I started out going 3 hours a day, and each week increased that by one hour. It worked out really well, but I realise you don't have that kind of time! Still, I think even a shorter transition might still be easier.

I guess the biggest issue is whether you are breastfeeding and how this is going to affect that. I'm guessing, since you know you are returning to work, that your baby can drink from a bottle. Are you pumping, do you have a place at work to pump, a decent pump, storage, etc? There is lots of help and support here for that if you need it.

Anyways, let's hear what other mamas with younger babes have done, but my vote is to do the P/T thing you talked about.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your replies! Unfortunately working from home is not an option (I work for a gov't agency and they don't believe you're working if they can't see you and we have a collective bargaining agreement with very limited work at home options), although we can often work out with our individual supervisor work at home days for specific projects. I'll try to get some of those projects assigned!

Piglet, I am breastfeeding, and don't anticipate any problems with pumping other than getting a lock on my office door. Other women in my office have successfully pumped.

I agree that it's shameful how little respect this country has for motherhood. I got no maternity leave--I had to use all my accrued sicktime, and advance sicktime for over the next 2 years, plus vacation time to get the time off I did. I don't know what I'll do when we have another baby!

Anyway, I'm glad to have found this forum! Thanks for your support.
post #5 of 14
Hi Darlene,

I would suggest that you go back to work part time at first. I wish that I had! I also wish that my first day back to work had been mid-week, instead of Monday because I was exhausted by Friday!

I can tell you that the anticipation of returning to work is much, much worse than the actual return. You will find your routine, and it will seem normal, although that is hard to picture now I know. And, you will find that your return home will absolutely be the most intensely happy time of the day and it's nice to be able to count on one amazing moment every day.

I too am the primary breadwinner (DH is staying home until September). I pump three times a day (to get two 5 oz bottles for the next day and one less-than-5 oz bottle to freeze) and DS drinks my milk from Avent bottles while I am at work. And yes, be sure to lock your door when you pump! I neglected to do that once and one of the older mail guys named Lucky opened my door! "Lucky Got Lucky" is now a common saying in my office!

Best of luck to you,

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Oh, that's too funny, Jen, about Lucky! Thanks for your advice. Can I ask how old your baby was when you returned to work? I'm so afraid that when DS gets older, and the separation anxiety sets in, that he'll cry when I come home and want to spend time with him. Is that crazy? Could that happen?
post #7 of 14
My son was almost 11 weeks old when I returned to work, and I was lucky to be able to use some extra FMLA time to work 4 days/week for 3 months. I don't know if I would go back much earlier to do that though... But I agree with the OP that it probably won't be as bad as you envision right now.
I honestly thought that going back to work was the most awful, unjust, cruel and maddening thing I ever had to do, and it was, the actual going back part, on that day. But it did get better quickly.
Oh, and re. the separation anxiety part, I don't think that ever works against a mommy, except maybe if you're gone for days on end, and I wouldn't worry about it.
Bravo for pumping at work; if you have your own office it should really not be a problem, and it's actually a nice break from everything else.
post #8 of 14
I actually found the coming home part of the day bittersweet. Baby and I wanted so much to see each other and we always nursed right away but too quickly I had to break away and make dinner if we wanted to eat before bedtime. So, if possible, I'd try to get your dp to be responsible for dinner. We ate take out for months!
post #9 of 14
First of all,

I too am primary bread earner at the moment. DH is a full-time PHD student, and in another city 3000 miles away . He can only come back once a month because his intensive research schedule. We don't have family around to help us either.

Anyhow, I returned to work when DS was 8 weeks. I highly recommend to work part time at the beginning. I did that for two weeks or so and it helps a lot.

Another thing helps me a lot is DS stayed home for the early months when I went back to work. A friend of mine moved in with me to help me. She babysat DS during the day. I didn't have to think about getting DS ready in the morning. At 7 mo, DS went to daycare. At that time, it was such a smooth transition, for both DS and me. Now DS is 10 mo. I still go to the daycare at lunch time, to nurse him and play with him for a while.

If possible, getting your child develop a good sleeping habit. I didn't do well at this. DS was sleeping with me and wanted to be nursed backed to sleep whenever woke up, like every other hour. I always feel sleep deprived. Last month, I finally couldn't stand it anymore. I let DS CIO : in order for him to sleep better. Now he sleeps in his own crib for the first part of the nigt, for about 4-5 hours, then move to my bed later. It's not ideal but at least I can have a bit better sleep. If your child can sleep good, thus you have a good sleep, then most likely you won't feel too tired at work.

I believe other people will have more suggestions.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice and feedback! I am going to go back part-time for a month, and am actually looking forward to it.

Jyanla, I am concerned about sleeping. DS will not go to sleep in his bed (we have an arm's reach co-sleeper). He sleeps fine with me (eventually, although he doesn't fall asleep until around 12, and that's a rare treat!), but I don't sleep well with him. My DH and I are both large people, and DH has sleep apnea, so I'm constantly worried that something will happen to DS. He can be sound asleep, but as soon as I put him in his co-sleeper, he is wide awake and it's not long until he's fussing. I'm hoping he'll do better as he matures.
post #11 of 14
Hi Darlene,

Kieran was 12 weeks when I returned to work. The first day was AWFUL, but it did get better very quickly.

When I come home, Kieran cries because he wants to nurse. It's a really nice reunion.

We had a co-sleeper, too, but Kieran never slept in it. He has always slept in the bed with us. The co-sleeper was a great cat bed, though! LOL DH and I are not little people either, and the three of us squeeze into a full size bed. I just sleep on my side all night, and I move Kieran to be in front of me.
post #12 of 14
There are other options besides letting him CIO. Try getting the No Cry Sleep Solution and see if some of Pantley's suggestions help.
post #13 of 14
Hi, Darlene,

I bought the No Cry Sleep Solution book and it's a good book like pp said. Although I didn't follow everything in the book, I used many of the suggestions, like putting DS in bed BEFORE he fell asleep. So when DS CIO, he didn't struggle too hard.

Another thing I felt important is to put DS in bed early. I used to put him to bed around 10-11pm, thinking he would be tired thus sleep longer. WRONG. It turns out that he wouldn't get enough sleep and then become fussy. Now I put him to bed between 8 to 9pm. Life gets easier. I can still get something done after he goes to sleep.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the suggestions. I do have the No Cry Sleep Solution, but haven't been successful in implementing any but a few of the suggestions. I know I have to be more committed to it.
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