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How soon is TOO SOON to return to work?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Okay. First, I'm going to be a new mama in about three weeks (due Sept. 18, 2012, but he can come at any time now. ^.^) I am also new to this site/community and I hope I am posting in the right area. My question is, when to return to work/ when to start looking for work again?


Currently I am unemployed. The job I had before didn't have maternity leave, and I can return once baby is born if I so choose. But how soon is too soon? I've heard from many of my friends that are mama's that returning 2 months after baby was born was just too soon for them and they felt that they missed crucial bonding time with new baby, but then I've also heard 12 weeks is the norm. I am a student and I'm going for nursing, so I will be starting classes again come Winter Quarter, and the financial set back that my significant other and myself are dealing is making me want to return as soon as I possibly can. But if I wanted to take extra time, we're set enough where I could; I'm just horribly independent and would be described as a "workaholic", so not working is driving me crazy. Again, though, I've heard that that will change once baby is born and I am already dreading the prospect of returning to work, especially "too" soon. Maybe I'm just over thinking things and stressing a little too much over this topic. . . but I truly don't want to regret either waiting too long, or returning too soon and feeling as though I missed out on "crucial bonding" time with baby! Any advice? Average time frame?

post #2 of 14
It sounds like you are stressing too much and overthinking things! Most likely you will know when it is time to go back. The optimal timing is different for everyone, and if you have the flexibility of deciding when to do it, all the better! you will know when it right for you. I went back to school 1 day a week when baby was six weeks, but DH took care of baby and that felt fine. I did not want to go back full time though at 8 months after having the summer off, but DH convinced me to do it. It ended up going fine.

I talked with people at my old job while pregnant about this question, and most said at least 4 months, preferably 6. I could see waiting until age 3, though!

God luck!
post #3 of 14
I had to go back when my dd was 2 weeks. Eighteen years later I still regret it, but we literally would not have eaten. You'll know...
post #4 of 14

I started teaching my classes again three weeks after my daughter was born and it went very well. I enjoyed being a professional again. That said, it was only a few days a week and I taught at home the rest of the days.

post #5 of 14

I returned at 2-3 weeks but I brought him with me... so I am not sure I count.  But like previous posters have mentioned, you'll know.  I have friends that want their 6 weeks of maternity leave to be over already and other choose to postpone returning to work as long as possible.  

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the responses. ^.^ It's great to get a few other opinions. And I'm sure I'll know when is best for myself and ds after he comes. *nodnod*

post #7 of 14
I went back after 1 week, but it was only for 12 hours a week, and I had ds with me. Since then I have gradually increased my hours, and will go back to a full schedule next week. It worked for me, but I'm self employed, so I was able to take ds with me when I needed. You'll know when it's time. Just relax and rest up. You'll be busier than ever when your LO gets here!
post #8 of 14

DD is 3 weeks old and I'm starting work a week from tomorrow. It's very bittersweet because I am starting at a job I've wanted for a long time, but it's earlier than I wanted. I wanted to start after at least 6 weeks, but I was told the only way I could have the position was if I started no later than the 10th. My heart is already heavy with missing my little girl, but with my husband's hours getting cut, it was this or both of us donating plasma every week just to pay bills and at least now I can afford to take her to a local vax-friendly, homeopathic doctor for well-baby visits (paperwork from Medicaid already suggests I "have" to vaccinate and I have not found a doctor who takes Medicaid and is amenable to the delayed schedule we'd prefer).


DH's mother was a single mom and went back to work (as a nurse) at 4 weeks. She says you sometimes don't want to go back so early, but you find your special little ways to bond and you make it work, the two of you.

post #9 of 14
4 months was what I planned for and was just about right for me. I think 3.5 months would have been most ideal, that is when I hit the "I'm getting just enough sleep to survive at work and I am really, really needing that adult interaction and career focus back." It depends on so many things though, I thought I might be one of those moms who planned to go back to work and became a SAHM instead (I could have), but it was definitely NOT for me. I do think I could not have survived earlier than 3 months, but my baby did not sleep well at all, so that is the biggest reason for that. I think I would want at least 12 weeks to get BFing good and established. As far as bonding, I feel I miss out on a lot more moments now that she is older than when she was an infant, so that wasn't a big concern to me, though BFing helped with bonding a lot and then pumping at work until she was 13 months. Pumping wasn't fun, but it was one of the ways I really stayed connected to my baby while working FT so for me it was very rewarding and kind of a fun challenge.

But again, it depends on so many things unique to you and your family. You'll know!
post #10 of 14

i went back after 6 weeks with dd and will be going back after 7 weeks this time. i can afford any unpaid time off. honestly i could easily go back after 2 weeks if i had to

post #11 of 14
I am in a situation where I will have to go back to work quickly, so we can make it financially. I will most likely have to go back after about 2 weeks. I am hoping to be able to being him with me a good portion of the time but I am not sure that I can for about half of my jobs, so we will have to see. With my other two I stayed home, and loved it. Our financial situation I situation is very different now and if I don't work we won't be able to eat, or have gasoline, not to mention birthdays and Christmas.
post #12 of 14

I know for myself even 1 year would have been really hard.  I just went back to school for nursing and my LO is 2 now. I didn't feel great about leaving him ever but it has been a positive transition at this point, I think. Leaving him when he was younger would have been a lot harder.  However! Everyone is different, you will know your comfort level once the baby comes.  Having trusted childcare is also a factor.  You may find you're ready at 2 months or you may find the prospect of leaving your baby makes you physically ill. It is so individual, and like another poster says "You'll know".  It's hard to plan anything until that baby is in your arms. I do understand the necessity of trying to get back into school though and finish up that degree. Mamas these days have so many pressures! 


One thing I would recommend is do it gradually. Get used to a few hours away at first, build up to a day, and then try 2 days away.  Going from home 24/7 to BAM gone 40 hours a week is a shock to the system.  


Good luck to you!

post #13 of 14

Three months for me both times. I could have extended it a bit longer (6 mos.? 1 year?) the first time even though DH was taking care of DD1. It was hard for me to work in the office while she was home, plus pumping in the office sucked. The second time DH was still taking care of the kids, but I was working at home instead of in an office, so it wasn't too bad.

post #14 of 14

There's no right answer and it's such an individual choice.  For me, I waited nearly a year.

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