New moms will quickly realize our maternity leave is short. You've barely adjusted to having a tiny human entirely depend on you, and now it's time to go back to work. And now there's another onslaught of different types of emotions, from the excitement of seeing your old work friends to feelings of guilt because you're leaving your baby behind. It is an emotional rollercoaster to adjust to a new routine all over again.
This new phase can be challenging, but your family can be prepared for this transition. This checklist can serve as a guide to make your working new mom life less overwhelming after maternity leave. It's based on the lessons I learned from the mistakes I felt I made. I hope it helps.
Keep a copy of the documents for your SSS maternity claim like OB history and operative record.
Update your HR representative and your immediate supervisor regarding the status of your delivery if there were any changes. It will keep your employer updated on your final number of days of leave. If you went through normal delivery, you are entitled to 60 days. For caesarian, you are given 78 calendar days.
2 MONTHS BEFORE GOING BACK TO WORK
Get a support system. First-time mom or not, you need all the help that you can get so join mom groups you are comfortable with whether on Facebook or Viber. Who knows, you might have some questions that other moms can help you.
Finalize your arrangement with your baby’s yaya. Are you getting a stay-in? What’s the usual work hours for your helper? Who will take care of the baby while he/she is sleeping? What days will she be allowed to go on leave? These questions will somehow help manage both you and your helper’s expectations now the baby is around.
Breastfeeding moms need to build their milk supply slowly. You either practice with your breast pump to get yourself comfortable using it or use a Haakaa breast pump to collect and not let the letdown milk go to waste. (Click here to read how much breast milk you will need when you get back to work. Read this to know how to properly store it.)
Train your baby to take a bottle.
Talk to your boss and map out your work schedule. Have a small catch-up meeting or via email to find out the recent projects or developments at work. Figure out and discuss what the expectations and what will be the work arrangement when you return.
2 WEEKS BEFORE
Make sure you've processed the paperwork needed to get back to work. Your company will likely need a fit-to-work clearance from your ob-gyn.
Stock up on the essentials. Buy grocery items good for one month. Stock up on diapers, detergent, soap and other things to save you time while you’re still adjusting to working.
Review your wardrobe. You want to feel good when you get back to work. If you feel like you need new clothes, go ahead. Get wrinkle-free and pump-friendly tops if you’re planning to continue breastfeeding.
Make a schedule for you and your baby. Create a calendar or to-do list that include details like laundry day and the routine when you get home after work. Discuss with your yaya your baby’s feeding and nap time to serve as a day-to-day guide.
Have a dry run. Once you've finalized your work arrangement, finalize your schedule and walk through the routine with your baby’s yaya. See what your new routine will look like and what needs to be adjusted.
Fix your work outfit for the week (yes, the five days) to make your mornings less stressful. It's one less thing to worry about.
Batch cook your meals and freeze them. For days when you don’t have the energy to cook, you can reheat whatever is available. And you save money from take-out.
Talk to your husband about expectations and tasks. It’s important you are both aligned on how to split or share tasks at home. Talk about how will your new schedule will look like and how it will affect both of you.
Make an emergency contact list for your yaya. Make sure you have briefed your yaya whom to call when there is an emergency, from your parents or in-laws to your baby’s pedia. Also, discuss how you can regularly communicate whether it’s through a CCTV camera that has a talkback function or a scheduled call or text message daily.
Go out and pamper yourself. Get that massage, mani-pedi or haircut that you’ve wanted to get because you truly deserve it.
Pack your bag and double check your list. For breastfeeding moms, make sure that your pump materials and milk storage supplies are complete.
Fix your schedule for your first day at work. Set the alarm on your phone or calendar app to remind you of your pump schedules and your to-do list of course. Whether you use an app or a planner, you have to write these down because you will never know when your mommy's brain decides to act up!
Prepare your baby’s milk. For breastfeeding moms, thaw some of the milk from the freezer and discuss with your yaya how to prepare it.
Enjoy quality time with your baby.
Get some sleep.
ON THE DAY
Ask your helper to track your baby’s feeding, sleep, and even diaper change.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. You might encounter a few bumps now and then while you‘re still adjusting to your new mom life. Give it time. We all know juggling work and home tasks is no joke so don’t make yourself feel guilty. Trust us, it will get better.