Heading back to work after maternity leave can feel like terrible timing for many new parents. Just when you’ve started to get the hang of this whole motherhood thing, it’s time to return to work. And that can bring up a whole range of emotions, from sadness and guilt to excitement (and guilt because you’re feeling excited)! It’s a time of change and new beginnings, and we’ve got some practical tips to help it all go smoothly.

SCHEDULE

If possible, try and arrange to go back to work in the middle of the week. This way you’ll have a few days to ease in to things, and before you know it, the weekend has arrived! Also, ┬áconsider a “practice run” before your first day. Get up, dressed and out the door with baby (depending on your childcare situation) so you can figure out exactly how long the morning routine and commute will take.

FEEDING

If you’re breastfeeding, start pumping early and try to stockpile as much breast milk in your freezer as you can (we recommend beginning at least a month before you return to work). Let someone else bottle feed besides you, so that baby can get familiar with other faces during feeding time.

OWN THOSE FEELINGS

Your life has changed, no doubt about it. And being a working mom is challenging, but there are many benefits. Take note of them when you’re feeling sad or overwhelmed. Take care of yourself, too. Get as much sleep as you can, and don’t forget the importance of “me” time: a pedicure or glass of wine with friends is good for the soul!

KNOW YOUR PROVIDER

Feeling confident about your daycare provider or caregiver is a crucial part of a smooth transition back to work. Do your research, seek out references and if possible, arrange for your child to spend a little time with their caregiver or at the day care before maternity leave is over so that exiting on the first day does not come as such a shock (for both of you)!

HANG IN THERE, MAMA

Understand that it’s going to take some time to adjust to your new normal and everything that comes with it. There will be good days and bad, but before you know it, you’ll be rocking your new schedule and mama duties like a pro. And if, after a few months, the full-time schedule is proving too challenging, talk to your boss about the possibility of working from home one day a week or a part-time arrangement.