Are you a working mom who just had a baby? Are you worried about going back to work? You don’t have to be, especially If you have made all the arrangements for your baby like child care, a backup daycare, a plan for pumping breast milk (in case you plan to continue breastfeeding your baby), schedule coordination with your spouse, etc.
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Preparing all these arrangements is important, but preparing for your emotional transition is just as important. Going to work after becoming a mother can be very challenging, it doesn’t matter whether you can’t wait to go back to work or you think the maternity leave days weren’t enough–it will be very tough. You may also end up feeling like you’re not involved with your baby’s life as much and you may feel disconnected.
So, below are what to do when you are feeling disconnected from baby after going back to work.
1. It’s okay to cry: Initially, you will miss your baby a lot. Give yourself some time and let those tears flow freely in the company of people who can understand what you’re going through. Then you can try distracting yourself with tasks at hand to focus on the present. Talk with your colleagues and have a nice hot cup of tea. Enjoy the feeling of being with your office fellows without being interrupted by never-ending baby needs.
2. Bring a transitional object: It may be helpful to bring anything that reminds you of your connection with your baby, like a picture of the baby, or their tiny shirt with their smell. Some women have a plethora of baby photos at their desk so they feel connected to their little one while they are away. Leave your photo with the baby and anything with your smell on it (a robe or article of clothing). This way you can stay connected through your senses throughout the day.
3. Get in touch with other working moms: They will be very helpful as support when you are having a tough day balancing it all. These mothers and you are riding on the same boat so they probably have some emotional support and trick up the sleeves that have helped them weather the storm of returning to work after having a baby. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Go to the seasoned mothers for support and guidance. Ask them how they coped with being away from their babies.
4. Choose a family-friendly working environment: if it’s possible, then work for a company that offers some flexibility for working mothers. A lot of companies these days have a daycare center in the building so that mothers can be reassured about the baby and can even visit them during the lunch break. In this way, a mother will not feel disconnected from the baby. Also, if possible, work in an environment that has flexible working hours so you can get used to being a working mom. So, a family-friendly working environment is very important to a happy mom and a happy mom means a happy baby and a happy family.
5. Video call: You can try video calling the person taking care of your baby during the lunch hour and see what your baby is up to. Ask the babysitter how your baby is spending the time during which they are away from you.
6. Ask your babysitter to write details about what your baby is eating, when they are sleeping, how many diaper changes they go through when you’re away, etc. Some daycare centers keep a log of baby’s day, so, when the mother goes to pick up her baby, she has an idea about how her baby’s day was spent. You can also ask them to send you pictures of the baby during the day so you don’t have to worry about them.
7. Make most of the time you’re with your baby. Though after working long hours at work, all you would want to do is have dinner and go to bed when you get home, but you have a baby waiting for you at home. Make the night time our time (your baby and yours). Spend more time with them during the night and cherish the time you get with the baby on weekends. Also, if it’s possible, then co-sleep with your baby so you can spend as much time together as possible. Remember that spending quality time is more important than looking at the quantity of time you’ll be left with.
8. Remember that babies usually have no trouble staying with a babysitter or provider during the day as long as they’re being fed on time, changed, and treated with love. This doesn’t mean that you’re being replaced (no one can replace a mother)—it means that your baby is blessed and there are more people in your baby’s life who love and care for them.
9. Keep in mind that you have choices. If your current job does not fit the needs of your family, you can look elsewhere and offer your skills to a company that values family balance and flexible working environment. You are NOT stuck. If you can’t leave a bad situation immediately, start a plan of action for an exit strategy.
Above are what to do when you are feeling disconnected from baby after going back to work. When you are a working mom, there will always be sacrifices, trade-offs, and compromises. If you want to be happy with this decision be crystal clear about your decision and why you want to be a working mother.
Remember that a working mom is not a bad mother. You’re going out there so that your baby can live comfortably. You might feel guilty about leaving your baby in someone else’s care and it’s normal to feel that way at first because you’ve never been away from your new baby and you want to spend all of your time with them. Just remember that you are doing a great job and your baby will turn out to be just fine despite the hours you spend away from them.