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Image Source: Courtesy of Lauren McBride

How to Return to Work After Maternity Leave

5 Tips For Acing the Return to Work After Maternity Leave

Going back to work after baby can be a challenge. That's why we've partnered with Target to share how one mom successfully navigated work after maternity leave.

We can all agree going back to work from maternity leave can be a little stressful and overwhelming, right? When the countdown starts to that daunting day we're filled with anxiety about how our little one will do in the care of others. We've gotten used to those sweet newborn cuddles and spending every waking moment with this beautiful baby we've created. We don’t want it to end! That first day back can be very emotional for a working mom, but I'm sharing some tips as well as helpful products from Target that will make that transition go as smoothly as possible.

Return to Work Toward the End of the Week

Image Source: Courtesy of Lauren McBride

This was a tip a seasoned mom gave me when I had my first child. Going back to your normal Monday through Friday job on a Thursday means only two work days in the first week and makes it seem a little more manageable. This will give you the opportunity to ease into the new adjustment period, then take the weekend to figure out what worked and what didn't (especially if you're a pumping mom!).

Prep in Advance

Image Source: Courtesy of Lauren McBride

If you're a breastfeeding mom, you'll be pumping several times at work and will want to be as efficient as possible. Ask your workplace where your designated pumping area will be (they are required to provide you with one — and NOT a bathroom), and what amenities will be available (will there be a sink? A fridge?). This will help you prepare what to pack for work every day. Pack your bags in advance, and choose your outfits ahead of time so you're not rushing in the morning. You may not have done this prebaby, but it will help a lot now that every free moment is even more precious. Bonus tip: selecting your outfits for the entire week at the beginning of the work week will significantly cut down on time in the morning. The same goes for your little one! Prep everything your babysitter or daycare will need in advance to make sure the morning goes more smoothly.

Pack Your Bags

Image Source: Courtesy of Lauren McBride

I like to have one designated bag for my pumping supplies because everything is in one spot, and it's easy to grab and go. I personally like carrying a pump like the Medela Pump In Style Advanced With On-the-Go Tote because it has everything I need in one bag. There's a small cooler with an ice pack to store pumped milk in and even a work surface to keep things sanitary. There's also an AC adaptor and a battery pack in case you aren't near a plug. The pump motor is built into the bag for extra portability. I like to keep a few additional things in my pump bag, like extra breast milk bags (in case I run out of bottles), Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump & Accessory Wipes for quick and easy sanitation, a hands-free pump bra like the Bravado! Designs® Women's Clip and Pump™ Hands-Free Nursing Bra, and a nursing cover like Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl to throw over myself while pumping (it's black and looks like a poncho, making it even more discreet!). Having everything in your pump bag saves time and keeps things organized!

Invest in a Wi-Fi Baby Monitor

Image Source: Courtesy of Lauren McBride

Not being around your baby 24/7 can be really hard on a new mom. Our hormones are all over the place, we're most likely still not getting an adequate night's sleep, and we miss snuggling our kiddos! One way to make things a little easier is to use a WiFi baby monitor, like the Motorola 3.5" Smart WiFi Video Baby Monitor from Target, so you can peek in on your little one whenever you're away from home. You can access a live view from the app on a compatible smartphone or tablet. It will give you peace of mind and put a smile on your face during your workday!

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Image Source: Courtesy of Lauren McBride

It's really, really hard to go back to work after maternity leave. It's OK to be emotional about it, and just know it will take an adjustment period! Cut yourself some slack, and allow yourself extra time for when things don't go as planned. We are often hard on ourselves as mothers, but just know you're a supermom even when you don't feel like one! And when you come in through the door after a long day at work, your little one will be so excited to greet you, which is the best feeling. You got this, mama!

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