Returning to work after a long maternity leave is never easy. I know. I have done it twice, where both were equally unpleasant.
Think of post-partum body that is still bloated, swelling breasts that are continuously producing milk and the struggle to find back the rhythm of old-but-new routines. Motherhood kicks in too often, distracting our mind in between of piles of paperworks or tons of email, urging you to run back to your phone to check on the recent photos of new baby. You hope the feeling will be gone soon after, but it won’t. It stays.
Sometimes funny stories are invented from this. Like when my swelling breast knocked some mineral water bottles on my desk and created awful puddle. It happened in front of my colleagues who were visiting, and everyone was astonished to realize how big my breasts had become.
But hear me out, mothers. You are returning to your full time job because you have to, for whatever reason that is. Some people will judge. Some people will offer you comfort. One thing you should not be doing is feeling guilty about your decision.
Allow me to share few things I did when I had to return to work after my luxurious maternity leave.
Kept the breast milk production rolled.
Even though it involved uncomfortable breast massage, a soak in luke warm water and ate uninteresting food that could induce more breast milk production.
I pumped and bottled, and kept them in the fridge.
Surrendered to formula.
As much as I wanted to maintain the motherhood dignity to exclusively breastfeed my baby, at one point I just gave in. I did spare some times between my lunch break to come home for breastfeeding. However, work load did pile up. So yes, I gave my babies formula. Eventually.
Diaper at night. All night.
When I returned full time to work I knew better that it was very important to maintain a life balance and stay healthy. This means I had to have enough sleep. I am glad that both K and little A were not cranky babies. They sleep through the night. The only thing if they peed or pooped in the middle of the night I had to wake up and change them. Hence sleep deprivation would have been inevitable.
Wearing a disposable diaper all night on the babies helped me achieve my goal.
Cosleeping and breastfeeding.
I coslept with my babies so that it would be easier for me when I had to breastfeed at night. I also didn’t have to lose so much time awake because I breastfed while sleeping or laying on the bed. This tip was brought to me by my mom and my aunties.
You would probably roll your eyeballs if I told you I hired three helpers to help me with the house. I was lucky that in the area I used to leave helpers didn’t cost too much. So the job delegations for the three were the cook and the house chores handler, nanny for K and nanny for little A.
By the time you finish reading this, some of you who are – arguably – perfect moms perhaps would already raise an eyebrow in such a judgmental way. Some would nod, and some would pick one or two things to apply in their life.
I am glad I am so over with motherhood racing. Hereby I loudly announce I would shake the judgments off.
Good luck on your post-maternity return to work.