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Returning to Work After Baby – A New Mom’s Guide to Finding a Nanny
In the United States, most companies offer short periods of leave to new mothers. However, at some point, many new moms must return to the workforce, which means finding daycare or nanny care for the new addition to the family. If you’re one of these new moms, you know that even thinking about the process can be difficult. Not only is finding the right person to care for your new baby involve many emotions, but there are also many practical issues to deal with.
You’ve probably started thinking – at least in general – about how you want to handle your childcare situation in the second trimester of your pregnancy or later. The first decision you should make is whether to send your child to daycare or hire a nanny to come to your home to take care of your child instead.
The truth is, you don’t need to spend much time worrying about it. With a little preparation, this transition can go extremely well. The most important first step is to dedicate yourself to the process of finding the right childcare situation for you and your family. Don’t shy away from this important decision – find someone to talk to (for example, a family member or friend who has already gone through it). Don’t make decisions to get them out of the way. Take time and think carefully about how you want to handle this new phase in your life. Remember, if you make a hasty choice you won’t have to deal with it anymore, if it doesn’t get done in the first few weeks after you return to work, you’ll have to start all over again. Time that is already full of emotions and trying to balance your new schedule.
If you’ve decided to attend daycare, start researching your options early. Drop in at an unscheduled time to see how the program is run and interview other parents about their experiences.
If you have decided to hire a nanny, the next step is to find the right person to bring into your home. You want to find someone who will fit into your family for a long time and make you feel safe and comfortable. You need to identify your family’s needs, develop a nanny job description, screen applicants, conduct interviews, have a try-out period, conduct a nanny background check, hire and develop an employment contract. But once you find your Mary Poppins, you can focus on the process of returning to work and taking care of yourself.
Here are some tips to ease the transition and make returning to work go more smoothly:
o Start having your nanny come to your house before you return to work. This way you can practice being away from your baby and have time to see how your nanny interacts with him or her. This step can make a difficult transition a little easier. Just remember to take it slow.
o Create a “self-care list”. When your nanny starts, you’ll suddenly have a little more free time than you did in the weeks before you went back to work. Plan ahead and use that time for yourself. Get a massage, watch a movie or enjoy an hour talking with your girlfriends. Taking time for yourself will pay off when you’re back at work.
o Enlist friends and family to support you. You may feel depressed, sad, or maybe even excited about going back to work. Talk about all your feelings and make sure you have a few people available on speed dial for the first few weeks at work.
o Prepare to feed your baby when you return to work Pump your breast milk in the weeks leading up to your return to work. If you have a freezer stash set, you’ll feel more relaxed than if you first pumped on your first day. If you have other plans for feeding your child, do them in the early weeks. And make sure you talk to your nanny about how to feed your baby—from proper handling of breast milk to the best way and time to bottle feed.
o Set up a system where you can communicate with your nanny about your child. You can leave a notebook in which the nanny can jot down notes throughout the day, or put a whiteboard on the wall for lists. Not only is this a practical way to find out how your baby is doing throughout the day, but it will also establish a part of your child’s baby book that you can revisit when they are older.
o Finally, stay connected while you’re at work. If your nanny has a camera phone, ask to send pictures during the day. Set the times you will call each day (open the option if additional calls are needed!). And ask your nanny to call you at any time if there are any concerns or questions.
Returning to work after the birth of a baby can be difficult for any new mother. Making a plan of action and following it will make things easier. Good luck!
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