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  Planning and practicing for your first day back to work
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Your First Day Back

The first days back to work can seem like a terrifying challenge. Follow a few of these tips, and the whole transition will be a lot easier for both you and your baby.

If you're all ready to go back, be sure to print out a copy of the checklist for easy packing.

Take a Practice Day

Before your first day back to work, have a practice day. Get up at the time you would to go to work, and duplicate the morning routine, leaving with your baby and bottles and lunch and all of the various things you'll need during the day. Arrange for your baby to have a half-day with his care provider so you can practice leaving him for a short time. Then go home and try to duplicate your work schedule. Pump when you would have breaks at work, and try to get by on only what you've packed (so you can figure out if you've forgotten anything). See if what you chose to wear works for pumping, or if it shows milk stains if you leak.

At the end of the day or half-day, see if you've pumped as much as your baby drank - if not, see if your care provider was pushing too many bottles, or maybe you'll need to pump more often. It's good to find these things out before you're really at work.

Start with a short week

Arrange for your first week back to start on a Wednesday or Thursday. The first days back are always overwhelming, so starting with a short week will keep you from getting too tired. It also gives you a chance to practice pumping for a couple of days, without the intimidation of a whole week looming ahead of you.

When I started back to work, I could only find childcare 4 days a week - this was such a blessing! Working 4 day weeks was about ten times easier for me than a full time schedule, and I was lucky enough to be able to manage the accompanying pay cut.

A typical schedule

Your schedule will need to adjust to your particular work situation, but you can start from this typical schedule:

  • 6am: Wake up and nurse your baby
    Shower, dress, eat a healthy breakfast, pump if you need to.

  • 7:30am: Leave for work with your baby

  • 8:00am: Drop off baby at daycare, talk about your baby's needs with your care provider,

  • 8:15am: Nurse your baby before you leave.

  • 8:45am: Arrive at work (this can be another time to pump if you need more milk)

  • 10:00am: First pumping break

  • 12:30pm: Lunch and second pumping break

  • 3:00pm: Third pumping break

  • 5:00pm: Leave to pick up your baby

  • 5:30pm: Arrive at childcare, nurse your baby and discuss your baby's day

  • 6:00pm: Arrive home, eat dinner

  • 7:30pm: nurse your baby and put him or her to bed

  • 8:00pm: Clean pump parts, get bottles ready for the next day, pack your own lunch and get out the next day's dinner from the freezer

  • 10:00pm: Go to bed. You may want to wake your baby to nurse before you go to sleep, or pump before bed if your baby sleeps through.

 

Copyrightę 2005 Kirsten Berggren. All Rights Reserved.