I can truly say that having Eliana has been the most amazing, and life changing event I have experienced. From the moment I saw her, I knew that there was no way in hell I was going back to work. Leaving her even for a minute to use the restroom felt like an eternity, imagine going back to my 8-5 work schedule. Fast forward 4 months in; I am working my 8-5 and it actually doesn’t feel like an eternity.
I started my maternity leave a few days before my due date, thinking “oh, she will for sure come any minute!”. Little did I know, Eliana was already showing off her stubborn personality and only wanted to come out on her terms. I do have to say that starting my maternity leave a week before her arrival was actually a great idea. That week was filled with date nights, relaxation, and binge watching Netflix (something that is hard to do these days).
I was very fortunate that my job allotted me 12 weeks of maternity leave, which still passed by in a blink of an eye. The hardest part about being on maternity leave is the anxiety that it will come to an end, and you will be going back to work. For an entire week before I started back at work I was an emotional mess! If someone even mentioned the word I would get choked up and have to change the subject. I even had a dip in my milk supply that week due to all the anxiety and stress. How did I finally overcome all this anxiety? What lead me to a successful first month back at work? These four tips:
- Go back to work in the middle of the week!
I went in to work on a Thursday, that way my “work week” was only two days. This allowed me to test the waters a bit, and make sure I was prepared. I was able to figure out how many bottles Eliana needed and I could pump and prep all her belongings that way.
- It’s okay to supplement!
I had the hardest problem with being so set on only feeding Eliana breast milk. Yet, I was not one of those mommy’s that had a stock in the freezer! I actually only had a few bottles prepared for her before my first day at work. This was definitely a major part of my anxiety, what if she’s hungry? Can I leave work and get to her fast enough? Will she have to have formula? The answer to that last question was yes! Eliana took one bottle of formula as a supplement on the days where I had not prepared enough for her. I would definitely feel a little twinge of anger when I heard that she needed more milk that day and the emergency stash of formula was used. But does one bottle really matter? Look at the big picture, at least having that 2-3 bottles of formula a month will help me wean her off of breastfeeding in the long run.
- Trust your child’s caregiver and know that everything will be okay!
Just always know, if you feel like going back to work is not for you it’s okay to leave. At least you tried and that does not make you weak. Leaving your baby is hard. It is not a simple task, and will probably never get easier. Just know that your baby will never love you any less or lose the bond you have. You will and always be their mother, even if there is a caregiver during the day.
- Bring snacks and drink lots of water!
Going back to that dip in my milk supply I felt, drinking water definitely helped me recuperate. You are always hearing how beneficial and important it is to drink water while pregnant, yet people don’t stress the same fact while breastfeeding. In addition to constantly drinking water, having small healthy snacks is essential. I always have a baggie or Tupperware of almonds, pecans, dates, etc. in my pumping bag.
Although these four tips may seem very simple, they were definitely helpful in decreasing my anxiety. Now am I fully stress free about being away from Eliana? Of course not! I insanely miss her during the day! But coming home to her huge smile shows me that our bond is still in pristine condition.
A Trendy Mama