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Mendo Lake Family Life

Back-to-Work Tips

By Pam Moore 

As your maternity leave draws to a close, here is a top 10 list of things to keep in mind when returning to the office.

No. 1: Don’t overload coworkers with baby photos. Even if colleagues inquire, “How’s the baby?” remember your pre-baby life. Think back to how it felt to feign interest in the children of your friends and co-workers.

No. 2: Don’t stress about pumping at work. Obviously, attaching a suction device to your breasts while sitting in a room HR has assured you is private, except for the absence of a lock on the door, is stress inducing. Take it from someone who knows, it will work out and it doesn’t last forever. 

No. 3: Don’t automatically eliminate caffeine just because you are breastfeeding. Disclaimer: I’m a writer, not a doctor, but I would advise giving coffee a try and see how you feel before you put the complete kibosh on this daily ritual. (And by ritual I mean survival tactic). Yes, you may have to eliminate it, but you may also find it is fine in moderation.

No. 4: Do check references before hiring a sitter. Never assume loading the dishwasher is something a sitter knows they are expected to do. Ask references what the sitter specifically accomplished for them. If taking your child to the park, making art projects out of Jell-O, and tidying your house are things you require, a reference can tell you if they trust a sitter to follow through.

No. 5: Do review diaper changing with your sitter. I don’t care if she has “night nurse for triplets” on her resume. Just smile and say something like, “I know this is ridiculous, but if you would humor me, let’s change a diaper, so you’ll know where the diapers and wipes are!” Believe it or not, there are times I have been puzzled to find my child soaked through her diaper overnight only to find the sitter put it on backward.

No. 6: Do take your lunch break. Because isn’t lunch the whole point of work? I like work but I love chatting with my co-workers over lunch. Also, I have a thing for the cafeteria coconut cream pie. If you are away from your cherub for eight to nine hours, what are another 30 minutes or so if it means your workday has a fun part that involves fellowship … and pie?

No. 7: Do give your sitter a 30-minute warning before you come home. This gives her a chance to do the things she should have done while the baby was napping, like fold that basket of laundry and wipe down the high chair tray. If she’s awesome and did those things already, she now has plenty of time to put away the books and toys your child has strewn about. Walking into a clean house after working all day makes giving the heads-up worthwhile. 

No. 8: Do get everything ready the night before. It’s hard enough to get out the door when you just need to kiss the baby one last time (10 times). Add a 5:30 a.m. nursing session, another at 7:45, and a diaper change (or two), and you will appreciate any spare second you can find. The night before, lay out your work outfit. If you can shower at night without suffering from crazy morning hair, do it. Don’t forget to prep the coffee machine the night before!

No. 9: Do leave for work before your partner, if schedules allow. And not just because you get sensitive when your child jumps into the sitter’s arms and hardly notices you leaving. If you’re a chatterbox and your partner is not, leaving a note is more time efficient than hanging around while the sitter reads it, then telling her everything you already wrote, giving her a tour of the fridge, and chatting about the weather when your husband could have done the hand-off in three minutes, and all you would have had to do was trust that everything would be fine and the sitter would text you with any questions.

No. 10: Do remember that this too shall pass. I know the frustation of getting up with a crying baby at 2 a.m. night after night. If you have a partner, consider a rotating schedule so that each of you potentially gets several consecutive hours of sleep. If that’s not possible, you’ll have to take the word of veteran moms everywhere that eventually, babies sleep through the night. And, as tired as you may be now, your baby smiling and bouncing upon seeing your face when you get home from work makes for pretty good rejuvenation. 

Pam Moore is an award-winning freelance writer, intuitive eating coach, and host of the Real Fit podcast. Get her free guide to improving your body image at This article was originally published on Scary Mommy.