Career Woman

Maternity leave return: 5 top tips to survive the return to work


Maternity leave is one of the longest work breaks. It’s common that the maternity leave return phase is a serious ordeal for both parents and the baby. To quickly adapt to high workloads and leave enough energy and time for your child, use these tips for parents returning to work after maternity leave.

Strategies to survive the maternity leave return phase

In addition to the physical changes that the mother’s body undergoes during and after pregnancy, she will also experience new emotions associated with returning to work. When circumstances separate the child from the mother, it is frightening and frustrating. Returning to work can seem stressful, but in the case of a child, guilt can also come over the parent. To avoid such situations, try to accept the new reality of being a working mother and manage transformation correctly.

1. Organize a Correct and Convenient Logistic Process

Experts recommend drawing up a new (at least approximate) daily routine in advance. Do not worry: you can easily “edit” it already in the process, but it will become easier for you to cope with the load by having a clear sequence of actions in your hands.

In the maternity leave return phase, (especially after leaving early), the working mom will find that her daily routine includes extra bags of baby supplies, breast pumps, and irregular breastfeeding in the morning and evening among other things. But with the right combination of formula feeding using only the highest quality baby formula and breastfeeding and choice of the formula for your newborn, the process becomes easy and comfortable.

2. Formula Feeding or Pumping?

When it comes to parenting decisions, it’s not always clear how to make the process go smoothly. When deciding on which formula feeding is better for your baby, it is important to understand what is included in breast milk and baby formula, such as HiPP Dutch Stage 2, how they differ, and what impact they have on your baby’s health and sleep.

Organic Best Shop offers a wide selection of safe and organic baby formulas from the EU, which are designed to provide your baby with all the necessary nutrients when breastfeeding is not possible. For the production of such mixtures, only proven technologies and high-quality ingredients are used. The variety of types allows you to choose the product that will fully satisfy the needs of your baby. Bottle feeding is a great opportunity for dad and other family members to bond with and become closer to the baby.

Feeding your baby with expressed breast milk through a bottle has its own characteristics and challenges:

  •  Flexibility. Pumping allows you to do it on your own schedule.
  •  Reassurance. Pumping and bottle feeding lets you know exactly how much milk your baby is consuming per day.
  •  Milk reserve. By adding extra pumping sessions throughout the day, you can create a supply of extra milk for when you need to leave for personal, work, or other issues.

Despite all these positive factors, such a procedure as pumping also entails many additional processes and “tools”: various parts of the pump, baby pacifiers, bottles, their washing, and disinfection. All this not only adds a lot of work, but it can also take a lot of time. Therefore, everything needs to be approached reasonably, with a plan and a list of things necessary for a calm and comfortable pumping process.

3. Find the Balance between Home and Work

Changes in the daily routine are inevitable. Some things will receive the status of optional; there will be not enough time for them. But gradually, the family will enter into a new rhythm; this just takes a little time.

Of course, at first, it will be more difficult for a working mom to cope with everything — household chores, classes with children, and work. The husband is your faithful and trusted companion. You can try to complete global tasks together on the weekend, perform some tasks in turn, for example, at lunchtime, and just stop worrying about minor issues.

If you are both working parents, and you can’t keep up with everything, this is normal, and you should not “punish” yourself for this. Recognition of change helps to establish a new life: when a young family has agreed to distribute responsibilities and household chores, the new living conditions do not seem so hostile.

Time management techniques, creating a clear work and rest schedule and following it, and prioritizing the to-do list will help maintain a balance between caring for your baby and professional fulfillment.

4. Take Time for Your Self-Development

To feel confident going to work after parental leave, you need to be relevant to the current market situation, be aware of new information in your professional area, and have the required business skills.

Prepare to go to work in advance: find out what you missed while being away from the office. Take additional online training or refresher courses. The educational process will set you up in the right mood, help you quickly get into a working rhythm, get rid of the feeling of lack of experience and knowledge, and strengthen your self-confidence as a specialist.

Courses and training will help you to not only restore your former high quality as a professional but also gain an advantage over other job seekers, which will definitely come in handy when returning to work.

5. Back to Work but not Monday!

Trust the experience of many working moms returning to work after parental leave. Your first week after a long absence can seem exhausting. The first day of release after the decree will seem especially hard. Therefore, you need to shorten the first work week as much as possible. For example, if it is achievable, and you do not have a strict and demanding boss, if your company does not fall apart without you at the very beginning of the week, start on Wednesday or Thursday. Thus, you will have only two or three working days followed by weekends, and you will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the developed new routine and make changes to it before a full working week. Your return to work will not hurt the child if you feel happy and have time to solve all the problems that arise at first.

Extra tips to help you survive

Never get dressed until absolutely ready to leave the house

Let the benefit of my hindsight help here. I naively assumed that getting a head start by being showered and dressed before my little angel awoke was a smart plan, WRONG. It was a stupid idea. Cereal will stick like glue to anything it comes into contact with and if that’s your freshly ironed White Rhodes and Beckett shirt then so be it. I’ve experimented with keeping child at arm’s length, wearing an apron and wrapping her up in a towel, now I just shower put make up on then get back into PJ’s until literally walking out the door.

Document your new family schedule and put it somewhere visible

Arranging things on the fly is not a great idea in the maternity leave return phase, as there will likely be multiple conflicting schedules and it avoids arguments and nagging (for the most part).   The best laid plans thought don’t always eventuate, so you need everybody to know the schedule.

Redistribute the household chores and outsource if you can!

When you go back to work it may take some time before the chores are more evenly distributed, so draw up a schedule and see if you also decide to outsource some of it by getting a cleaner. Gaining efficiencies by meal planning and only shopping once a week plus getting it delivered means you have more time to relax after a hard day’s work.

Prepare to get sick

It’s a by-product of modern life that when most mothers enter the maternity leave return phase, there will be some form of communal child care involved, these centres whilst a great learning and social experience, are a petri dish of germs for a newbie.

We don’t know any family that has escaped unscathed and for the unlucky among us, it can be a 6 months plus constant colds and chills which is as heartbreaking as it is tiring and takes its toll. While you are going through the maternity leave return phase and trying to balance your new routine and being ‘on’ all day at work, it can feel very draining but you WILL get through it, it’s a rite of passage like every other ‘first’ us mum’s endure. 

Ask for flexibility at work

Talk to your employer about what you want from a role now and how you’re going to make the maternity leave return phase work.   Do you need to leave early, do you want to work less days or even work from home so the pick-ups and drop offs aren’t such a rush?

Most options are possible as long as you are realistic about what you can deliver and communicate openly to your stakeholders about your working hours.


About Catriona Walkerden

Catriona Walkerden is a passionate writer and blogger on gender diversity and women in the workforce at, She regularly contributes articles to Women’s agenda, FITT and others. Most other hours of the day are spent enjoying Melbourne life and taking care of little Miss Walkerden junior.

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