How to go Back to Work at 6 Weeks

First of all, do everything you can to avoid going back to work at 6 weeks. If you have the option of unpaid leave, take it. Whether it’s not buying a bigger family friendly car or not ordering takeout or not doing anything fun during your pregnancy, do it. But, if like me, it’s not a matter of money, but because your job will not give you more time off because they don’t have to, and you are stuck with six weeks, here are what has helped us.
1. Save your PTO. My company let me take 6 weeks unpaid, then use my PTO to come back part time. This also helped a lot when we got the flu. A lot of companies make you drain your paid leave to take unpaid leave, but if, like me, you aren’t covered by FMLA, you may be able to get around this.
2. Enlist help. We cobbled together caretakers to keep the baby out of daycare. It was exhausting and stressful but we felt so much better leaving our teeny baby and going back to work with her aunt or grandma watching her.
3. Cosleep or at least learn to side-lying nurse. At six weeks, you are getting a few 4 hour stretches and a few 2 hour stretches. I think if we had just coslept from 5-8 weeks, it would have been easier than me getting up in the middle of the night.
4. Be prepared. Learn when growth spurts and wonder weeks are. The period from 9-10 weeks was really hard for us but was over a 4 day weekend over New Year’s. I highly recommend the Wonder Weeks app which warns about these periods. If you can adjust your work schedule accordingly, do it.
5. Study sleep. Start learning about good sleep habits before your kiddo shows up. Watch the Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. Read at least one book about baby sleep habits, whether it’s Babywise or Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child or Ferber’s book or whatever. I really liked Baby 411 for laying out and reviewing sleep theory. We swaddled from day 1, we started using white noise early, we rock/bounce/nurse to sleep. We started a bedtime of 8ish early on because it gave us a couple hours to get things done (or I slept and my spouse got things done.)
6. Shop. Going back at 6 weeks sucks, among other reasons, because none of your clothes fit. If you can, only buy maternity/nursing shirts. This will help you be prepared. Otherwise, look for loose, v or cowl neck tops. The test is, can you pull the neckline down over both boobs at once? Buy 1-2 sizes up. I wear a small normally and I’m wearing a large right now. Order nursing bras in advance. Order at least two one size up and one two sizes up. I wear the sleep bras for daytime activity as well. You will need a new suit jacket. Buy pull on pants (love NY&Co for this) or demi panel maternity pants. Wearing full panel pants post partum sucks.
7. Take a breastfeeding class before you give birth. We did a free one at Babies R Us, otherwise the hospital one would have been $40 and so worth it. I knew the positions, latch techniques and whatnot before I delivered, which meant we got the hang of nursing sooner. This made all the difference for us.
8. Introduce bottles at 3-4 weeks. Hopefully you will have the hang of breastfeeding by then. This means you will learn to pump, and also you will get a break. Go to a bar, get a drink, go for a walk, get a haircut, go shopping, let your partner feed the baby. After you introduce bottles, make sure the baby is getting one every day to practice.
9. Walk. Start getting back into shape. This is especially important if your job is physically demanding.
10. Get a therapist. This transition sucks. I am so happy I made my mental health a priority, and it helps a lot on tough days.
11. Vitamin C. I got sick because I was burning the candle at both ends and my immune system basically collapsed. Try to sleep if you can, when you can. Do whatever else you can to stay healthy.

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4 Comments

Filed under Breastfeeding, Family, pregnancy

4 responses to “How to go Back to Work at 6 Weeks

  1. Feeny

    Six weeks!! Yikes!! I am looking at 8 weeks right now, which is still not great but we are doing what we can. One thing we are thinking about is having my husband take his 2 weeks that his company is giving him following my 8 weeks, this way baby gets 10 weeks before daycare. I am nervous that this is one of those things that sounds like a great idea but when i am alone directly after having baby I am going to regret it.

    Thank you so much for writing about stuff like this! I’m about 12 weeks and am soaking up everything I can.

    You’re doing a great job!!

    • vadoporroesq

      See if your husband can work from home! What sucked for us was we spent a full week in the hospital and I definitely needed help that first week at home, but my partner basically spent it cleaning and taking care of stuff and checking in on stuff. He could totally have worked from home. If you can deliver on a Friday, you could get by with him taking one week at the beginning and one after you go back. You at least want to do vaccines + 48 hours if you can before daycare, so I think him taking time after you is great. Also, from a feminist perspective it’s super important that your spouse be able to comfort, feed, and change your child and a week alone with baby is so helpful for that. Congrats on your pregnancy!

      On Monday, January 26, 2015, Vado Porro – Go Further wrote:

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      • Feeny

        Thanks!! Yea, he is a chef so there isn’t much he could do from home. Maybe some menu planning and ordering and such but nothing crazy. I am actually pretty excited about him getting time with the baby on his own. I can be something of a control freak and have nannied newborns for years so I’m very afraid I’m going to be over his shoulder telling him how to do everything and how not to do everything. I think them having their own time is important. Plus just the simple fact that I don’t want our household to be one where I’m the only one who “knows” how to do something, and I know he doesn’t want that either.

        I would love to hear more about pumping at work if you feel up to it!!

      • vadoporroesq

        That post is coming, don’t worry!

        On Tuesday, January 27, 2015, Vado Porro – Go Further wrote:

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