advice

back in business:
returning to work after having your baby

Thinking of going back to work after having your baby? You're sure to have a few questions about juggling a job with a little one. But there are lots of different ways to manage the multitasking, so that you're both happy with the new set up. Here are some tips for making it a bit easier and to leave you feeling like a true super-parent:

learn more about returning to work after maternity leave

what childcare choices are there?

Go through all the available options before you decide which is best for you when returning from maternity leave. Get relatives on board if you can – it's cheaper and often more reassuring if granny's babysitting. Equally, you may be lucky enough to work for a company with a crèche, so you can pop down for cuddles on your lunch break.

Otherwise, child-minders and day-care nurseries are cheaper than nannies, but may not offer one-to-one care. Spend a bit of time with whoever you choose before starting back at work so you and baby can get used to the new set-up.

will i miss my little one too much?

You may find it hard to go back to work while your baby is still very young, but just remember that no decision is everlasting or unchangeable. Many mums go out to work because they need to pay the bills. Other reasons might be to see other people, to get your brain cogs whirring again or maybe you just want to do something for yourself. Above all, don't feel guilty. Talking about your feelings with a partner or trusted friend will make things clearer so you can feel confident about your decision.

what if i’m still breastfeeding?

Expressing your milk is useful if you're leaving a small baby, so they can still drink your milk whilst you’re at work. Keep your supply going by feeding your baby first thing in the morning and when you get home in the evening. If you need to express during your coffee or lunch break, pack a portable pump and some insulated bottles into your work bag.

can dads take time off too?

Whether it's to look at schools, settle into new childcare arrangements or to visit grandparents, each parent can take 4 weeks' unpaid leave a year for each child – up to a total of 18 weeks until their 18th birthday. It must be taken as whole weeks rather than individual days.

what if I want to work part-time or do a job share?

When you decide to return to work, you have the right to ask your employer if you want to work part-time or in a job share. Legally, your employer must consider your request and cannot simply refuse without reason. A lot of working mothers of pre-school children work part-time, as it's a great compromise between being at home and working full-time.