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Tips for going back to work?

(deep breath) I go back to work on the 20th. :)

I'm feeling ok about leaving Helen, because she is staying home with DH for 4 more weeks before starting daycare. (I know I'm SUPER fortunate in this regard) So we'll deal will all my daycare fears then. ;)

For now, I'm really nervous about how to get back into the swing of things at work. It is so strange to be so consumed by a career, then totally check out for 3 months, then jump back in. Two of my colleagues covered for me in my absence, so I'm setting up lots of transition time with them. 

I'm anxious about pumping and worried I won't make enough for DD. I really don't want to be stressed out at work and cause a dip in my supply. I'm also worried that I won't be as good of an employee. I've always been a high performer, and I'm not sure how to keep that up while trying to catch up on all the changes, worry about DD, pump, etc. I feel like I'm going to be a total crap employee for a few months...ugghhh... 

Not sure what I'm looking for, I'm sure I'll get through it.... just wanted to get that out. 

DD born March 2011
DS born Dec 10, 2013

Re: Tips for going back to work?

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    The first week is definetly the hardest since you are juggling so many things now. Like trying to get back into the swing of things at work, managing the pumping thing & being a working mommy.

    With the pumping at work. Create your self scheduled times to pump. For me I pump at 10 am, 1 pm & 4 pm. Sometimes when I get home if I didn't pump enough I pump after DS goes to bed. Your milk my go down some, but drink plenty of water and don't stress out! Stress does a huge number to your production! It has too me.

    Good luck with everything. It is tough, but it gets easier. I promise!

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    Agree with pp.  Schedule times for you to pump - make sure you have a designated space before you go back.  If you have a choice, start on a Thursday or Friday, so you can ease into being away from LO.  You iwll likely lose a little bit of volume when pumping, so expect it so you won't be dissapointed, but just remember that ANY BM that you give to LO is important, so don't stress out about it.  Stay hydrated.  If you can get an extra set of horns and tubes, that helps out with daily pumping - you can switch every day instead of worrying about sanitizing the same set every night.

    When I did daycare, I left LO gradually.  On Wed., I dropped off for a few hours and did errands.  On Thursday, it was a longer time, so by Friday, when I actually started back to work, I had worked myself up for a full day w/o LO. Since your DH will be at home, that might not be necessary.

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    I agree with the others, schedule your pump times and be sure you have somewhere designated for you to pump (somewhere w/ a door that locks).  Most people need to pump 3 times a day, I have over achiever boobs and always only pumped twice a day.  Plan for 3, but it may be possible to drop to  2.

    Get everything ready for work the night before, then double check your pump bag in the morning.  You are far less likely to get to work w/out important pump parts this way! 

    I pumped for 9 months, it's totally doable if you're committed to it.  I think the thing that helped me out the most was that at the very beginning DH and I decided that since I had to do the pumping and he couldn't help me with it, that he would be in charge of milk processing, storage, and bottle making.  Pumping, washing parts and bottles, freezing/thawing milk and making bottles gets to be a huge chore.  When I got home from work he would take everything, wash Cooper's bottles, make new bottles and bag the extra milk for freezing.  I never had to do anything besides carry the bag back and forth and pump the milk.  I HIGHLY recommend this set up, share the chore with your spouse and it won't seem like so much. 

    You'll find a rhythm and it will all work out just fine.  Although in all honesty, I'm not as good an employee as I used to be, but whatever, no one has complained!

    My big boy is bounding towards 4! Baby brother coming in October!
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    I worried so aggressively about supply and pumping with my first; it was not worth it. Try to realize that you are not the first, and you are going to make enough -- whatever that amount is, it is enough. (This is just because driving yourself hard on this point can make you miserable -- save yourself that worry/anxiety, if you can.)

    The thing that helped me most with K2, besides past experience, was a good lactation consultant who advised me of one key point: bag separate pump/containers for each pumping session and leave washing up for home. Best. advice. ever.

    That combined with having a pump at work and one at home made life dreamy compared to K1.

    As for work, I found it to be a nice vacation from the babies. I missed them terribly, but enjoyed being spoken to as a person and not  being isolated.

    I stopped pumping after three months back at work and worked into a pump-at-home schedule. Eventually, I worked down to a nurse at home schedule. 

    For me, daycare was harder with my first than my second. Just knowing the ropes made it easier -- if you can borrow from that and know it will be ok, do. I wish my past first-time parent self could have the calm I feel with K2.

    You're a great mother and your feelings are justified. Just know, through it all, you are the best mom to your children. Your daughter loves you the most, no matter what. 

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    imagelilycat:

    I worried so aggressively about supply and pumping with my first; it was not worth it. Try to realize that you are not the first, and you are going to make enough -- whatever that amount is, it is enough. (This is just because driving yourself hard on this point can make you miserable -- save yourself that worry/anxiety, if you can.)

    The thing that helped me most with K2, besides past experience, was a good lactation consultant who advised me of one key point: bag separate pump/containers for each pumping session and leave washing up for home. Best. advice. ever.

    That combined with having a pump at work and one at home made life dreamy compared to K1.

    As for work, I found it to be a nice vacation from the babies. I missed them terribly, but enjoyed being spoken to as a person and not  being isolated.

    I stopped pumping after three months back at work and worked into a pump-at-home schedule. Eventually, I worked down to a nurse at home schedule. 

    For me, daycare was harder with my first than my second. Just knowing the ropes made it easier -- if you can borrow from that and know it will be ok, do. I wish my past first-time parent self could have the calm I feel with K2.

    You're a great mother and your feelings are justified. Just know, through it all, you are the best mom to your children. Your daughter loves you the most, no matter what. 

    Two great points here.  I never really had an issue w/ leaving Cooper to go to work, I didn't cry everyday or feel all mopey and there were a lot of mornings when he was really being a crankapotamus and I was SO glad to hand him off and go drink coffee alone in my quiet office.   [Judge that!]

    He is the best adjusted, most independent little guy I've ever met-- so much so that I have to remind myself of Lilycat's last point, often.  He does love me best, really!  (Even when he loves his daycare so much he doesn't want to leave at the end of the day!) 

    My big boy is bounding towards 4! Baby brother coming in October!
      image
    Hipster dog is not impressed.
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    Aww, thank you guys! LOTS of good advice! :) I feel so much better now. I think just relaxing, and not stressing about it all will be the hardest part.... I see lots of self-talk in my future. :)
    DD born March 2011
    DS born Dec 10, 2013
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    kj07kj07 member

    There are good tips in this thread already.  I started DS at daycare on a schedule similar to CareBear - that allowed both of us to ease into it, and it gave me a shorter work week to ease into work a bit.

    Schedule your pump times as meetings on your calendar - you still may not always be able to keep to them exactly, but it should lessen the chance that others will schedule conflicting meetings during those times.  Related to that - if you're a 3x a day pumper, the occasional 2x a day pump schedule will not kill your supply.

    Keeping hydrated is important - drink water like you're still pregnant :).  I also eat oatmeal in the mornings - there are recipes for quick oats, basically you can take rolled oat, soak them in milk (cows, almond, soy, whatever) in the fridge overnight and then they're ready to eat hot or cold in the morning.  It's a healthy breakfast that can be good for your supply and you can prep it the night before so it doesn't take up extra time in the morning.

    I miss my son every day, but I've also found that I cherish the time I have with him more and appreciate him more because I get a break from being a mom. 

    Good luck - you can totally do it!

    ETA - oh, and PP who said that your husband should share in the prep routine is completely right.  That happens at our house and it makes life sooo much better.

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    I only have two more points to add (you have great suggestions and points above!!):

    1) Dont forget to eat! Someone mentioned water which is an essential to breasfeeding, but you still have to maintain your calories to make milk.  I would get busy during the day and forget to have my snack or eat all my lunch and my supply would tank.  Then I was short then I was worried and frustrated....then I was spiraling!

    2) See if you can start with half days at your job. I went in on a Monday and set up my office and pumped once and left just after lunch for a week.  It was nice to transition slowly back to work and when I started back full time I didn't feel like I had to catchup on every little detail.  I was already getting some of my responsibilities back and it was an easier transition overall. 

    Also, if you haven't already started bottles with your LO do.. She has to transition as well.

    Best wishes on your return!

     

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    imageSuzi-G-:
    imagelilycat:

    I worried so aggressively about supply and pumping with my first; it was not worth it. Try to realize that you are not the first, and you are going to make enough -- whatever that amount is, it is enough. (This is just because driving yourself hard on this point can make you miserable -- save yourself that worry/anxiety, if you can.)

    The thing that helped me most with K2, besides past experience, was a good lactation consultant who advised me of one key point: bag separate pump/containers for each pumping session and leave washing up for home. Best. advice. ever.

    That combined with having a pump at work and one at home made life dreamy compared to K1.

    As for work, I found it to be a nice vacation from the babies. I missed them terribly, but enjoyed being spoken to as a person and not  being isolated.

    I stopped pumping after three months back at work and worked into a pump-at-home schedule. Eventually, I worked down to a nurse at home schedule. 

    For me, daycare was harder with my first than my second. Just knowing the ropes made it easier -- if you can borrow from that and know it will be ok, do. I wish my past first-time parent self could have the calm I feel with K2.

    You're a great mother and your feelings are justified. Just know, through it all, you are the best mom to your children. Your daughter loves you the most, no matter what. 

    Two great points here.  I never really had an issue w/ leaving Cooper to go to work, I didn't cry everyday or feel all mopey and there were a lot of mornings when he was really being a crankapotamus and I was SO glad to hand him off and go drink coffee alone in my quiet office.   [Judge that!]

    He is the best adjusted, most independent little guy I've ever met-- so much so that I have to remind myself of Lilycat's last point, often.  He does love me best, really!  (Even when he loves his daycare so much he doesn't want to leave at the end of the day!) 

    I agree.  I'll be crazy and say I was excited to go back to work because of the adult time I was able to get.  We'd go out to eat lunch. I

    Like I told you yesterday it helped when she was younger to leave her with SIL just like you are leaving her with DH.

    image
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    For me, the second week was hardest.  I just made it a point to set my pumping schedule and stick to it.  If you don't let you coworkers and bosses know when you need to pump, you'll still be at your desk or their desk two hours later.

    Also, it was more crazy the first week because I spent a lot of time catching up.  Just make it a priority for you (and Helen) to pump.  The first few weeks will fly by and it will be routine in no time.

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    Also - ask for advice or just vent here any time!
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