Post # 1
I will not be able to take maternity leave. I am taking a short leave of 3 weeks to recover but then i will return to work from 7l30am to 5:30pm. My husband and mother will be covering infant care during that time until our child is old enough for daycare.
Please no judgment. There is no other possible option and I was not willing to wait longer to get pregnant (I am alread 37).
Anyway, I’d love to hear from women who were also unable to take maternity leave and had to go back to work. What did you do? What do you advise? What were your strategies? How did it work?
Thank you so much in advance
Post # 2
My friend and coworker had her first child during student teaching and took less than a week off! If she had taken more time off she would have had to repeat the experience. With her second child she took about a month off because it was mostly unpaid. As long as you and baby are healthy, I think three weeks is fine. Just make sure you’re well enough. Congratulations!
Post # 3
I’m sorry you’re in such a position. But hopefully this might help you.
1) I’d decide now to formula feed – don’t add any extra stress to this
2) do everything you can to have a natural birth without an epidural, your recovery will be quicker. That said, start working out a contingency plan in case of a c section – you will need 6 weeks recovery from a major operation
3) talk to work now about what flexibility they can give you during those first months back, working from home, doing part time, compressed hours anything at all.
4) don’t underestimate how hard it can be to leave your newborn, forgive yourself and prepare yourself
5) work out a plan just in case you really can’t stick to the 3 weeks. You have no idea what you’ll be like after and you might need to alter this plan
6) work out a plan in case you need to stop work before the birth or if there are any complications. You might sail through pregnancy, but you might not
ETA: I’d also start campaigning for better maternity leave where you live and pointing out to your employer that such an archaic approach to maternity leave will cost them female talent. It is possible to give maternity leave (in the UK we get 52 weeks. I took 14 month with my first and will take similar with my second before quitting) . sunworshipbride :
Post # 4
First off, Congratulations on your pregnancy! I think I did anywhere from a month to 6 weeks with both of my kids and we all did just fine. Of course it’s going to be difficult to leave, emotionally, but that’s really life. I think quite possibly the worst thing is the judgment you will likely get from others. Just mentally tell them all to f-off. “My personal life & parenting aren’t really any of your business.” Don’t let others steal your joy!
I would be prepared to bottle feed as that will provide for more flexibility with caregivers.
Post # 5
I’m not a mom yet but I’m starting to think about these things too.
Have you started looking into a strategy for breast pumping? I had a friend who started pumping pretty much as soon as she gave birth. That gave her a buffer stock of milk so that her baby could have breast milk for longer, even after she returned to work.
I know pumping at work sounds impossible but you can try it out for a little bit so that your baby has more time with breastmilk. The friend I mentioned managed it for a few weeks before she stopped. She would pump at work on breaks, refridgerated it, and froze it when she got home. I know her workplace wasn’t super mother-friendly so she had to pump in the bathroom and had to store the breast milk in the food fridge but some workplaces that are better. At my workplace, women are allowed to use the nurse’s spare office and fridge.
Post # 6
I only took 4 weeks for financial reasons. I didn’t breast feed at all so my milk would dry up faster, and I also didn’t have an epidural (not the plan, but after I was induced she came too quick for the anesthesiologist to do it) so I think that sped up recovery time. I was up packing my bag to go home on the third day with third degree tears and quite a few stitches. Never had any help once I got home because my parents lived 500 miles away and my husband couldn’t take time off work. I survived. My Mother-In-Law isn’t one to come offer help so she would only do it if I asked, and even then not all the time. As a matter of fact, our 1 year anniversary was a month after she was born and I asked Mother-In-Law to watch her so hubby and I could have the evening to ourselves and she said no. She also charged us for child care, so this is a whole other topic of conversation. Lol
Bottom line: Don’t listen to those awful moms who shame you for not breast feeding and going back to work too soon. Because they’re out there. Trust me. They can suck it. You’ll be just fine, but prepare yourself emotionally for the time apart. It’s rough for the first little bit, but it gets better. Good luck!
Post # 7
At my job there were legally required to allow me to pump (I ended up not pumping at work as my supply dried up before I made it back). But look into the rules at your job now in case this is feasible.
Also for me a vaginal birth was easier for me to recover from. If you have a c-section will they allow more time off for you?
Post # 8
sunworshipbride : Are you able to be flexible at all in terms of your return to work date? I had a c-section (not planned, emergency) and there’s no way I could have gone back to work at 3 weeks pp. I would have needed at least 4, if not 5 minimum (I took 8). I would definitely plan for the worst case scenario.
Post # 9
Twizbe : I believe she’s in canada, which has a good amount maternity leave. But OP correct me if i’m wrong.
Post # 10
I had a c section on December 21st and am returning to work this upcoming Monday. My situation is a little different where I work from home but I very much have to be working from 7-5 and can’t just sit around with baby all day.
Figure out if you want to breastfeed or use formula. If you breastfeed, pump when you can at work and start as soon as you have the baby. If you decide to formula feed do not feel guilty about it! So many mom’s feel guilty about using formula because we’re told “breast is best” but fed is best! Plus you wouldn’t have to worry about nipple confusion if they are formula fed right away.
Go to bed early. I can’t stress this enough. Some nights will be long and hard and sleep deprivation is horrible. My plan is to go to bed as soon as my two older kids are put to bed (around 8:30). I’ll do all the night time feedings and if the baby wakes up between 4am-6am my husband will take over so I can get some guaranteed sleep.
It will be hard emotionally to leave your baby. But it will get easier! It might take a few weeks or months but you’ll get into a routine and then appreciate the time that you have with your baby.
You got This!
Post # 11
I will only have 6 weeks leave at my current job if I get pregnant again. With my first, I was self employed working from home. The biggest issues for me were trying to breastfeed and sleep deprivation. However you decide to feed your baby is what is best. I cannot stress this enough. Rely on others to help you. You get a pass on laundry and cooking for awhile. Take it easy on yourself, both physically and emotionally, and know that you are doing what is best for your family and your little baby. Congrats!!
Post # 12
beevincent18 : Maybe she can’t afford to only take home 55% of her income or maybe she is self employed (like me) and doesn’t qualify for maternity leave.
Post # 13
I did not have this experience but I did pump at work for 2 kids until they were a year. Assuming you have a normal birth (no csection, no medical emergencies) you will probably be okay physically for a desk job by 3 weeks. It will be awful (mentally) but doable. Hopefully that is what type of job yours is. It will be really terrible though, especially with lingering hormones and emotions if you have to go into the office. Working from home would be easier if it’s an option.
My first baby I struggled to pump early on but I had a terrible breast pump (ameda). Once I got a new pump it was a lot easier. My second baby pumping was easy. I had oversupply so I started pumping on day 5 (basically block feeding baby but pumping on and off to not lose too much supply to quickly). I had plenty of milk by 3 weeks and could have pumped without issue. You really won’t know until you get there, but it’s totally possible to pump and breastfeed if you want to do it so don’t be discouraged. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and that’s okay, too.
Sleep deprevation can also be rough though. I was up all night feeding my kids but during the newborn stage we could both sleep in until 9am for the day (even though I woke up every 2-4hrs at night). In my experience babies sleep okay somewhere between 4/6w until 12/16w or so until the 4mo sleep regression kicks in. The first 4-6 weeks can be pretty rough. You want to go to bed early (like 8 pm lol) so that over 10-12 hours you get a decent amount of sleep.
Those are the two biggest issues to me. Assuming you have a standard vaginal birth you will probably feel okay physically (not 100% but not in pain all the time either).
Post # 14
IMO you need to have a back up plan in case of c-section. If you are not self-employed, your employer will probably require a note from your doctor stating you can return to work. I doubt they will give it at 3 weeks.
Post # 15
milksteak : I was responding to someone who said to campaign for better maternity leave which i’m assuming they thought she was US. No judgement from me, I’m a working mom…returned to work at 8 weeks with my son and returned to school 4 weeks after giving birth.