Back to Work After Maternity Leave

When you’re expecting a baby, you want to prepare for everything — from the baby’s first day at home, to their first few weeks on this planet, and beyond. And, if you’re going to go back to work after maternity leave, you’ll want to plan for that, too.

infant girl being enjoying her first time in back-up care

Your baby’s first day of child care is a day you’ll likely be anxiously awaiting, whether you’re excited or dreading it. The time you spent with your baby during their first few months was priceless — and the back-to-work transition might take some getting used to for both of you! 

Here are some strategies to make going back to work after maternity leave less overwhelming for you and your little one.

Back to Work After Maternity Leave — 3 Strategies for Success

Get to Know Your Employer’s Family Care Benefits

More employers are starting to offer back-up child care, return-to-work programs, and other family perks for working parents. 

According to the Modern Family Index, 92% of mothers said they intend to go back to work after maternity leave. And these benefits — especially back-up child care — can help make the return to work easier. (What is back-up care? It’s a care solution that fills gaps in your child’s care whenever your regular care arrangements are unavailable; it makes it easier for you to find the care you need so you don’t miss a beat at work.) 

Take some time to review the benefits your organization offers — you might have support waiting for you that you aren’t aware of yet.

Arrange Child Care in Advance

Worried about finding daycare? When should you start your search? Our advice is as soon as possible — due to high demand and long waitlists (nine months to one year!), many experts recommend you find child care before the end of your second trimester. 

Setting everything up in advance will give you time to do a daycare comparison in your area. You can tour potential centers and ask things like, “What do babies do at daycare? Are they given individualized plans? How is their developmental progress tracked?” Plus, you can learn how to get on a daycare waiting list for the center you want (if necessary), and make the right decision based on your family’s needs.

Remember Why You’re Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

Your career matters! Whether you’re running the company of your dreams or you’re in the process of climbing the corporate ladder, think about why you’re going back to work after maternity leave.
For one, work contributes to financial security. That, alone, may be some mothers’ reason for returning to work. 

Some mothers find that working outside the home boosts their self-image. Others feel it delivers intellectual stimulation they can’t get at home. 

Think about your own reasons and keep your “why” in mind as you prepare to return to work. It can be a helpful nudge in many cases.

 

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT GOING BACK TO WORK?

How do I cope with going back to work after maternity leave?

When you go back to work after maternity leave, try getting back into a morning, work, and evening routine to help ease the transition. Check daycare updates throughout the day (photos and videos from your child’s teacher can put a smile on your face!); do something as a family after work each day; and take time on the weekends to play one-on-one with your baby.

Can babies miss their mom?

Of course — especially when starting daycare and spending time in a new environment. Rest assured, though, your child’s teachers will be pros at making sure your baby is engaged, comfortable in their new surroundings, and having fun. 

How long should I stay home after having a baby?

There’s no perfect answer — all parents and babies are different. However, most daycare centers don’t enroll infants until they’re at least six weeks old.
mother holding child

Get Started Today

Find a center near you to get started with Bright Horizons

Or call us to start the conversation 877-624-4532

Bright Horizons is a United States–based child-care provider and is the largest provider of employer-sponsored child care. Employees looking to become a child care teacher are offered the opportunity to earn an early education degree for free as part of their corporate benefits. Search by zip to find a child care center near you. Bright Horizons Global Headquarters are in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.