Going back to work when DS is at most 12 weeks

(22 Posts)

This may be premature, but I am already thinking about going back to work even though I haven't gone on maternity leave yet. I start my leave this weekend when I will be 39 weeks pregnant. I am in the US so I will be getting 12 weeks of unpaid leave. So if the baby is born this weekend, he will be 12 weeks old when I return to work, but clearly he may turn up later and therefore be perhaps as young as 9 weeks.

There is no option to extend leave beyond 12 weeks unless there is a valid medical reason to do so. I will be returning full time as my DH is a graduate student and I am the only earner. We cannot afford for me to cut my hours.

When I return to work, I will have the advantage of a baby-friendly employer who will let me bring the baby to work until he's six months old, although I'm not sure it's practical to do that full-time. I have a legal right to breastfeeding/expressing breaks as needed and no concern about getting any trouble from my employer about that. I hope to breast feed! My DH is going part-time on his course so he will be providing a significant amount of the care DS needs while I'm at work.

Any advice from anyone who has gone back this early on how to cope? We will be cosleeping and reducing expectations re housework to a minimum.

BabyGoose Wed 06-Aug-14 22:34:29

I've got no direct experience, but I do know that a new baby turns your life upside down in a wonderful way and somehow you cope. Take full advantage of taking the baby to work and don't be apologetic about it. Bleeding in this situation would be great for you but don't put too much pressure on yourself.

Make sure your other half does all the practical at home stuff. You just need to concentrate on being a mum.

If you feel like your seriously not coping or have a less than perfect birth maybe these would be issues serious enough to stay off work for longer?

Good luck. X

BabyGoose Wed 06-Aug-14 22:35:39

I meant breast feeding not bleeding. Seriously I'm going to throw this iPhone in the bin if it makes any more silly autocorrects!

angelinterceptor Wed 06-Aug-14 22:38:55

I did this with my second DC

wasn't ideal but worked for me and DD and we didn't really have any alternative at the time.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 06-Aug-14 22:39:40

I'm sorry, but what hit me first was the irony of saying that you have a "baby friendly employer" whilst also saying that you have no choice but to return to work when DS is "at most" 12 weeks old.

Are US maternity rights really so severe?

FidgetPie Wed 06-Aug-14 22:44:49

Good luck - I am sure you can make it work and great that DH can reduce his hours.

Out of interest, how does the taking your baby to work thing work? As an employer I think I would rather have someone at home not working than have them bring a 4 month old baby into the office - but maybe it depends on the type of office/work. (And great for you that you have that option!).

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 06-Aug-14 22:47:03

The US are really harsh when it comes to maternity leave aren't they? unhelpful sorry

FidgetPie Wed 06-Aug-14 22:48:50

Ah - I just googled it - apparently it is becoming more common in the US:
www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/apr/08/familyandrelationships.society

Higheredserf Wed 06-Aug-14 22:49:37

My niece received 8 weeks paid maternity leave in the states, apparently that was incredibly generous.

Sidge Wed 06-Aug-14 23:03:26

I went back to work when DD1 was 13 weeks. I worked full time, shifts, and my husband was away at sea for 5 months.

I managed to breast feed and express for months, then switched to mixed feeding.

It's doable but exhausting. I sometimes wonder how I managed!! But she's nearly 16 now and has turned out ok so it can't be that bad grin

LinesThatICouldntChange Thu 07-Aug-14 10:21:40

I returned when dc1 was 12 weeks. This was in the UK but quite a while ago when maternity leave rights were far less favourable. I worked 3 days a week and dc was with a cm. I continued bf too.

From the emotional point of view I'd say its way easier than having, say, a year off and then starting to leave a baby and get back into work mindset.
The difficulties are more likely to be physical particularly if your baby is still waking a lot at night. Having said that, I expect taking the baby to work work you for the first 2 months will make things smoother as you won't have to worry about a childcare drop off. Not sure how that works though... Once the baby is beyond newborn stage it may not lie happily in a pram all day... I would check exactly what the terms are with your employer so that everyone is clear about how the baby will actually be cared for.
Buy in all the help you can like cleaning, and cut corners shamelessly when it comes to domestic tasks.
You will be fine, as I say I think mentally its easier to get back to work quicker, as tbh you won't feel out of the loop at all, and your baby won't have any separation difficulties. But it requires a lot of organisation and you'll need to be kind to yourself physically.

Thanks everyone for your advice. In fact Santa I am fortunate to get 12 weeks off. I only get that because I've been with my employer for more than six months and they employ more than 50 staff. If it were a small business I would only get what they wanted to give me. It does happen here that people use paid sick leave, if they have it, or if not holiday to take 2 weeks off to physically recover and then go back to work if they have no choice. So in fact getting 12 weeks off and being allowed to take the baby to work is baby-friendly by American standards.

Gen35 Wed 13-Aug-14 09:03:20

Yes my old us firm had this leave too...the culture in the uk is substantially more baby friendly. Op I agree re separation anxiety, dc1 went to nursery at 3 months and loved it, slept better as more stimulation at nursery so got more tired and it wasn't until 18 mos that she started to want to be at home more. Plenty of my US friends have managed this, many go back at 6 weeks, as my mum did with her first child.

Supermum222 Thu 14-Aug-14 06:41:31

Oh my goodness! US maternity leave is very bad.
Fair enough, you can take baby to work but what happens when baby cries and constantly needs attention? My son wouldn't leave me alone (I was a breastfeeding mum) the first 2 years of his life. I doubt you will get much work done. Any chance you can work from home?

Sadly, the USA has NO statutory paid leave and a job is only protected for 12 weeks, even for bigger employers.
So mums just have to suck it up or lose their job - I'm pretty sure they have to get all their work done, regardless of whether baby is with them.

Well, it's all on a par with not having a health service; completely different attitude to most other industrialised countries.

melissa83 Thu 14-Aug-14 07:07:05

With dc1 I had 2 weeks off then carried on my degree. I went back to actual work at 16 weeks and have done 5 different jobs with my children with me. Its my first job without them soon and Im pregnant with 3rd and oldes is nearly 7. Im having 2 weeks off after my third and doing a postgraduate degree. All been fine really

Artandco Thu 14-Aug-14 07:08:53

I would recommend you get a decent sling. Not quite the same but I worked from home from about 6 weeks ( could work as much or little as needed though as self employed), and having baby in sling made it far easier as I could walk around whilst on phone or breastfeed easily whilst typing.

mummytime Thu 14-Aug-14 07:19:02

I wouldn't be too superior. In the UK no- one has to go back to work too soon. But when I had my last, and was in hospital for 9 hours approximately, two women on my ward were fielding work calls having just given birth. One had her boss visit her in hospital as her second visitor after her husband.

OP it all sounds pretty good, but I would suggest you and DH plan for a plan B. How are you going to cope if things go wrong? Just having a plan about how he could defer his studies, your parents could help or whatever would be a good idea. Just something to think about and then put away until you need it.

One big question is how in the US do parents cope when their children are ill? Its a real problem here in the UK, as child care will then not take the child. I know parents who end up using holiday allowance, their own sick days etc. to cope.

Artandco Thu 14-Aug-14 07:25:44

Mummy - many self employed mothers do have to go back to work fairly soon in uk. Not because of any rule, but the aft they will receive no money so have to go back to earn

insanityscratching Thu 14-Aug-14 07:33:23

I went back to work when ds1 was six weeks old, I'd have gone back sooner if the Civil Service would have allowed it tbh (had pnd and hated the grind of feed change cry) I had a childminder who had ds from 7.30am until 6pm each day. I'd pick him up give him a bottle and put him to bed he had a bath in the morning . He was a good sleeper and that helped enormously and we had rigid routines. I'd say we survived rather than thrived but I recovered from pnd quickly just by not being at home with baby.

Gen35 Thu 14-Aug-14 08:54:15

the US work culture is tough also as part time work can be hard to find, certainly in IT it didn't exist in my area. The problem with dc is that it's bigger than when to go back from mat leave, you need ongoing flexibility and a supportive environment. If op's DH is studying pt presumably he will cover the sick days.

Chunderella Tue 19-Aug-14 16:33:22

Self-employed mums should get maternity allowance for up to 39 weeks if wished, except in unusual circumstances. Not boatloads, but something.

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