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Going back to work 2 weeks after birth

(36 Posts)
walkdowntheavenue Sun 27-Oct-13 19:04:34

I'm due a baby in late January, due to financial circumstances I have to return to work 2 weeks after the baby arrives. My job is complicated and while technically I work from home I only spend one afternoon per week at home working, the rest of the time I'm on the road at appointments etc.

Does anyone have any practical advice for dealing with post partum bleeding, breast feeding and the lack of sleep involved with a newborn, while working a mentally taxing job?

purplepingu Sun 27-Oct-13 19:12:01

I don't have any advice as I don't have kids yet but I'm watching with interest as we're planning TTC next year and I may be in the same boat as a wedding photographer. If I have bookings in I'm going to have to fulfil them!

nextphase Sun 27-Oct-13 19:25:53

Practical questions first - who is going to be looking after baby? I'm assuming Nanny, family or Dad, as I'm not sure a nursery will take a baby that small?
And do you have any back up plan for baby arriving late, or you not being able to work right up to birth?
What is the plan if you end up with a c-section, and hence unable to drive?

I'm also assuming that you don't have the sort of job when you get SMP? 'cause I'd be taking 6 weeks at 90% pay if that was on offer, if for no other reason than getting the lochia dealt with while at home!

I bf both of mine and think people should be encouraged to try bf, but think you may need to consider ff. I suspect that you wont establish bf in time to have sufficient expressed milk without spending the majority of your day attached to a pump. You could consider mixed feeding - maybe bf morning, and after you get home from work?

Any chance of splitting the night shift with babies Dad? So one of you goes to bed 9pm, and the other does any wakes before around 1/2 am, and the other one gets solid sleep from 2am til morning. I reckoned I could function on 4 straight hours sleep, and was operational on 5+.

Good Luck!

RandomMess Sun 27-Oct-13 19:27:24

If you are in the UK I think legally you have to take 6 weeks off after the birth?

RandomMess Sun 27-Oct-13 19:30:06

Sorry I was wrong the UK law is

"that you must take at least two weeks immediately after the baby is born. If you work in a factory, you must take at least four weeks."

bundaberg Sun 27-Oct-13 19:32:24

you don't legally have to take 6 weeks off. you don't have to take any time off if you don't want to

OP, I would seriously consider other options. I've had pretty easy births, but wouldn't have wanted to be away from my newborn so early on, I honestly think you will find that very, very difficult.
if you seriously want to breastfeed I can[t honestly see how you can make it work, unless you're planning on having your baby with you??

would part time be an option? or more home-based work?

walkdowntheavenue Sun 27-Oct-13 19:39:16

My dh will be looking after the baby. I do think formula will have to be a consideration but I want to at least try my best at breastfeeding.
I don't have a choice but to work right up until due date, thankfully I've had no complications so far but we are screwed if I needed to finish early as this is the only income we have. Same situation if I end up with a c section, I will probably have to have dh drive me around and see if I can get someone to mind baby.
DH is getting a benefit payment but because of my income this isn't even enough to buy groceries for the week. I'm not based in the UK so the benefits system is different here. I'm not sure what SMP is but I have exhausted every avenue and I am entitled to nothing if I take time off. Even the two weeks I'm allowing myself will be unpaid and a struggle. We had been saving what we could every week and had enough to cover a small amount of time off but circumstances changed drastically and the savings had to be used so now we're in this situation.

RandomMess Sun 27-Oct-13 19:44:38

That is very difficult walkdowntheavenue, I really hope the birth and recovery go very very well. I've had 4 births and they've all been different but after 3 of them I felt good within a few days smile

nextphase Sun 27-Oct-13 19:48:41

OK, not UK based affects things. SMP is the UK maternity payment for people in work before baby conceived. Irrelevant in this case.
Just a thought. If your income drops, is DH entitled to a higher level of benefit payment?
You need to look after yourself, OP. Seriously, consider some formula from the outset - you will need SLEEP. Its great that dad can be around. He needs to do most of the night wakes so you can work. BM can be when your around, and not expecting to work.
Take care, maybe post on a babying forum for your country, and see if you can get any advice from mothers who have done it (or an americain one, think they have short maternity periods). Suspect you won't find many Mum's in the UK who have returned so quickly due to maternity benefits here.

bundaberg Sun 27-Oct-13 19:48:41

walkdown, i really feel for you. that sounds so tough sad

bundaberg Sun 27-Oct-13 19:51:46

if you do want to breastfeed but are away from baby for long periods you would need to express.

you can get manual pumps, or ones that can be used on the go (battery powered) and the milk will be fine stored in a coolbag during the day.

you might find that that is just a bit too much on top of everything else! but it's something you could possibly do if you wanted to smile

would definitely second the idea of trying to find other mums in the same country (do you feel comfy saying where you are on here?) who may have experienced the same or may know of other money you could get?
i know over here there are certain maternity grants that people on low incomes are entitled to.

Unexpected Sun 27-Oct-13 19:52:59

SMP is Statutory Maternity Pay but not relevant if you are not in the UK. Will you seriously not receive any money if you take time off after the birth? I'm really not sure what to suggest but I think you have to be prepared that you may simply not be physically able to continue in a challenging job with a lot of travel right up to the birth.

If you will seriously be out of the house most of the day two weeks after giving birth, you WILL have to formula feed. A baby simply cannot be without milk for that many hours and your dh will need to be prepared to spend most of his days either feeding the baby or preparing/sterilising bottles. Practical advice would be to get used to making up feeds now and learning how to use the steriliser so you are not trying to deal with that in the first days. On the upside, this will allow your dh to also do night feeds because there is no way you will be able to work, travel, somehow try to recover physically from the birth, and cope with sleep deprivation as well.

If you will be driving a lot, and you have a c-section I'm not sure it will even be practical for you to SIT in the car for any length of time, even if your dh does the driving.

There are so many reasons why this might not work and even if it does, you are allowing yourself NO time to recover. Is it really not possible to borrow some money from family to allow you some more time off? Or what about dh getting a job? I know you say you have to go back at two weeks but you also have to weigh up what the long-term consequences of this could be in terms of your own health and emotional well-being.

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Sun 27-Oct-13 20:00:05

Does your dh work / ishelooking for work?

Bunbaker Sun 27-Oct-13 20:10:10

Your circumstances sound so difficult. The major issue will be lack of sleep. Do you really think you can do so much driving and work at that level on just a few hours of sleep every night?

walkdowntheavenue Sun 27-Oct-13 20:23:00

He is looking for work but jobs in his field are extremely difficult to come by. DH may be entitled to more pay but the welfare team cannot guarantee that information. So ridiculous. We can't borrow from family or friends as they simply don't have it to give.
I'm not 100% comfortable here yet as I only recently joined so would prefer not to say where I am.

I'll give a little more background. We had an agreement in place with our mortgage provider to maintain a lower payment, we were doing this and managing well. A few weeks ago we got a letter from the provider saying the agreement was now void and we must start paying the full mortgage amount with immediate effect.
We contacted and reiterated our personal circumstances and then received a letter from them stating our mortgage was no longer viable so we would have to sell or have the house repossessed.

We have exhausted every avenue to have this reviewed and nothing has changed, we have had to pay the full amount and will continue to do this or lose our home. We don't have family we could stay with if that happened and our only option would be living in homeless shelters or hostels.

I'm already suffering ante natal anxiety so I am dreading going back to work after two weeks but really what choice do I have? It's that or end up homeless with a newborn.

Bellebelle Sun 27-Oct-13 20:24:04

I agree that your circumstances sound very difficult but if this is what you've got to do then I'm sure you'll manage. The majority of new fathers go back to work after their children are born and while it's not easy they manage. My advice would be to get your DH to do the majority of night feeds and if you need to you may need a couple of nights a week sleeping in the spare room to get a proper nights sleep, especially as your body will still be recovering from birth. After 2 weeks your bleeding should be manageable, just make sure you have plenty of pads and spare underwear with you should you need it. I think that maintaining breast feeding will be very difficult but anything you manage in the first two weeks is very worthwhile. Don't beat yourself up if you bottle feed though, your baby will be absolutely fine. I would suggest that you have plenty of breast pads handy while you're working incase of any leaking.

Is your DH prepared (or as prepared as you ever can be!) for what it's going to be like caring FT for a newborn?

Bellebelle Sun 27-Oct-13 20:29:36

Meant to add that if you aren't already doing so try to befriend other expectant couples so that you and your DH have some support. Your DH will probably really benefit from having support and sharing experiences with other new parents and as a father it can be hard to make friends with groups of mothers iyswim

bundaberg Sun 27-Oct-13 20:32:59

oh goodness... you already have AND?

personally I'd be looking at every single possibility not to have to go to work so soon after giving birth.

you say "He is looking for work but jobs in his field are extremely difficult to come by"
ok... so is he looking for other options?? ANYTHING would be better than nothing surely? even if he earned enough for you to go part time?

Sell the house? could you rent somewhere smaller for less money? I know how gutting this would be, I really do, but if it would save you money and mean that you got to stay home longer then I think it would be worth it

Can you see a debt advisor person and explain the situation. Here there are free services available that not only will help you get the best of your money but can also draft letters and things to mortgage companies etc to try and get them to help... it's in their interests not to have to repossess your house tbh!

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Sun 27-Oct-13 21:07:42

Theres a baby on the way, a strong likelihood that you will have to go back to work two weeks after delivery, AND your house is in jeopardy and your DH is only looking for jobs in his field? And you are ok with that?

joanofarchitrave Sun 27-Oct-13 21:16:38

I would say... don't panic. Women do go back to work after 2 weeks, it happens a fair amount, and if it's what you have to do, it is what you have to do. The great plus is that this is what your baby will be used to almost from the very beginning.

If I were in your shoes I would aim to have someone around who is an experienced breastfeeder, pref of more than one child, from the start - it doesn't sound as if you could afford a paid doula, so perhaps your mother, an aunt, another relative? Even if you decide to go over to formula completely, since you say you want to give bf a good go, I wouldn't try to do it alone.

PotteringAlong Sun 27-Oct-13 21:22:17

He is looking for work but jobs in his field are extremely difficult to come by

I don't think this is about a job in his field - he needs a job full stop. Stacking shelves, McDonald's, something. I don't think "I'm going back to work in 2 weeks" can be your one and only plan for all the reasons stated above.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sun 27-Oct-13 21:24:08

Breast feeding and working is going to be difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. If you're under that much pressure, I'd say don't put more pressure on yourself to breast feed too. That will mean that DH can do the night feeds allowing you to sleep and rest for your day job. Just be kind to yourself, really.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Sun 27-Oct-13 21:26:18

I disagree that he needs to find a job. He's going to have a full time job looking after a small child day and night. And if he gets a job, you're only going to have to worry about childcare, stacking shelves isn't going to cover much in the way of costs.

Many couples have one person at home whilst the other works. That's ok.

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Sun 27-Oct-13 21:37:02

Yes but what about all this time pre kids? How long has he been out of work? Id guess a while if their home was in jeopardy.

Why hasnt he took some, any work to contribute / save gor post birth?

if the op has a csec, pnd, etc, ALL of the financial responibility is on her, at a time when her recovery and sanity are paramount.

PotteringAlong Sun 27-Oct-13 21:42:27

mary I agree, many couples do have 1 at home and that's absolutely fine. However, not to the extent that they are do much on a financial knife edge that this scenario is being discussed.

The baby is not due until late January - he can work until then without the need to pay any childcare. What's he been doing for the last few months? This scenario cannot have been completely unexpected in the last few months.

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