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Getting scared about going back to work(29 Posts)
My dd is seven and a half months now and I'm planning on going back to work full time at Easter (so she'll be about ten months). Basically, I'm shitting myself at the thought! Both the emotional and practical sides.
Practical first.... I'm ebf-ing her and at the moment she won't take a bottle. I'm cracking on with baby led weaning in the hope that by the time she goes to nursery she'll be able to have a feed with me when she wakes up around half six, then solids at nursery, then a feed when I pick her up (prob about 4.30pm) and a final feed before bed at half six/seven. She sleeps through so no night feeds. Is this even slightly viable?! I really don't want to spend our last few months fighting to get her to take a bottle and formula. Expressing at work just isn't practical - I'm a secondary school teacher so having guaranteed time and a quiet peaceful place to express at work is not going to happen! - so I can't see that I'll be able to send her to nursery with expressed milk. Has anyone done similar?
The emotional side is really worrying me too. Because she's ebf we are together all the time, she's never been without me for more than a couple of hours and I'm worried she's going to be so miserable and frightened when I leave her. I know everyone must feel the same, just after some hand holding I guess. Am also worried I might end up bursting into tears in the middle of a lesson!
Wise words much appreciated!
I have no advice but I feel exactly the same I'm due back to work at the end of march and I'm dreading leaving her dd is formula fed so I don't have that worry but like you I've never left her for more than a few hours, I keep imagining her at nursery thinking where's mammy why has she left me....I could cry thinking about it!
Just read your post and wanted to reply as you are clearly anxious.
Don't really have any advice as my LO is only 14 weeks,but am also a teacher and am already dreading going back to work-not because of the feeding side of things (LO is formula fed) but (and this sounds selfish) because of the fear of lack of sleep when returning to work-am sure you can appreciate how full on a day in the classroom can be and my LO is currently going through sleep regression!
You are not alone though-hopefully some other MN's give some helpful advice!
Me too - I'm back to work at the end of next month and I'm dreading it
I don't have any words of advice, but I do feel your pain.
Surely you will be able to fit in one express at work if you want to?y You must get a lunch break.
Try not to worry about the bottle. 3 feeds a day should be plenty for a 10 month old. How's she doing with a beaker? My DS picked it up easily and was drinking tons of water by the time he started nursery at 11mo. As time goes on and the toddler stage begins, you'll probably be relived of the break from her more.
Until 6 months I couldn't consider ever working again, by 8 I was quite looking forward to work and by 11 months I was desperate to get away and do something grown up again. By 18 months I was upping my hours to FT again! You'll be fine and think of all your lovely holidays together.
Oh eurochick. Bless you. I do indeed get a lunch break - a full hour, which is unusual in schools now. On one day I will also have a mandatory half hour pupil supervision duty. On another I will have a mandatory forty minute pupil activity to run. On another day I will have a whole lunchtime departmental meeting. On another day will be supervision of lunchtime detentions. Lastly, the final day will be seeing pupils for extra help/catch up.
I very often don't even get a chance to pee at work, let alone sit down quietly somewhere private for half hour or so to express!
Thanks for the kind words everyone! I'm sure we'll get through it with mutual hand holding! bottom lip trembling at the thought
Mrscog that is great to hear - she's not loving a beaker at the moment but I'll keep trying.
I can manage a hand express in ten mins. I'm going back to work next week, just before my baby turns six months. It is a busy stressful job and I usually have lunch at my desk. But I will manage to squeeze in an express! Employers have to make some provisions for expressing women. These might help you.
But thanks for the patronising response to my earlier post...
Feel your pain-'lunch breaks' are now just a 60 minute slot to fit in other tasks/responsibilities that teaching time doesn't allow for!
Sorry euro, am a bit oversensitive about my job - to many people telling me how lucky I am to be doing nine til three! When I actually do 8-6 and work at home too. Didn't mean to be snippy. But still, I really can't see expressing at work being an option for me.
Oh god reading your post took me back! Mine are now 8 and 6, the first one I had a whole year off, the second one only 6months. It will be fine - honest - mine not only survived but at 8 the oldest tells me he's very proud of me and my job (in fairness he has only the basic understanding of it and actually thinks its far more glamorous that it is!)
So some practical thoughts
- start leaving her alone for short periods with others in the family. It breaks up the routine for her and you.
- set up settling in time - don't put her into nursery and start work all in the same week
- remember what the HV always tells you - no baby will starve themselves. So just because she won't take a bottle or beaker now doesn't mean she wont when that's the only option.
- never mind her - your Boobs will kill you if you don't find a few minutes to express - don't worry about saving the milk, even a couple of minutes to relieve the pressure and do it to avoid soggy boobs in front of a class room of teenagers! This is probably just the first couple of weeks til your body gets use to the new routine.
- and finally and probably most importantly - at some point you will collapse into a heap of tears convinced you are failing your kids, your family, your school, your pupils, your colleagues - in fact the whole world. Just remember - you aren't failing anyone and 99.9% of mums working or otherwise feel this at some point.
Your idea to feed her first thing and then at pick up and bedtime sounds fine to me - that's three feeds a day. She may take formula at nursery too - sometimes babies do things for other people that they won't do at home (particularly when there's yummy BM on tap!). So please don't worry too much - it will work out. If you can get her into that sort of routine before you go back to work though it might make it a bit easier on you both and stop you getting full to bursting when you're at work and unable to express.
As for the emotional side - well that WILL be tough - but as long as you're happy and confident with the childcare situation you've chosen hopefully it won't take you both long to get into the swing of things. Could you perhaps do a few short sessions before she begins FT to give you both a bit of time to ease into it?
DD was 10 months when I went back fulltime. If you enjoy her job and trust your childcare arrangements you'll be fine! Make sure you allow for plenty of settling in sessions, e.g. leave her in the childcare setting for an hour, two hours, half day etc. That will help both of you.
I'd keep trying with the formula/bottle too. You don't need to force her, just keep offering and see if she changes her mind? She should be on a lot of solids by then - DD ate very little to begin with, but ramped up quickly!
Your baby doesn't need as much milk if she is eating well, but do please get her used to water in a beaker so that she stays hydrated during the day. Is she using bf to help her doze off? Does she have a 'transition' toy - ie teddy or blanket? As a child-minder, I find it had to look after little ones who are BF because they cry/need a feed to fall asleep and I sometimes find it difficult to help them doze off. It's the comfort they miss most! A transition toy (or dummy at sleeptime) generally helps them doze off.
As for my experience, DS1 went to nursery a 10 months old and took his first bottle of formula at nursery (before I became a child minder), he never accepted a bottle from me or DH. He ate less well at nursery than at home and was starving when picked up.
You will also have to pump at work just to get rid of the pressure/excess milk for the first couple of weeks, otherwise it will hurt! Your body will adapt and settle on the two or three feeds a day. You might find that your DD struggles to sleep through for a few days after starting nursery, maybe because of the change of food, routine, or just settling emotionally. She will be fine though.
Lots of ace advice here - especially greatwall, I was just thinking, and seeing as the guidance is to drop all bottles by 12 months anyway (I know lots of people don't achieve this), I'd just go with a cup. DS wouldn't ever take a bottle but survived and has quite impressively been able to drink from a whole host of vessels since about 18 months! (Including a pint glass).
I went back full time (compressed hours) when EBF DS was 10 months. He never had a bottle. We fed morning and evening when I was at work and he just had water at nursery. He was absolutely fine and we fed till last week when (at 20 months) he self weaned.
Emotionally he's been fine too. Like you I worried because until about 8 months he hadn't been away from me more than 2-3 hours, but he's been absolutely fine. He's at nursery 2 days and with DH 2 days and he loves both- he beams when I tell him it's a nursery day! I did a few KIT days when he was 8-9 months, leaving him with DH. That helped us both get used to things I think. Also, if poss, could your DH/DP do drop off? DS made much less fuss with DH dropping him than me- others I know say the same thing!
she'll be totally fine. my ds refused all bottles and went to nursery or granny 3 days a week at 6mo.
he had a bf at breakfast time, another around 4pm at pick up and then again at bedtime (7ish) then one in the night till he was 10.5mo.
i didn't express.
if i were you i'd just start to work slowly into that pattern of feeds when you're with her by offering food snacks between breakfast and 4. If she really wants to bf then by all means let her but offer a snack and cup of water and a cuddle first.
in terms of you... how about taking a break to do some stuff one day soon leaving her with your dh right after breakfast? start with 3hrs or so, building up to four or five, always right after a feed.
Thanks everyone, this is great advice and very reassuring. I have got her nursery start date a week before I go back and she will have settling in sessions before that as well - I'm hoping to get the worst of the adjustment period over before I go back. Including leaky boobs!
She does feed to sleep for naps, I was worried about this too. The transition toy idea is a great one, I'll get on to that asap!
Do schools (as employers) have to abide by regular employments rights for breastfeeding women? Are you not entitled to paid time off and a private room to express or nurse your child? I shall look it up.
Whether you want to do so or not is a different issue, but if you really want to express then I am pretty sure you should be accommodated.
That said, at 10 months she will very quickly adapt to nursing when you are around, but be prepared for new night wakings and longer morning feeds.
Both my children weaned themselves at 3 and 4 years old respectively while I was working nearly full time - they just got their milk when I was there. It does take a little while for everyone to adjust.
I wouldn't even bother with formula/bottles/expressing unless you really want to. She will not go hungry or thirsty.
Emotionally, while of course it will be hard, I found it empowering to find I could be a Mum and hold down my career and it felt like Christmas every evening when I went to collect my sons.
Take care of yourself. I know how hard teaching is.
OP I can totally understand how you are feeling. I am also a teacher and returned to work for last 2 weeks of term. DS was 11.5 months. I managed to get him down to 3 feeds a day (same times you're aiming for) by about 10 months and had no engorgement when I went back to work. I agree that it will be very difficult to express at work. I have no idea where I'd do it in my school for a start!
When DS was 8 months the idea of returning to work filled me with dread. By the time December came round I was totally ready.
I trust my child care arrangements so not concerned about that but already feeling anxious about juggling everything else. Just done such a detailed meal plan for this week making sure meals are nutritious but not too time consuming to cook. Also beginning to worry about pupils and the short time until coursework deadlines and the fact I barely know them as I've been off for a year. I think it will take a while to get the balance right and I guess I will always be guilty about something.
I think your aim of reducing the feeds to 3 a day is totally realistic. Are you able to leave the baby with someone for a morning so you can get used to being apart? For me, the separation got easier. Hopefully you will begin to feel ok about it soon too.
I am shitting myself about going back to work at the end of March (DD will be 8.5mo then.) She's also a bottle refuser, but she'll now drink ebm and water out of a doidy cup pretty well. I'm a police officer, and spend all day out and about so I don't see how I'll be able to express either (esp as I'll have to strip off body armour and a non-buttoning uniform top).
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