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How soon can you be back at work after having a baby?

(36 Posts)
iamwhaticallpregnant Thu 18-Oct-12 11:34:25

I don't mean immediately after - I am not expecting responses like "1 hour" smile

I was just wondering if you say work very very part time (only something like half a day a week). How soon can you be back at work after having a baby? It's my first so I have no idea how I will feel once home - how long the 'healing' process is, how old the baby should be when you can leave him with a family member for a few hours etc.. I find it very hard to imagine what it will be like once I am home with an actual baby. Can all you nice Mumsnetters help?

thanks in advance biscuit

oscarwilde Thu 18-Oct-12 11:47:13

Two weeks before you can return legally I think, the rest is entirely down to you and what you are comfortable with. Formula feeding makes it easier but with a bit of organisation you can breastfeed and leave your child with someone else for a few hours even when they are quite small.
With a first child you are likely to be loathe to let your new baby out of your sight, and it's tough to do so but plenty of people have no choice but to go out to work sooner rather than later and provided that your child is being well looked after there is no reason to worry.

Rockchick1984 Thu 18-Oct-12 12:27:13

I think it depends on what you are doing for work as well. For me, I couldn't have sat in an unpadded chair for long until a good 3-4 weeks after having DS, and while still bleeding I bled much heavier if I was standing up for too long. I wouldn't have felt able to be away from DS for more than an hour or so until he was a bit older though, which isn't something I thought would have bothered me prior to having him.

It took me about 6 weeks with breastfeeding to be confident (ish) about when DS would want a feed and also for me to be confident about expressing enough for an emergency bottle in case he needed one unexpectedly. Advice is not to introduce a bottle too early in case it causes nipple confusion, but I had to mix feed from 5 days old (medical reasons) and my DS had no problems with this.

Rockchick1984 Thu 18-Oct-12 12:28:12

How soon were you hoping to go back?

AlisonDB Thu 18-Oct-12 12:57:06

I'm only taking 5 wks off work total.
Finishing 1 week before due date,
Starting back again 4 weeks after,
Just hope baby is on time rather than late,

I am a child minder though, so im not actually going to work,
more like work coming to me.
And I work from home,
and will be with my baby all day so not like I'm handing him over to somebody else to mind.

Re childcare,
if its a family member, then depending on who it is will depend on how confident you are to leave them.
i would leave my sons with my own mum in a heart beat, (shes a health visitor, very organised/ practical, what she doesnt know about babies isnt worth knowing, lol)
but much as I love them I would struggle with the idea of leaving with my dad or FIL (who are lovely but slightly chaotic not used to young babies)

If its official childcare ie childminder or nursery you will have to check what their minimum intake age is.
Eg. I won't take babies under 10 wks old.

Marmiteisyummy Thu 18-Oct-12 14:57:04

With you're first you may well be a couple of weeks overdue, then take 6 weeks for bleeding to stop, bf established, comfy enough to sit. Lots of first time mums (myself included with DS) feel completely overwhelmed and tearful for the first 4-6 weeks. After that it depends a lot on the baby you get.
DS bottle refused, completely, tried everything. He also bf for about an hour then had 20min nap then bf again, cycled like this for at least 2 months. Couldn't have left him even if I'd wanted to, which I didn't. Prepare to feel fiercely protective over your little bundle.
Then it took til he was about 5 months before I got more than 4 hours total sleep per day (broken, in half hour snatches).
I basically rejoined the human race at about 6 months. DS went to nursery at 6.5 months and I went back to work.
So what im saying, is no one will be able to tell you what will happen for you. It's fairly unusual to go back before 6 months and not uncommon for mums to take a year.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 18-Oct-12 15:07:13

I worked self employed from home and worked for the first time 3 weeks after. I didn't have to leave the house but the stress of it and the amount it took out of me mentally was way too much. I wasn't well mentally anyway so it was too much. I regret it but at the time was trying to keep bringing in money.

I was looking after my children at the same time but if i had someone to look after them for me it would have been so much easier. No family wanted to though so i did both at the same time, or worked while they were sleeping at night, meaning that i didn't get the sleep i needed to deal with everything. Not that i would have got much anyway with a baby.

It depends what you'll be doing i suppose and the support you have. Everyones situation is different.

It was really hard for me, yet i still got called boneidle by a judgmental but stupid relation! hmm

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 18-Oct-12 15:10:05

mine BF every 3 hours, and feeds take ages, so for the first few weeks I could leave him with my mum for 2hrs max.

I wasn't discharged by the midwives for a good few weeks as I was still passing clots, and I can't remember how many weeks it took till DSs jaundice went and until it did the Drs orders were to pretty much constantly BF

so I couldn't have for even a few hours for probably 6 weeks


panicnotanymore Thu 18-Oct-12 15:11:03

A colleague of mine only took 2 weeks off for both of hers, and went back to a full on banking job which often involved 12 hour days. Insane, but it goes to show you can legally do this if you are mad enough.

Iggly Thu 18-Oct-12 15:13:39

Little babies want feeding a lot and very often usually. They also sleep a lot in the day but not usually by them selves grin

So I'd not go back until they were a bit older and more robust, 5 months earliest, unless they came with me.

themammy73 Thu 18-Oct-12 15:35:35

I returned to my university course (which was over 100 miles away) when my DC3 was 12 weeks old which was tough but at least DH was at home looking after her. I'm planning to hopefully have a job to go back to when this one (DC4) is about 8 weeks old - again DH will be at home with the children. Think I might be getting the easier end of this deal! smile

PurplePidjin Thu 18-Oct-12 15:56:30

I work 1 evening a week, and dp and i both think it'll be good for me to go back sooner rather than later (I'm a youth worker, it's more of a paid hobby iyswim, so important for my sanity as much as anything!). It'll also help him bond with his child to have to be in charge for a few hours. As a result, i finish mid November for a 30/11 due date, returning at the start of the Spring term, about 6 weeks total. I'm out of the house for 4 1/2 hours max. It helps that i don't think that a bottle of formula once a week will turn my child into the devil incarnate wink

Statutory minimum is 2 weeks, or 4 for factory workers.

PurplePidjin Thu 18-Oct-12 16:02:15

I think (possibly naively?) that there's an enormous difference between leaving your baby for a few hours in the evening with their other parent (and with grand parents on stand by) and returning to a full day in an office. I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong and have my annual leave stacked up just in case

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 18-Oct-12 16:02:55

"It helps that i don't think that a bottle of formula once a week will turn my child into the devil incarnate "

I don't think anyone does, but if you do end up BFing lots of BF babies refuse bottles, they can be very hard to establish bottles with a BF baby, so its worth not setting anything in stone, your baby has a say in it too and if they say nope there's not a lot you can do about it!

evenings are the hardest time to leave them as a lot cluster BF in the evening time, particularly if your baby has colic (and if they do it'll not be quality bonding time for your OH! and you'll need both of you there to take turns so neither of you loose your mind)

Working daytimes I'ld say is doable from 6 weeksish if needs must, but evenings, I'ld say its way longer before a lot of babies (not all) can be left

narmada Thu 18-Oct-12 16:06:26

A colleague of mine only took 2 weeks off for both of hers, and went back to a full on banking job which often involved 12 hour days.

I thought this sort of thing only happened in films. Seriously: how?!?!?!!?

MrsHoarder Thu 18-Oct-12 16:07:16

Ermmm... Evenings were the hardest time to leave DS. He wanted to BF (and wouldn't take a bottle after 5pm). A couple of hours in a morning would have been much easier.

MrsHoarder Thu 18-Oct-12 16:08:16

Oh and sitting/standing was problematic until about 4 weeks.

PurplePidjin Thu 18-Oct-12 16:08:59

Oh well, dp reckons he'll be fine, and he's the one with all the nieces and nephews! He'll have his mum, my mum, and his sister and brother to ring for sanity if he admits defeat wants a second opinion stubborn bugger

Personal opinion is that he needs to learn to cope, and i need to learn to let him. Personal to us, I'm aware others may not agree smile

SandWitch Thu 18-Oct-12 16:13:04

ds was three weeks early and I had not started mat leave.

So, two days after having him I was in the office, trying to get everything done before starting my mat leave officially.

ds came with me and I just breast fed whenever he woke up!

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 18-Oct-12 16:14:50

"Personal opinion is that he needs to learn to cope"
baby's needs are more important than dad points, and you don't know yet if your baby can manage without its evening cluster BF (if you bf) or even if it'll take a bottle - its not 100% up to you, they have to comply! So try to keep plans loose particularly if it's something that's more of a hobby.

That's not to say it wont work. It might. Less likely than in the daytime, but it might.

CailinDana Thu 18-Oct-12 16:20:36

I think it totally depends on the job. A full on busy job that involves a lot of walking around or a lot of mental agility, I would say 6 weeks minimum. It just takes that long for you to feel right again, and that's with a straightforward birth. I work very part time from home and when my second is born in February I won't really be taking any time off, but it's the kind of work I can do sitting on the couch with the laptop while the baby bfs and DH looks after DS. If I feel the way I did when I had DS (fingers and toes crossed, I felt fabulous) I should be fine.

The main thing is not to underestimate the physical toll the last few weeks of pregnancy and the birth will take on you. You bleed for a long time afterwards and if you're bfing you can feel washed out and unwell for ages until your body rights itself again. You need plenty of time to recover and even one day a week of walking around and having to smile and be pleasant could be too much at the very beginning. Plus you can't evisage it now really but you'll be madly in love with that little person and will want to sniff them and stare at them like a loony on a pretty much constant basis. DH wanted to move DS into the spare room for a few hours one night when he was about 3 weeks old so we could both get more sleep. I knew it was a sensible idea and was all set to do it, but as DH took him out of the room I became hysterical blush. I couldn't even be in a different room, never mind a different place!

DowagersHump Thu 18-Oct-12 16:26:45

You also might end up with such bad SPD and have to have a CS so that you're in hospital for 3 days and then can't walk for 3 weeks after the birth like me.

Hopefully you won't be quite that unlucky but you just don't know what will happen.

Dogsmom Thu 18-Oct-12 16:28:33

Interesting thread, I'm pg with my first too and self employed, with maternity allowance I could afford to have 9 months off but I enjoy my job and like being financially independant, I'd hate to have to ask DH for money for diesel etc.

My job is physical and involves me being on my feet all day so I'm planning on having 3 months off once our daughter is here but then only doing 2 days a week (parents are having her).

Having said that I am besotted with her already and am convinced once she's here I wont be able to leave her for a minute let alone 7 hours!

PurplePidjin Thu 18-Oct-12 16:30:44

We'll just have to see, halliweeneyqueeney!

If nothing else, the sight of me baggy-eyed, leaky-boobed, flabby-tummied and tearful might make a few teens remember to use condoms wink

rrreow Thu 18-Oct-12 16:55:14

I work from home for our own company and after DS was born I was back in the office at least a few hours a day from 3 days after the birth. It was doable but I really wish I hadn't needed to do that. (It'll probably be the same after DC2 is born)

I was induced and had a VB which was straightforward. However, even an uncomplicated birth takes a huge toll on you physically and also emotionally. Your hormones are all over the place the first few days. Add to that the fact that you'll probably be pretty sleep deprived as well. It's just a LOT to take in and adjust to, so I really wouldn't throw work into the mix until at least a week, but preferably 2 weeks (for light part-time 'work from home' type work - for anything more than that I'd say wait even longer).

I think you can do pretty much anything you want to, the body can take a lot of strain, but that doesn't mean it's good for you. I'd say don't make any specific plans until after your DC is born as you have no idea yet how those first few days/weeks will go.

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