There’s usually a solution to balance work and family, the crucial thing is time.
First, give yourself time to just be with your newborn in the first weeks. Watch how your baby unfurls and get rest.
You can use your prenatal time to answer a few questions, though you’ll no doubt still have many questions. For example, can you streamline your commute? How close to work or home will daycare be? Can you build a network of back up friends/family to help you?
For a company with 50 or more employees, you should have a clean, private place to pump that is not a bathroom or closet. The door should lock. That’s the law. It might be more useful to talk with maintenance and check out what spaces are available.
The first few weeks back at work are indeed another postpartum transition. Your family and you need time to adjust to new routines. In the same way you prepared for early postpartum, plan ahead for the basics.
Have meals prepared ahead of time. When you leave work and pick up your child, talk, nap or sing with your baby, rather than try to shop, cook, do errands. Your child is adjusting to your day at work, too.
Your family’s needs will change in the first years. You’ll reassess every few months. In time, you’ll figure what’s most helpful and adjust at home and at work.
Programs that Assist Employees
Many of the essential skills of parenting are also qualities of resourceful employees: good time management, setting priorities, communication with others and of course, the ability to improvise.
Supporting breastfeeding employees pays off. Mothers who breastfeed have one-third the number of sick day for their infants in the first year. In this way, businesses can save on costs and sick days. As a result, employees are more productive and I’d bet happier, too. In addition, breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of specific cancers and osteoporosis. This benefits the family’s long-term health costs. And with breastfeeding, there’s less trash on the planet, which benefits everyone.
Healthy employees with healthy families are good for business and for our communities. Support in the first weeks goes a long way to their well-being in the next months. Here are some suggestions for how employers can help.
Practical and Positive Workshops
Sponsor a ‘Returning to Work’ class. Prenatal workshops can answer questions and help families anticipate new routines. I give practical guidance, share family resources and discuss the transition back to work.
Gift certificates for IBCLC Lactation Consultant home visits make an excellent employee benefit. (They’re also a very useful baby shower item.) Money spent on home visits with an IBCLC is an investment in a healthy family.
Imagine if every family had some paid leave. That would make a big difference in the early stresses of parenthood.
It does take a village to raise a child. When we respect the time-sensitive needs of early postpartum, the whole family gets off to a better start and everyone benefits.