Updated at: 29-04-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

We’ll talk about how to adjust to returning to work following maternity leave in today’s post. This page covers a variety of topics related to becoming a new mom.

One of the most challenging aspects of returning to work after motherhood is learning how to prioritize your tasks. Being on a tight schedule after being out of the labor for some time is likely to be a new experience for you. Because of this, working from home can be much more difficult than usual.

14 ways to ease the pain of returning to work after maternity leave

When my mat leave ended, I felt like I was in a war with time as I yearned for it to slow down (please stop growing up so rapidly!) and speed up (just one more hour till my husband is home!). Returning to work was a time of mixed feelings, as is the case with most life adjustments.

But just like there isn’t a manual for how to do mat leave, there isn’t one for how to end it either. Returning to work when your mind and body are still adjusting to the new normal of being a parent can feel overwhelming, stressful and exciting all at once. My heart ached at the thought of leaving my daughter for five days a week after having 15 months together (and just when it was starting to feel easier, too). At the same time, I love my career and wanted to go back to work. There was a constant tug of war going on.

Maternity leave: how to cope with returning to work after a baby

A manual for ending mat leave does not exist, either, just as there isn’t one for how to begin it. Returning to work while your body and mind are still getting used to the new normal of being a parent may be difficult and exhilarating all at the same time. Leaving my 15-month-old kid for five days a week made my heart break (and just when it was starting to feel easier, too). At the same time, I adore my job and desperately desired to return to it. It was a never-ending tug of war.

To ease the transition back to work, here are some suggestions assuming you’ve already secured child care (which can be more difficult to acquire than tickets to Hamilton).

1. Feel all the feels, but let go of guilt

You may be depressed and enthusiastic at the same time about returning to work. Don’t hold yourself back from expressing your emotions in any way, whether it’s by crying or laughing or writing a letter to your loved one. When my mat leave was almost over, I indulged in some preemptive melancholy, mourning all of our “lasts”: our final mat-leave breakfast, stroll, diaper change (spoiler: these things continued to happen post-mat leave, too).

Remind yourself that guilt is a natural reaction to wrongdoing, so don’t feel bad if you feel it. However, going back to work to help support your family is never a bad idea. It is understandable that you may feel bad about leaving your child at day care every day, but it is not something you should feel guilty about.

2. Think about what you want

Mothers polled by the Mom Project — a group dedicated to improving workplaces for working mothers — revealed that the traditional 40-hour work week was not their preferred schedule. Moreover, 88 percent of those surveyed said that flexibility was just as important as—or perhaps more important than—salary.

Consider this: What are the most important aspects of your job?

Is it possible to have a shorter week? Travel-minimized projects are on the rise. You can work from home, right? A well-earned increase in pay? Make a list of your goals and ask for what you want (or plan, if you’re self-employed). Set up a meeting with your employer when you return to work if you aren’t sure how to execute your suggestions.

It could be time to look for a new place to work if you can’t get what you want at your current place of employment. While you’re waiting, make a list of your long-term objectives and aspirations. You never know when that 30-hour work week will become a reality.

3. Get in touch with work early

A quick email or coffee date before returning to work will make you feel connected to the company and on top of things, even if you haven’t spoken to anyone during your mat leave. It also communicates the sense that you are motivated and appreciate your work, and it provides an opportunity to establish expectations for your return from both parties.

4. Planning makes perfect(ish)

When I took maternity leave, my husband came along to help out around the house. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very good experience. An ounce of preparation may go a long way (I know some of you are cringing right now, but please stay with me).

Decide on a new morning routine and do a dry run before launching it (timer optional but recommended). Keeping a to-do list or weekly calendar handy is another great way to stay organized. According to a business called Great Place to Work, employers should provide mothers with a concierge service to conduct errands while they are at work (uh, absolutely!).

You can ask your mother, best friend, or next-door neighbor for a little additional help even if that’s not likely to happen for most of us (especially for those first couple of weeks back). Prepare for the day ahead of time, such as preparing lunches and ironing clothes the night before. You should be able to make meal plans in your sleep within a few months, according to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

5. Try a soft start

Rather than rushing into your new routine, take it slow and steady. Begin with just a few hours per day, and work your way up to full-time care before returning to the workforce (use the time to shop for a new back-to-work outfit or to just, you know, use the bathroom in peace).

In some cases, employers provide “graduated returns” or “soft returns” (lower responsibilities for the first few weeks) (slow increases in time at work until the target hours each day or week are met). Start back in the middle of the week or, better yet, on a Friday to ease the transition back to work.

6. Know your breastfeeding rights

Human rights watchdogs in Canada have determined that businesses must make accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. This means that you have the right to take breaks (in addition to your regular breaks) to breastfeed or express milk at work, and you should not be required to work overtime to make up for this time.

You are “allowed” to breastfeed anywhere you feel comfortable, even though the CHRC specifies that employers must provide a proper location for this. However, discrimination against a woman simply because she is breastfeeding is considered a form of gender discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, therefore you are free to breastfeed in the break room without fear of being forced to cover up.

7. Expect setbacks

The first few weeks back at work were going to be the most difficult for me, as I had expected. Although I was heartbroken to say my last goodbyes to my daughter on the big day, she seemed to take it all in stride. We were, to our surprise, both fine.

We didn’t reach our breaking point until a few months later, when both my kid and I were suffering from severe separation anxiety. When I got home from work one day, I remember weeping my eyes out on the kitchen floor because I was so worn out.

One thing is for certain: There will be unexpected hurdles like colds, bouts of teething, and snow days on the way back to work. A backup plan for child care and the slogan “this too shall pass” can be helpful.

8. Know your child care rights

Child care needs must be taken into consideration by Canadian employers, the Federal Court of Appeal found. Flexible hours or the ability to work from another location are examples of reasonable accommodations that can be made. Unpaid family responsibility leave can be taken by Canadian employees when their children get sick, and they can take up to three days a year (thankfully, most employers will give more days or provide paid leave).

9. Reach out to other parents

Having the support of one’s peers who are also parents can be really beneficial. My back-to-work Instagram stories aren’t just getting heart emojis or “you got this!” reactions; I’m talking about real-life, tried-and-true counsel from other parents who’ve been there and done that. Lean on and learn from those around you. Even better, get a professional mentor in your sector who can provide you guidance on how to succeed in your current position. And, when the time comes, give back by sharing what you’ve learned.

9 tips for returning to work after maternity leave

10. Set boundaries

While you’re at work, try to limit the number of times you call your child’s daycare (or grandparents or the person who stays at home with them) to check in. You’ll learn if there is an emergency. If you ironed your dress pants the night before (or didn’t—up it’s to you), feel free to wear them. Take pleasure in conversing with your coworkers on a level they can understand.

If you work from home, be sure to set clear boundaries regarding when you’re not allowed to be online. Try to leave work at work at the end of the day. Pre-baby you might have planned to tie up some loose ends in the evenings or weekends, but post-baby you won’t always have this option. In order to prevent your phone from filling up with “urgents” once you’ve left the office (or are back “on-limits”) for the day, you may need to devise some innovative time-management tactics.

11. Carve out special time with your little one

It was liberating and agonizing at the same time for me to relinquish control of the home to my husband. Despite my gratitude for his decision to remain home with our infant for the year, I was concerned about the impact on my connection with my daughter of becoming the “secondary” parent.

When I initially got home, it became critical that she have 30 minutes of alone in her room. We also go to the pool on Sundays, just the two of us. We’ve both benefited from these small moments of connection.

12. Take care of yourself, too.

Sixty-three percent of North American parents who work outside the home have experienced some type of parental burnout (also known as “extreme tiredness”), according to a 2018 study by the Business Performance Innovation Network. Find tiny methods to nourish your body and mind as much as you can, without making “self-care” a stressful component of your to-do list.

Set a reasonable time for going to bed. Get together for a cup of coffee with your best friend. Take a walk during your lunch break if you can manage it. Get a massage or see a therapist with the help of your benefits, if you have any. If a village is needed to raise a child, then a village is also needed to assist a parent, and that is surely nothing to be ashamed of.

13. Remember your worth

There are many fallacious stereotypes about mothers returning to work (and I emphasize mothers here since, regrettably, these biases tend to be gendered), such as that they are more distracted at work, put in less effort, or are not interested in career growth (um, no). According to a huge amount of studies, mothers are equally as productive and efficient as men and non-parent employees.

In addition, Harvard professor Kathleen McGinn conducted a worldwide survey of thousands of women and men and discovered that daughters reared by mothers who worked outside the home earned more money and were more likely to hold managerial jobs as adults. On the plus side, sons were more inclined to help out around the house and provide care for aging family members. I take solace in these stats when I question my decision of returning to work full-time (but I also don’t hold on to them too tightly because I believe that if I choose to be a stay-at-home parent one day, I can also raise a daughter who becomes a boss or son who is committed to raising his children).

14. Cut yourself some slack

Moms returning to work (and I use the word “moms” here because these biases tend to be gendered) are subjected to a slew of stereotypes about their ability to focus, put in less effort, or be uninterested in their career advancement (um, no). When it comes to productivity and commitment, mothers and non-parent employees alike are equally as capable and productive as their male counterparts.

In addition, Harvard professor Kathleen McGinn conducted a survey of thousands of women and men from throughout the world and discovered that girls raised by mothers who worked outside the home earned more money and were more likely to hold managerial jobs as adults. Sons fared better, either: they were more inclined to help out around the house and devote time to caring for aging relatives than were daughters.

This data gives me some peace of mind when I’m doubting my decision to go back to work full-time (though, I must admit, I don’t hang on to it too hard because I feel that I can also raise a daughter who becomes a boss or son who is dedicated to raising his children).

Advice on going back to work after maternity leave

You get more and more enthusiastic as your due date nears. The exhilarating experience of being a parent is just around the corner.

When it comes to your parental leave benefits, though, your joy might rapidly turn to fear. After maternity leave, the last thing you want to think about is returning to work.

Getting used to being a mom is both magical and exhausting. Every restless night feels entirely new while you’re learning how to be a parent. The thought of returning to work so soon after having a child may be too much for some mothers to handle.

Preparing ahead of time can assist ease the transition from maternity leave to full-time employment.

Getting back to work after maternity leave can be emotionally and logistically challenging.

Why is it so hard to return from maternity leave?

You’re not simply looking out for your baby’s well-being during the first few weeks of their life. Additionally, you’re learning the ropes of being a parent.

Your objectives and viewpoint may evolve throughout time. This is perfectly acceptable. For some, the thought of going back to the way things were before the adoption may seem unthinkable.

When your life has changed so dramatically, returning to work might be difficult. If they’re able, that’s one of the reasons why so many women prefer to take more time off after having a child.

As many as 84 per cent of working mothers believe that money was a major factor in their decision to return to the workforce.

When you return to work, it can feel as if you’re making a decision between a profession and a child. You may feel emotions you’ve never felt before as your hormones take over.

Emotions you may feel and how to cope with them

Returning to work after a postpartum period of adjustment can be difficult. Reentering the workforce after maternity leave can be difficult due to hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and feelings of being out of control.

Observing your emotions and having the assistance you need to deal with them is an important aspect of returning to work. Here are some of the most frequent feelings that new moms go through, as well as some suggestions for how to cope.


Leaving your child with a stranger can be a stressful experience. Postpartum depression and anxiety can cause you to worry about your child’s safety, so it’s important to get help if you need it.

Your caregiver can help alleviate some of the stress of the day by scheduling regular check-ins. Taking deep breaths between calls might help alleviate unwanted thoughts and feelings.


It’s possible that you’re feeling guilty about returning to work, regardless of how nervous or pleased you are. It’s normal to wonder if you’re making the right decision in the face of so many differing perspectives.

Discuss your decision with loved ones, a parenting coach, and healthcare providers. Avoid spending time with people who try to tell you how you “should” feel or act; instead, choose carefully who you spend time with.


There is a lot of postpartum rage, despite the fact that it’s rarely talked about. If you’re feeling unhappy about having to go back to work so soon after giving birth, you might be tempted to blame your employer.

When you’re enraged, take a moment to reconnect with your body. Anger can be released by doing yoga, meditating or exercising.

You can also seek the advice of a mental health expert if you find it difficult to regulate your feelings of aggression.

6 Strategies to Power Your Return to Work After Maternity Leave


New mothers who are reentering the workforce often experience feelings of sadness. The baby blues, postpartum depression, and feeling overwhelmed are all associated with a sense of melancholy. Even in the workplace, sobbing is perfectly acceptable, even though it feels awkward to do so.

Cut yourself some slack and be kind to yourself. Practicing self-compassion when you’re exhausted can be difficult, but allowing yourself to feel sad without judging it can make a tremendous difference.


It’s also common to be ready to get back to work after a vacation. In the midst of the upheaval of becoming a new mother, it can be helpful to return to a profession you enjoy or one that is comfortable to you.

Make the most of the time you spend with your child. For the sake of your health and that of your child, return to work if it provides you happiness and fulfillment.

Before going back to work

Let’s face it: new moms returning to work confront unforeseen difficulties. Going back to work involves a lot more planning than you might think.

The more you prepare during your maternity leave, the easier it will be to adjust to life with your new baby. Listed here are five techniques to prepare for your return to work after a vacation.

1. Find reliable childcare

One of the most difficult components of returning to work is finding child care. As soon as possible, begin searching for a home.

To begin looking for a home before your child is born may seem pointless, but asking for recommendations from friends might make the search process go more smoothly.

Do some practice runs with your child care provider before you start working. As a result, you’ll be more comfortable leaving your child with them.

2. Make a feeding plan for you and the baby

You should decide whether or not you will nurse your baby full- or part-time before you return to work.

To keep your milk production steady and provide for your child while you’re away from home, you’ll need to pump while you’re at work.

You need to plan your meals while you’re breastfeeding because it requires a lot of your energy. Your energy and milk supply can be maintained by meal planning.

3. Consider flexible hours

Some new mothers choose to work from home or on a flexible schedule in order to maintain a close relationship with their newborns. 52 percent of women, on the other hand, are anxious that they will be criticized for having flexible work hours.

Ask your co-parent or other sources of help on the ideal timetable for you and your family. Be aware that your partner may also be able to adjust their own schedules.

4. Schedule self-care

Burnout can result from trying to juggle a full-time job and a new baby if self-care isn’t prioritized.

Don’t wait until you’re in the midst of a workday to plan your downtime. Plan for self-care in your new daily routine.

5. Deep clean your house

You may find it more difficult to do your tasks now that you’re back at work. Start the day with a clean house and you’ll feel more at ease.

Call a friend or family member to help you clean up. If you can afford it, engage a cleaning service to handle the job. Maintaining your home is an important part of adjusting to the demands of a full-time job. Face the facts. Even if you prefer a spotless home, the most important thing is that it is secure. Cleaning up after a baby necessitates additional, often cumbersome equipment, so don’t expect it to be immaculate and orderly all the time.

When it comes to cleaning the house, you don’t have to do it all on your own.

Your first week back at work

Although it will be difficult to adjust to your first week back at work, it is something you can handle.

It takes time to learn how to successfully juggle being a mom and a full-time employee. After all, 44% of new moms report that juggling childcare issues and sick children is the most difficult part of returning to work.

We’ve compiled a list of five things you can do to improve your work-life balance.

1. Set boundaries

Work out with your boss how many hours each week you can devote to your job duties. During this session, you can also determine what your work/life balance needs are.

Now is the time to declare whether or not you’re available for overtime or out of communication after regular work hours.

Set expectations with your coworkers by establishing boundaries.

2. Prepare for the unexpected

Even if you can work full-time now, you may need more flexibility in the future when your child gets sick, or a babysitter cancels.

In the future, if your child becomes sick or a babysitter cancels, you may need more flexibility than you can currently provide.

3. Speak with HR

It’s possible that some companies don’t advertise their parental leave policies.

To find out what benefits you’re eligible for, talk to a benefits specialist at HR. Phased programs, breastfeeding assistance, and mental health supports may be available to help you return to work after maternity leave.

4. Keep track of your emotions

Within the first year of motherhood, postpartum sadness and anxiety can occur. When you return to work, don’t begin to push away your emotions.

To keep tabs on your moods, have a journal or an app on your phone close at hand. Keeping a journal of your feelings might help you see patterns and seek help when necessary.

5. Redefine your priorities

Your priorities have changed during your absence. Your employees, on the other hand, may not get it.

Consider your top priorities and follow their lead. You can work with a coach to figure out how to make your new priorities work in your current job.

6. Practice self-compassion

We all know how difficult it is to balance being a working parent with having to care for your children.

You are juggling the demands of a career and the care of a small living creature. Changes in your body and hormonal shifts are still taking place. You’re probably in charge of a childcare provider or a timetable for drop-off and pick-up. You may be feeling drowsy.

Cut yourself some leeway and work on developing self-compassion and fair expectations for yourself and others.

The do’s and don’ts of going back to work after maternity leave

With a new baby in the house, it might be difficult to get back to work. Things that were once second nature to you may take some time to feel that way again.

There are 84% of working mothers who agree that returning to work is the best option for themselves and their children. Fortunately, things do improve for the majority of people.

For returning to work following maternity leave, here are some quick and easy do’s and don’ts.

Do cut yourself some slack

Even though work is the same as it has always been, this is all brand new. If you’re a new mom, you might be experiencing a higher level of forgetfulness or confusion than typical. Taking a deep breath, remind yourself to forgive yourself.

Don’t expect your coworkers to understand

Maternity leave has a lot of myths surrounding it. Coworkers may inquire frequently about the length of time you’ll be away. Stop them in their tracks.

Do ask for the help you need

It doesn’t matter whether you need aid with a project, HR assistance, or even a personal coach.

Don’t give in to peer pressure

If you have a hard time saying no, going back to work can be even more difficult. In order to prevent taking on too much too soon or remaining “for a few more minutes,” establishing boundaries is essential.

9 Tips for Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave - Lifehack

Do talk to your boss about your new situation

Having the backing of your supervisor can go a long way. Have a dialogue with your pediatrician as soon as possible if an appointment, sick day, or other unexpected change occurs.

Don’t ignore your body

Your body is still recovering from childbirth in many ways, and the restless nights aren’t making things any better. Make sure you get plenty of water, have a healthy meal, and get some movement in throughout the day.

Do prioritize your mental health

A new parent’s mental health can be precarious, so seek help from a skilled practitioner and keep a journal to document your moods.

Don’t try to “catch up”

Begin to work with an eye on the future. A coworker can help you catch up, but don’t start digging through previous emails to see what was overlooked.

Do connect with other working parents

Having a conversation with other working parents can help you better understand your own situation. Inquire about how other parents juggle their work and home responsibilities in your workplace or in your wider social circle.

Don’t force yourself to go back if you’re not ready

For some mothers, returning to work after having a child might be a challenge. You may not be ready to return to work just yet if your physical and emotional well-being are deteriorating. Try out part-time or extended leave to discover whether it works for you.

Going back to work doesn’t have to be scary

After taking parental leave, the future of your job can be a little unclear. For some, the method they used to work may no longer be effective. While returning to work after maternity leave is difficult, you may succeed if you have the correct support in place.

Your new role and identity at work and at home can be eased into with the support of BetterUp’s professional coaching services. A career coach can be an invaluable resource when it comes time to return to work following a time off for childbirth.

Here are some tips that might help

The first step in getting organized for me is to create a daily/weekly calendar so that I can keep track of all of my tasks.

When I’m in transition, I try to create new habits instead of merely breaking old ones, like accomplishing everything before going to bed or setting out an hour every morning to manage my email. –

To compensate for the missed time, it is crucial for me to plan ahead, as I know that I am less likely to be able to work through lunch and make up for it at this time.


How do you deal with separation anxiety when returning to work?

You may want to discuss the possibility of a gradual return to work with your supervisor. Ask if you may come back on a part-time or partially remote basis, allowing you to gradually adapt to small separations from your kid while gradually easing into a full-time schedule.

How many moms go back to work after maternity leave?

Paid Leave US (PL+US) estimates that one in four American women return to work within two weeks of delivering. A minimum of six weeks off work after childbirth is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Do babies forget their mom when they go back to work?

To put it simply, the quick answer is no. When you return to work, your kid will not feel as if you have abandoned him or her. In large part because he or she is a baby and has no concept of what constitutes “work,” but also because you are a loving mother who will do anything for her child no matter how difficult it may be.

Do not want to go back to work after maternity leave?

If I decide not to return from maternity leave, what will happen? As long as you’ve completed your maternity leave, there’s no law mandating you to return to your employment. Your employer cannot compel you to return to your old employment if you decide to leave it on your own free will..

When is a good time to go back to work after baby?

Some doctors will allow a new mother to return to work as early as three weeks after the birth of her child, although this is rare. Delivery or C-section complications can lengthen the healing period.

How hard is it to go back to work after having a baby?

Returning to work after a postpartum period of adjustment can be difficult. Reentering the workforce after maternity leave can be difficult due to hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and feelings of being out of control. Making the adjustment back to work involves being aware of your emotions and obtaining the help you need to deal with them.

When is the best time to return to work after the baby?

When you’re ready, you can return to work. Maternity leave may not be offered by your employer; nevertheless, you may still be eligible for sick leave or personal days following the birth of your child. As a result, you may be able to plan your return to work more easily.

Once you’ve decided on a date and how much leave you will take at full pay (if any), discuss it with your supervisor and Human Resources department well ahead of time so they have plenty of notice about when you’ll be back on the job.

Talk to your boss and Human Resources department well in advance about the date and amount of leave you will take at full pay (if any) so they know when you’ll be back on the work.

What tasks do I still accomplish while pregnant?

There is nothing I can do about it. However, I’m still able to get around! It’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to go outside without a coat as the weather begins to cool down. My back and shoulders would probably feel better if I didn’t have so much weight on them… Pregnancy is like lugging an extra person around with you at all times, but it’s not a joke.

Because of this, I attempt to conserve energy by sitting as much as possible when I’m at home (and that includes during meal times). For the sake of my health, we’ve been eating simpler meals lately, like breakfast for lunch or dinner. A relapse of pregnancy brain has occurred.

What activities should you avoid during pregnancy?

According to your stage of pregnancy, certain activities may not be safe. It’s fairly uncommon for doctors to discourage pregnant women from scuba diving or skydiving, for example.

Certain foods like deli meats may also need to be avoided because of the risk of listeria exposure, which can lead to miscarriage or stillbirths, as well as other health issues for the baby in the future.

How far along should you be for maternity pictures?

This type of photo shoot is best done between 28 and 32 weeks of pregnancy, when you have plenty of time before giving birth yet aren’t too self-conscious.

What is the best type of clothes to wear for maternity pictures?

Instead of wearing clothes that are too tight or clingy, opt for flowing materials with a loose fit to assist cover those baby bumps. If you’re not careful, bright colors in the images may wipe out your skin tone, so using a soft color palette is a good way to avoid that.

To avoid seeming distorted in close-up photos, avoid using patterns and stick to basic colors for these outfits whenever possible. When it’s not required, don’t wear black because it tends to absorb light rather than reflect it, making deeper hues look lifeless and boring in images.

How can women find a job after maternity leave?

It may be necessary for women who desire to return to work after maternity leave to seek professional guidance. There are, however, a number of ways they can go about this and still come out on top in the end.

What is half of 28 days?

Your menstrual cycle will be easy to calculate once you know how long half of 28 days is, and why it has been observed as being one month for so long in diverse civilizations around the world, including those with much shorter or longer periods than average (such as 15 or 45). The answer is 14 days in this case!

This means that your body undergoes a complete makeover every month in order to physically prepare for pregnancy, and if you aren’t pregnant by the end of the following month, the process will start over.

Is maternity leave full pay?

No, maternity leave is often paid at a reduced rate of one-half of one’s regular salary.