All this week, we’ve been talking to new moms heading back to work after baby. We wrap up our Real Moms Going Back to Work series with Shara, a web-savvy multimedia maven, and new mom to Laela.
Today, this real mom talks about what it’s been like to head back to work as a first-time mom and her non-traditional childcare solution.
Howdy Shara! I know Judah is super excited about his awesome older cousin, Laela. Tell us a little bit about your little one and how new motherhood has been so far.
New motherhood has been great! We seem to have been blessed with an angel of a baby who hardly cries (like, to the point where sometimes we think it might be better if she did cry a little more, when say, she gets a bump!), befriends everyone with her ready smiles and giggles, and is as low in maintenance as she has been early with milestones. Of course, by writing this I know I’ve completely jinxed us and she’ll have learned to throw a killer tantrum by the time I get home tonight.
Fingers crossed, she’ll be tantrum-free tonight! Tell us a little bit about what you do.
I’m a consultant working in digital for the Media and Entertainment industry in New York City. I build websites and other digital things like apps.
You have had a particularly unique childcare journey since you’ve been back to work. Tell us what that has been like for your family.
We have taken a pretty nonstandard route. At the very beginning we used a nanny, which was just as great as you might imagine the most expensive alternative to be. Sadly, it was the nanny or the college fund. We wanted Laela cared for at home but unfortunately we don’t have family in the area. Daycare for a three-month old infant gave me visions of babies all lined up in impersonal lines of cribs a la The Matrix – unfounded, I admit. So we invited a young girl – a friend of a friend who wanted to see New York City – to live with us and help out for a while.
Now that you’ve been back to work for a few months, what advice do you have for other new moms who may be headed back to work soon? What can they expect?
One of the best bits of advice I got was that you should tell your childcare provider not to tell you about any “firsts” that occur while you’re away at work. Rest assured, the baby will do it again in short order and while you are watching. She will not be expert at whatever it is for a little bit so your experience of her “first” will not be diluted. In other words, engage in a little suspension of disbelief and don’t let being out of the house make you feel that you’re missing baby’s big milestones.
Keeping baby fed has been the most challenging part for me. She was exclusively breast fed up until five months. Breaking away to pump at work is difficult, especially when really productive pumping sessions don’t take anything less than a (mind-numbing) hour. At five months her voracious appetite overcame my supply and I finally had to face the fact that I couldn’t claim to be her only source of nourishment anymore and that I just had to be ok with that. My friends assure me that some of my milk is better than none and that it’s still worth it to keep pumping and giving her whatever I can.
As rotten as pumping is I DO recommend you keep breastfeeding if you can though. It guarantees that even if baby is asleep when you come home, at some point during the night you will have some required time together. Not only tha,t but if you commit to waking up just a half hour earlier in the morning, you can still get some snuggle time in if baby is willing to adopt your sleep schedule enough to wake up earlier. Give it a try if it’s not a huge obstacle to get yourself ready for work and add to your morning routine. The time when she’s a tiny adorable bundle is going to be so incredibly brief, I’m more than willing to give up that half hour to enjoy just a jot more of it. Good luck to all!
Thank you, Shara – lots of wise words for plenty of new mamas nervous about headed back to work!
If you’re a new mom getting ready to head back to work, fret not. Check out the complete from Real Moms Going Back to Work series for more real talk, real tips, and- Real Moms Talk About Going Back to Work: Jackie’s Story, Real Moms Talk About Going Back to Work: Sara’s Story and Real Moms Share: How We Chose Baby’s Name.