Well, I’ve now been back in work for 11 weeks after ending my maternity leave. So I thought I’d come on here, take over the blog for a little bit, and write about what’s it’s been like being back in work. It wasn’t that long about I was nervously writing about how I felt before returning back to work. I’m not going to lie, I really didn’t want to go back, but now that I’ve back for a while I’ve started to actually enjoy it.
What’s It Like to Be Back in Work After Maternity Leave?
When I first went back to work it was horrible! Not the job itself, but leaving Isabelle was something that I never wanted to do. I was also worried about Ross, my husband. I know he’s had his struggles since becoming a father, so I was a little bit worried about how he would cope.
Whilst he’s had his bad moments with me in work, for the majority of the time he’s been pretty good. I think in fairness to him, most people would find it quite difficult being with a baby for 13+ hours with no car and being ‘stuck’ in the house. So I don’t really blame him for having some rough moments.
I’m just glad that I don’t have the added worry of wondering whether he’s going to cope anymore. Usually I can go off to work and when I get chance to finally text him a simple “all ok?” I get a positive reply. I also love the fact that he does lots of Instagram stories throughout the day. It might sound silly, but he basically does them for me. He likes to download them all at the end of the day and we watch them back together. Usually he chucks them on Facebook too, so here’s a random example:
Keeping Up Breastfeeding Whilst In Work
Despite the fact that I work 12.5 hour shifts 3 days a week, unless I have leave to use, I’ve kept up breastfeeding.
Before having Isabelle my plan was to gradually wean her off the boob in November/December ready for work when I went back in January. That plan quickly went out the window the more I read and talked about breastfeeding whilst being back in work. People said that your boobs would adjust, the baby wouldn’t seek it quite as much as when you’re not there, and you’ll simply be fed off more when they finally get hold of you. And it’s been UNBELIEVABLY TRUE! I can pretty much go all day in work without expressing, Isabelle doesn’t drink nearly as much as when I’m there, and she feeds like a good one when I’m home!
We’ve also managed to knock down the amount Isabelle takes when I’m in work from 9-12oz to 5oz. We might be able to do 4, but we’ll see how that goes.
Expressing in Work
I’ve been very fortunate that I have an employer that fully supports the fact that I might want to express whilst in work. I’m not that surprised. I do work for the NHS after all. It would be slightly weird if they weren’t supportive when they clearly want to support and encourage breastfeeding. I know there are rules in place that allow you to be able to do it. But it does help knowing that I’m fully supported.
In all honesty though, I haven’t really had to express that much. At the moment, I don’t really do it that often. I simply wait until I get home and do it then. Isabelle is usually asleep on Ross, so I sort myself out before she wakes and realise that I’ve come home. It’s also been a great help that we have an electric breast pump! It means it literally takes me 5-10 minutes and I’ve got an easy 5oz bag ready to store in the freezer. That’s one thing that’s made life so much easier!
A Working Parenting From Here on Out
I’m not going to lie, it does kind of suck being back in work after maternity leave. I really do miss being off all the time with Isabelle. I know some women are more career driven, and really do want to get back. But I would love to be in a position financially to finish work and just be a stay-at-home mum for the time being. At the same time, though, I do love my job. It doesn’t grieve me to leave the house at 6:15am and not be home until 8pm. Yes, I’d rather be in the house. But having a job I love makes it all so much easier!
Don’t worry, hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m off again, although next time I’m taking the full year! No need to panic, we’re not sure when we want to start trying for baby number two. But I doubt it’ll be too long.