It's Working Project

"Focus on what YOU can do, what your own priorities are, and what makes YOU happy."

What is one piece of advice you wish you could offer your former expectant self?

I would have said to myself: NO ONE – and I repeat, NO ONE – is the only person feeling these huge conflicted, exhausted, and muddled feelings upon returning to work after having a baby. The best thing you can do to help yourself through this is to connect with other mamas.

FOR MOMS: If you breastfed, was there a place for you to pump that met your needs and was conducive to your success? If you breastfed, how did you decide to continue? FOR DADS: What, if any, adjustments did you (or your workplace) make to your schedule after having a baby? Was it specific to your manager or larger, whole work culture?

Yes, when I returned to work. I pumped 3x/day with my first baby and 2x/day with my second.

How much leave did you take, and how comfortable were you taking it?

I took approximately 20 weeks with my first child and 16 weeks with my second. I felt very fortunate about the time, given the standard leave duration in the US. By 20 weeks, I was ready to have more adult human contact, though I certainly missed my little one.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

My biggest concern after my son was born was that he refused to take a bottle, so I genuinely feared he would starve to death when I was away from him for the day. I finally figured out that the problem wasn’t the bottle but rather sour milk. I had excess lipase in my breastmilk that made it turn sour after about 4 hours in the refrigerator. Scalding the milk at 160 degrees for 15 seconds got rid of the excess lipase and made it drinkable. So when I went back to work, I had what looked like a little science experiment going on under my desk, with a bottle warmer and a candy thermometer.

Who was your biggest source of support in returning to work? What was your biggest pregnancy indulgence?

I did not have a specific back-to-work mentor, but I sought out others in my office who had had children to ask for advice.