It can be hard for new parents returning to work after bonding with their infant while on maternity leave or paternity leave. You have the anxiety of leaving your baby for the first time, trying to get back on a good sleep schedule and just the whole transition in general. Renowned pediatrician and TV doctor, Dr. Meg Meeker was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to share tips for parents returning to work, what they should share with their child’s caregiver, and what to discuss with their employer too.
Candace Rose: What’s the first tip you would give a parent returning to work after maternity/paternity leave?
Dr. Meg Meeker: “Well, it’s going to be hard so you need to really do some preparation ahead of time because it is a hard transition. I think the first thing that’s most important is to prepare yourself, whether you’re a mother or a father going back to work for the first time. By that I mean try to get yourself on a good sleep schedule, and try to get your baby on a sleep schedule as well. I know that a lot of parents struggle with that but it’s really important to get you guys both sleeping well in a pattern that’s going to sustain your work style life.”
Candace Rose: What should parents be sure to share with their caregiver before heading back to work?
Dr. Meg Meeker: “It’s important that you have the right caregiver, that you have a caregiver that is going to honor your wishes, particularly when it comes to nutrition and feeding. I feel strongly that caregivers should know exactly how to prepare the bottles that you’re going to be giving them; that they have emergency contact – they know how to get a hold of you and if they can’t get a hold of you, what are they going to do if they can’t? Also, that they know what to do if your baby is choking. I always encourage a lot of open communication between the caregiver and the parent.”
Candace Rose: What are some key topics parents should talk to their employer about before heading back to the office?
Dr. Meg Meeker: “Well, it’s important to talk to your employer if you’re a breastfeeding mother about the fact that you’d like to pump and do they have a good place where you can pump? Do you have a place where you can freeze the food and again, it has to do with nutritional safety and bottle safety as well if mom’s going to be using bottles or storing milk in a bottle. Also, ask your employer about what you can do if your baby is sick? What’s the plan going to be? Can you work from home? Are you going to telecommute? What’s going to happen?”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much, Dr. Meeker. Where can we go for more information?
Dr. Meg Meeker: “There are a lot of great tips, particularly on bottle safety and preparation at InfantNutrition.org.”