How to Prepare for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

By Chad Montgomery
How to Prepare for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Returning to work after maternity leave is a significant life transition that many new mothers face. It’s a time filled with complex emotions, challenges, and adjustments. The journey back to the office can be a rollercoaster of emotions, from the joy of pursuing your career to the heartache of leaving your precious baby behind. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of mental preparation, childcare options, office re-entry, work-life balance, navigating breastfeeding, wardrobe considerations, check-in points, and much more to ensure a smooth transition as you get back to your job. Our goal is to provide you with practical tips and guidance to ease this transition.

Mental Preparation

Before diving into the logistics of returning to work, it’s essential to address your emotional readiness. Many new moms experience a mix of emotions, including postpartum depression. A 2020 study found that the prevalence of postpartum depression in Canada was 17.2%, with higher rates among women living in poverty and women who had experienced childhood trauma. So almost one in five women go through PPD. It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit overwhelmed or feel bad, but talking to a support system, whether it’s friends, family members, or a social worker, can make a world of difference. Sharing your feelings can help you feel understood and supported during this challenging time.

Childcare Options

Choosing the right childcare option after parental leave is a crucial decision for working parents. You may consider daycare, hiring a nanny, or relying on family members for support. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Daycare centers offer a structured environment and social interaction for your child. Hiring a nanny provides more individualized care while relying on family can bring comfort and cost savings. To make the best choice for your family, consider your baby’s age, your work hours, and your budget.

Office Re-entry

According to the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey, which was conducted by Statistics Canada, 63% of Canadian women return to work within a year of parental leave. Reconnecting with colleagues and supervisors is a vital step before your first day back at the office. Reach out to them before your return to discuss any changes in your work situation or job responsibilities. Setting up a meeting can help address any concerns or adjustments, ensuring a smooth reintegration into the workplace.

Work-Life Balance

Balancing work and home life is a common concern for new parents returning to their jobs. It’s essential to adapt to the changes in your daily routine and responsibilities. It’s essential to adapt to the changes in your daily routine and responsibilities. Here are some practical tips to help you achieve a healthy work-life balance:

  • Create a Family Schedule: Develop a comprehensive family schedule after maternity leave that includes your work hours, your baby’s feeding and nap times, morning routine, and other essential activities. This will give you a clear picture of your daily commitments and help you allocate your time efficiently. Effective time management is key to achieving a healthy work-life balance.
  • Prioritize Tasks: Identify your most critical work tasks and personal responsibilities. Prioritizing tasks can help you focus on what truly matters, ensuring that you make the most of your time at work and home.
  • Use Technology: Utilize apps and tools to help manage your time effectively. There are numerous apps for task management, scheduling, and even baby care tracking that can simplify your daily routine. 
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Explore flexible work options, such as telecommuting or adjusted work hours, if your employer allows it. Flexibility can make it easier to balance your work and family life. For remote job opportunities, you can visit:
  • Set Boundaries: It’s essential to set boundaries, both at work and at home. Don’t overextend yourself by taking on too much. Learn to say no when necessary and prioritize your own well-being. Remember to spend time with yourself in private – by only being healthy mentally you are able to take on new challenges.

And of course, remember to give yourself a few weeks adaptation period to a new life rhythm.

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, continuing to breastfeed when you return to work may be a concern. Plan ahead by discussing your needs with your employer. Consider investing in a quality breast pump to express milk in the morning, during work hours, or during lunch breaks. Establish a feeding schedule that aligns with your work hours. Lactation consultants can offer invaluable advice and support during this tough transition.

Wardrobe Considerations

Returning to work after maternity leave can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to dressing for work. Your body has changed, and you may be feeling self-conscious about your new figure. Post-baby bodies come with their unique challenges, and choosing comfortable, practical work attire is crucial. There are plenty of ways to dress for work after maternity leave that are both comfortable and job-friendly. Here are a few tips:


Invest in some good quality postpartum underwear. These will help to support your body and make you feel more comfortable. Look for underwear that is high-waisted and has a compression fit.


Look for tops that are loose-fitting and breathable. Avoid tops that are too tight. Button-down shirts, wrap tops, and empire waist tops are all good options. You may also want to consider nursing tops if you are breastfeeding.

Blazers and Jackets

Blazers and jackets can help to dress up your look and make you feel more professional. Choose styles that are loose-fitting and flattering. You may also want to consider a maternity blazer, which is designed to accommodate your changing body shape.

One and Done Fits

One-and-done fits are a great option for busy new moms. These are outfits that can be put on and taken off easily, and they are perfect for breastfeeding. Dresses, jumpsuits, and skirts with bodysuits are all good options.


Choose shoes that are comfortable and supportive. Avoid shoes with high heels or that are too tight. Flats, loafers, and low-heeled boots are all good options.

Check-In Points

Returning to work after maternity leave can be a challenging phase for moms. While juggling the demands of a new baby and a career, it’s essential to have a support system in place. One crucial aspect of this support system is regular check-ins with your spouse or support network. These check-ins can make a world of difference, ensuring a smoother transition back to work.

Open Communication

The importance of open and honest communication with your partner cannot be overstated. You’re both navigating this new chapter and discussing the changes in your daily routine is vital. Sit down every few weeks to talk about what’s working and what isn’t. Share your concerns, your victories, and your challenges. By doing so, you’ll not only strengthen your partnership but also come up with strategies to make things easier.

Adjustments as Needed

One of the most valuable aspects of these check-ins is the ability to make adjustments as needed. Parenting and managing a career is a dynamic process, and what works one week may not work the next. By regularly discussing your routines and responsibilities, you can identify areas where changes are required. It might be as simple as shifting your schedule, reassigning tasks, or seeking additional help when necessary.

Support and Encouragement

These check-ins are also an opportunity for mutual support and encouragement. Being a working parent is not easy, and sometimes you’ll need a pep talk or a listening ear. Your partner can provide valuable emotional support, as well as practical solutions to common challenges. It’s a chance for both of you to acknowledge the effort and dedication you’re putting into your family and careers.

Strengthening Your Support Network

In addition to your spouse, it’s crucial to connect with your broader support network. Whether it’s family, friends, or fellow parents, having a group you can turn to for advice and assistance is immensely valuable. Regular check-ins with these individuals can help you feel less isolated and more connected to a community that understands your journey.

Regular check-ins with your spouse or support network are an essential part of the journey back to work for mothers. They provide a platform for open communication, adjustments as needed, mutual support, and the strengthening of your support network. By fostering these connections and maintaining a strong, supportive community, you can navigate the challenges of returning to work with confidence and grace.


In conclusion, the journey of returning to work after maternity leave is a significant life transition. It’s perfectly normal to experience a range of emotions and face various challenges. However, with the right preparation and support, you can make this transition smoother for both you and your baby and feel good about yourself. Remember that you’re not alone in this journey, and there are resources and people who can help, from lactation consultants to your support network. Embrace the changes and challenges, and don’t forget to share your own tips and experiences with other new moms. You’ve got this!

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