The number one goal for your first day back at work: survive. Sooner than you think, your new schedule will become routine. But you’ll have to go through the motions a few times before they start to feel normal.
You might be feeling all the feels as you head through the office doors. In addition to the virtual hugs we’re sending you, we also want to help you think through the (bottomless!) logistics of the first day so you don’t find yourself crying in the lactation room because you only have 1 flange.
Been there, done that, cried like the baby.
Mentally walk through your first day
Spend a moment thinking about the schedule for your first day back and do a dry run if that will give you peace of mind. We recommend (ridiculously) detailed lists. The combination of sleep deprivation and the logistics of raising an infant while working make committing your thoughts to paper critical to keeping things running smoothly. Here are some things to consider:
- What time should you wake up to give yourself enough time to get ready?
- Will you see your baby in the morning?
- What will you wear to work?
- Will you feed your baby before leaving?
- Who will do the morning handoff/drop off with the caretaker?
- Will you eat breakfast at home, in route, or at work?
- Is there gas in the car / money on your train card?
- What’s the plan for lunch (at work) and dinner (after work)?
- Do you have your badge or keys for the office?
- Can your partner or outside help take nighttime duty a few times a week?
- Can you block off your calendar for your planned pumping times?
Pack all the bags
Here’s a look at two lists we’ve created from our experience. One for mom and one for baby. Fill in whatever we missed.
Mom’s daily checklist
- Snacks / Lunch
- Water bottle
- Nursing pads
- Ice pack
- Pump equipment
- 4-6 bottles and caps
- 2 Flanges + 2 valves (at least!)
- Storage bags
- Pump bra
- Cleaning supplies for pump products
- Bag or cooler to hold the milk and pump parts between sessions
- Battery pack (if applicable )
Baby’s daily checklist
- 2 extra outfits
- Blanket or swaddler
- Appropriate outerwear
- Extra shoes/socks
- Stroller or carrier
- Milk/formula and/or food
- Special instructions for caretaker
- Medications (if necessary)
Take the time to get the lay of the land
Readjusting to work can be overwhelming, especially if you’re sleep deprived. It may feel as though you’ll never get caught up, but we promise you will. Do you need to get to the bottom of your inbox on Day 1? Probably not. Be patient with yourself and ask for help. Schedule catch-up chats with your colleagues rather than pouring through project briefs and quarterly goals by yourself. It’s more efficient and fun that way and you’ll probably find that you didn’t miss as much as you think you did.
Pro tip: read your most recent emails first. You’ll find that a lot of the back-and-forth that you missed gets resolved before you have to enter the fray (whew!).