Back To Work With A Baby At Home

It’s 5:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and here I am back in the WHNT News 19 newsroom! Today is my second day back on my “normal shift” after maternity leave (although I don’t begin anchoring again until tomorrow.) I’m off to a great start… and by great start I mean… slept right through TWO alarms this morning. lol. Welcome to motherhood, right?

Something from home to remind mom of the little one...

Something from home to remind mom of the little one…

I knew the transition back would be hard but I must say it’s hitting harder than I expected in some ways. Physically I feel pretty good, even though I fit into only about 1/4 of my pre-pregnancy work wardrobe and had to drop some serious cash on “transitional” items that will be nice for on-air. On the other hand, I’m still exhausted from lack of sleep. Little Jane is sleeping pretty well through the night (despite her reflux issues) but I still have to get up every 3-4 hours to pump breastmilk for her.

The emotional transition back has probably been the hardest thing so far. I’m starting back at half-days for a week or two, just to help ease into the daily newsroom grind. That means I’ll only be anchoring the a.m. show for now and will pick back up with technology reporting later. Even with those reduced hours, I was surprised at how I felt on that first day… when I had to kiss her fat little cheek goodbye. It just felt… so sad.

It’s hard not to be a little envious of moms (or dads) who get to stay at home full-time with little ones. On the other hand, I really do love my job and I find some comfort in the fact that I’m leaving baby with my husband when I head in to work such strange hours… (Single mamas how do you do it? I have a whole new respect for you!)

A couple of pre-return preparations have made the logistics of my transition back run more smoothly. I thought I’d take a minute to list those out, just in case they can help other pregnant mommas (or dads.)

1. Getting Organized

Dealing with a new baby’s basic needs (eating, pooping and of course snuggling) takes up a lot of time. I thought it was important though to make time to “get organized” before my return to work. For my job, that meant cleaning out my entire closet – getting rid of anything that was dated or unflattering – and only keeping the “best of the best” items (even if it will take me a while to get back into them.) From there I made a list of “must have” items for on-air in larger sizes and asked my husband to watch the baby as I made a trip to the mall or two.

I also spent a lot of time catching up on the big local news stories I may have missed – I admit, news was the last thing on my mind those first few weeks after baby. Sleep was number one! Just that little bit of prep made me feel much more confident and less like a frazzled new momma.

2. Get A Routine Down

Hahahahahahaha. Yeah right! Ok, ok. I know that’s what you’re all thinking. If you’ve had a baby to care for you know “getting into a routine” is kind of impossible. All the books say so too. That might be true for baby but I found it less true for me. Three weeks ago, I started practicing a “bedtime routine” and trying to put her down for a nap at a similar time each day. It didn’t always work but it has helped my day feel more structured.

3. Start pumping early

If you plan to breastfeed, this is essential. Due to baby’s reflux issues… we had to bottle feed her pumped milk from early on. That meant buying a quality breast pump and learning to use it the day after we left the hospital. We bought one of the most expensive pumps out there – a Medela brand. I cringed at the $350.00 price tag but my girlfriends with babies had warned me that if I planned to work and continue giving Jane milk, I would need to have a good pump, or risk a big drop off in supply. Now, months after giving birth, I feel very comfortable using a pump and don’t feel overwhelmed at the idea of having to do it during the work day at all.

Ok, that’s it for now. I’ll check in soon with another post.

Mommas and dads, don’t forget to leave your return-to-work stories and tips in the comments section!

Thanks again to everyone who has been following along with my pregnancy and birth! Can’t wait to see you all Thursday on WHNT News 19 This Morning!