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Your First Day Back to Work After Having a Baby

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 20 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Maternity Leave First Day Back Work

Do not underestimate the emotions you will go through when preparing for your first day back to work after having a baby. If you are kind to yourself and get well prepared, you can minimise the emotional upheaval of the end of your maternity leave.

Your will probably feel as though your life has changed beyond all recognition after having had your baby, especially if it is your first child. Your final weeks of pregnancy and maternity leave will feel like a world away from your professional career, so the first few days of work can be a difficult shock to your system.

Getting Organised

The preparation for your first day back at work is very important for the smooth transition from maternity leave to working mother. Depending on your key areas of concern, your preparation may include some or all of the following.

Arrange responsible childcare for your baby. If possible, have a trial day or two before you return to work, so you are confident your baby is content. Be clear about your route from home to childminder to workplace.

Talk to your boss. Be clear what time you are expected to arrive on your first day back and get up to speed with any personnel or operational changes.

Treat yourself to a new suit and a haircut. It is important that you look good on your first day back as this ‘armour’ can give a boost when you may be feeling less than strong.

Understand Your Emotions

Even if you feel ready to go back to work, you may experience a range of emotions when the first day back actually arrives. Many women feel guilty for leaving their baby and it is common for women to feel disjointed from their colleagues’ discussions that may have previously found interesting. You may also be excited to be returning to work having been thoroughly bored for some of your maternity leave and craving adult conversation.

Whatever you feel is normal. Talk to your health visitor or friends at your mother and baby classes so you do not feel alone.

On the actual first day back at work, many women say they feel very emotional. This can be for a variety of reasons – leaving your baby for the first time, not wanting to go back to work, the stresses of the whole situation – it can all feel like it has got on top of you. If you can, have a half day for your first day. This can help with feelings of guilt and will mean you will not be stuck in the rush hour for at least one part of your journey.


Depending on your place of work, it may be expected that you simply slip back into your old role. For some women this can prove particularly difficult, especially if you are experiencing some of the emotions outlined above. For others, it can be a source of comfort to be able to continue with a known routine.

Do not expect your colleagues to understand how you feel. If you have a close friend at work you may confide in them, but bear in mind that some of your colleagues will not be sensitive or interested in how you are feeling. You can talk to your HR manager if you need to, especially if you are finding the transition difficult.

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