What to Expect Your First Week Back at Work

Heading back to work after baby

How to even begin this post? Going back to work after having a baby is one of those experiences that you will think about and remember for a long time, if not forever. When I left my daughter to return to work, she was 12 weeks old. I was lucky to be able to take my full maternity leave (I believe it was 60% paid).


Heading back to work can be a whirlwind of emotions

Heading back to work can be a whirlwind of emotions

The first day I remember feeling so many mixed emotions. On one hand, I did not want to leave my baby. We had a nanny and my mom was around if needed, but she was still so little. Not even three months old! It was so hard. However, once I got over the act of actually physically leaving her, I really enjoyed my day.

Everyone I have talked with experiences leaving their child differently. I had a hard time leaving, but felt a sense of freedom being back in my office, doing the work I knew how to do, chatting with my co-workers. I felt like an adult again and I enjoyed that. Yet, when that clock hit 4:59, I was out of the door as fast as possible. I was beyond ready to get back to my baby.


I had no idea what to expect when it came to pumping at work. Luckily I had an office so I could just shut my door. I put a post-it on the door that let people know I needed privacy and got to work. When I had my second daughter, I had switched jobs and no longer had an office, so I was given a room to pump it. This was much less convenient as I had to lug all my pumping equipment to the room every time and set up. If at all possible, I suggest finding a space where you can set up your pump once a day rather than have to break down and set up every time.

I’ve covered the topic of pumping at work here, here, and here, but I’ll give another quick overview.

For me, pumping twice a day really worked. Some people pump three times, but I found that I got the same amount of milk pumping two times as if I pumped three times. Trial and error is the best way to figure out your pumping schedule.

Heading back to work means you need a lot of supplies

Heading back to work means you need a lot of supplies

You will need the following supplies:

  • Your pump
  • Hands-free pumping bra
  • Flanges
  • Bottles (with tops)
  • Cooler bag
  • Bag to put dirty pumping supplies into
  • Washcloth (to wipe up any spills)

Going back to work is hard. There’s no way around it. Physically and emotionally, it’s hard to leave your baby. When it got very overwhelming for me, I just reminded myself that there are so many bad-ass women who are doing the same thing as me every day and it helped me push past. And by the time my little lady was on the move and wreaking havoc, I sometimes looked forward to the quiet of the office.

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