If you have a short maternity leave, it is reasonable to want to spend every minute with your infant before you return to work. However, there are several reasons why you should consider enrolling your baby in childcare a week or two before you start working again, such as:
Ease Into the Transition Slowly
Going from being with your baby 24-hours a day to working full-time can be emotionally draining. Transitioning slowly can be easier for you and your child. You may decide that a child care center to start with two or three days of childcare each week for two weeks before you return to work, or you may want to enroll your child in part-time care for the week before they start full-time care.
Have Time to Yourself
Many women view maternity leave solely for time to give care to their infants. However, it is also time for you to recover from the process of childbirth and adjust, mentally, physically, and emotionally, to the demands of a new child in your family. Having a few days to yourself before you return to work can allow you to catch up on your sleep and reflect on the changes in your life. Even taking a few hours to yourself can help reduce your stress and, therefore, decrease your risk of postpartum depression.
Do a Trial Run Before You're At Work
A couple of trial runs before you return to work can help you get the logistics and timing of child care down so you can have a plan set in place when you start work. For example, you will know how long it takes to drive to your child care center and drop off your child. You will also know what kind of emotional response you should expect from your child and yourself. Perhaps you will decide it is better if another caregiver does drop off in the mornings.
Trial runs are especially helpful if you plan to pump while at work. They will let you understand how often you will need to pump while away from your baby and anticipate any complications before you have to deal with them in a work environment.
While it is normal to want to spend as much time with your newborn as possible, enrolling them in part-time care during the week or two before you return to work can have many benefits for you and your child.