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I Miss My Baby All The Time

What’s a mum to do when you’re back at work and baby’s in the (loving but unfamiliar) arms of a caregiver or at childcare? Emotions like loss, fear, anxiety, and even guilt can hit us hard, and make it hard for the working mother to focus on her job without mental images of that soft coo-ing bundle of joy disrupting her thought flow. Here are some Dos and Don’ts to cope with baby withdrawal symptoms while you’re in the office.

DON’T

Call up the childcare centre or caregiver every chance you get to “check in” on your bub. If there’s anything urgent or important, you can bet they will let you know. Letting go also requires building trust, and your constant micromanaging isn’t going to achieve that.

DO

Have a photo of baby and you on your desk, so you can enjoy gazing at his cherubic face anytime you’ve got a craving for a cuddle. Just don’t spend all morning gazing at it!

DON’T

Buy lots of snacks and toys for your child during your lunch break. You mean well, but it just sends the message to your child that these gifts are your “guilt offering to her, for leaving her during the day. One gift a week is more than enough, if you really feel the need to indulge.

DO

Give your baby a kiss and a cuddle whenever you leave in the morning. Be sure to say your goodbyes, and let her know you will be right back to pick her up after work. A firm and loving goodbye will do you both a world of good, and is much better than sneaking away when she isn’t looking.

DON’T

Spend every free moment scrolling through pictures of your darling on your phone. Besides the fact that it probably wouldn’t sit well with your boss, such moments can acerbate your feelings of loss and anxiety about how your child is doing right at that moment.

DO

Plan to enjoy your lunch breaks with colleagues who know you’re going through this transition and can help take your mind off missing your bub. The funnier, the better. Look forward to laughs and good food, and try out the new restaurants in your area.

DON’T

Keep dwelling on whether it was a good choice to return to work or not. With all the emotions surging through you, it’s not easy to make a rational decision either way. Give yourself at least 2-4 weeks to settle in to the new routine, before deciding if you will stay or go

DO

Remember why you decided to go back to work. Maybe it was your family’s financial needs. Maybe it’s a bond you’re still under. Or maybe you just love your job and feel that this is where you need to be. Whatever the reason, remind yourself of it whenever you can – even write it on a post-it and stick it where you can see it! Every time feelings of guilt or confusion overwhelm you, remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. At home, you can also share with your child why mummy decided to go back to work, depending on his age and maturity.

DON’T

Distance yourself from your child when at home, with the purpose of reducing the pain of withdrawal. All that will achieve is a greater sense of loss, and a weakened relationship with your baby, which we are sure are not what you really want.

DO

Make weekends family time. Enjoy every moment, and make it count. Put your phone aside during meal times. Cherish each other and all the little moments that you missed. Take each weekend as an opportunity to “refuel” your emotional tank and your child’s before the new work week begins.

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