Separation Anxiety: When New Moms Return to Work
In addition to getting back into the swing of things at work, you'll also have the challenge of being away from your new baby. You have just spent every minute of your life with your new baby, and now the focus is changing. It is perfectly normal to miss your baby when you first go back to work.
Easing Your Pain of Separation
Whether you want to be at work or you have to be at work, you are there. The separation from your baby can be worse if you'd rather not be at work, but either way, you may still miss your baby. There are several things you can do to help ease the pain of separation.
For one, bring a picture or two of your baby to work. Place these where you might normally see them, like your desk or your locker. You might even consider wearing a locket with your baby's picture tucked safely inside. The frequent sight of your baby's face will help you transition into days of separation.
Be sure that you know how to get a hold of whomever is watching your baby during your work hours. Feel free to call just to check in, even though your little one is too small to talk to you. Chances are, she'll always be fine, but the ability to check can do a lot to reassure you.
Some babies will have a preference for a particular parent. If this is true, try saying good-bye to that parent from home and having the other parent take the baby to child care. If your husband is the favorite at one point, don't be hurt. Children are fickle at this age and change their minds often.
A must for getting used to being away from your baby is having absolute confidence in your child care. A little nervousness is natural, but if you are sincerely worried about your baby's well-being while you're at work, you're not going to get much work done.
Also consider visiting your child or having your husband visit your child during the day. This can help ease your fears. You may even be able to have lunch with your child. If you hire someone to care for your baby at your home, try to go home for your lunch break and spend some time with your baby in a comfortable setting.
The truth is that many moms have trouble dealing with initial separation from their babies. It usually gets easier with time, but if you feel that you are not getting any more comfortable with the situation, perhaps you need to get help. If you have continually intrusive thoughts about your baby during the day, to the point of not being able to work or concentrate, consider talking to your doctor or midwife. Some medical help may be in order.
Dealing with Your Baby's Anxiety
Most babies are blissfully unaware that their parents have gone to work during the day. They are aware of their new surroundings and the new people around them, but it is usually not distressing to them. What may be distressing to your baby is a change in the lifestyle they were used to having.
Did you pick a child-care facility that will listen to what your baby's schedule has been? Do they have enough people or few enough babies to give your baby the attention he needs? As long as your very young baby has his needs met, he should not become stressed over being someplace other than with you. However, as your baby gets older, separation anxiety can become a very real issue. This can happen as early as about six months. It can also happen later, or your baby may skip it all together.
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From The Everything Mother's First Year Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.
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