Going back to work

Content supplied by NHS Choices

Most mothers go back to work at some point. About half do so before their children start school. It may help you to talk to other working mothers, but the most important thing is to decide what’s right for you and your family. There are several issues to consider.

  • Feeding. If your baby is still breastfeeding, try to get them used to taking milk from a bottle or cup before you go back to work. For advice on feeding once you’ve gone back to work, talk to your health visitor, the National Childbirth Trust or the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers. You can express milk to leave for feeds. It’s also possible to give your baby formula milk in the middle of the day and breastfeed the rest of the time.
  • Childcare arrangements. Keeping arrangements as simple as possible will mean things are more likely to run smoothly, and that means less stress for you. Make arrangements that you’re reasonably sure will continue to work over time.
  • Childcare costs. Childcare can be very expensive. Will you be able to afford to pay for childcare out of what you earn? Can you find work that you can do while your partner is at home? Can you fit work into school hours? Can a friend or relative help out at least some of the time? Have you checked all the benefits and Tax Credit help you may be entitled to?
  • Housework. Think about who’s going to do it and when. If you have a partner, talk to them about how you’re going to share the housework and childcare.
  • Making time for your child. Even the best childcare isn’t a substitute for a parent. There are ways that you can spend quality time with your child so that they know they’re special. If you work long hours during the week, can you or your partner keep your weekends free? If you don’t see your child in the day, can they stay up later in the evening and sleep longer during the day? You may be able to work flexitime, part-time or a four-day week so you have time to spend with your child.
  • Flexible working. Since April 2003, parents with a child under six or a disabled child of 18 or under have the right to ask their employers for flexible working arrangements. From April 2008, this right has been extended to carers of disabled adults.


NHS Choices

Published Date 2010-07-23

Last Review Date 2009-07-28



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