New mums told to return to work

Mums advised to return to work soon after baby is born, despite being advised against it in the past.


By Colleen Reid,, Monday 25th July

Children are less likely to fight with classmates or become anxious if their mothers return to work, according to new research.

Academics at University College London have found that there were “no detrimental effects” to children when their mothers returned to work.

The research suggests that the best arrangement for the emotional stability of children, is a home where both parents are in paid jobs. This is because mums who stay at home are more likely to be depressed, according to the study.


However, this new study is contradictory of past advice and previous research made available to new mums. In the past, mothers had been warned that leaving their children in the hands of child minders whilst they returned to work was damaging to the mental and emotional well-being of their child.

According to earlier studies, the children of working mothers were more at risk of developing bad eating habits, taking less exercise and becoming overweight.

Earlier this year, an international study found that British working mothers spend just 81 minutes per day looking after their children. However, this new study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, suggested that mothers should return to work as their children will not suffer.

The research, lead by Dr Anne McMunn, said mothers who worked full time were less likely to have children with emotional or behavioural problems such as hyperactivity, aggression or tantrums.

Mixed messages

Mixed messages from experts on this matter can be more detrimental than helpful for mums swaying whether to return to work or become a stay at home mum.

Many mums are financially bound to return to a job and the guilt surrounding leaving their child can be tough. This new research turns the tables and leaves stay at home mums feeling guilty.

With mums trying to do their best by baby, it can be hard to decide which advice to follow and mixed signals from experts is confusing and detrimental to mums.

What do you think? Should mum be staying at home or returning to work? Share your views in our forum.

Source: OECD
Photography: Joy Coffman @Flickr


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