Wednesday, April 13, 2022

10 Tips For Returning To Work After Maternity Leave

Leaving your new baby is never easy. I just went through it and it is so true what they say about it feeling like you've left a piece of your heart behind. I was lucky enough to have enough sick, vacation and personal time saved up to take almost 14 weeks but I know many woman are not as lucky and go back to work much sooner. 

I thought I would compile a list of tips that have made it slightly easier for me to get out of the house each day since being back to work. Let's get started!

1. Know your daycare plan well in advance so you have time to be comfortable with it.

When I first announced I was pregnant I reached out to someone I have known forever who has a home daycare. I knew before Ellie was even born (before we even knew if she was a boy or girl) that I would be sending her to daycare twice a week to start and then three times a week starting in the spring. Knowing who would be taking care of her on those days made it easier for me to accept that I was going to have to leave her with someone else. The other days my mom is taking care of her and luckily since my mom is retired she was able to come and spend a ton of time with Ellie and I each week of my maternity leave and got to know her really well. I was completely comfortable with both my mom and our daycare provider and knew that Ellie would be in great hands. 
**Side note** Some people prefer a corporate daycare setting which is totally fine! I would not have been comfortable with the possible changes in staffing, but some parents might love that their kid has a variety of caretakers! Also in corporate settings children are generally with other kids their own ages where at home daycare there are a variety of ages. This is completely a personal preference! Whatever you choose, you are making the best possible choices for you and your child!

2. Buy a pump bag (if you are breastfeeding)

For my birthday I asked for a Lands End bag to carry my pumping equipment around. It has come in so handy! I am able to keep all my extra parts in it due to the size as well as extra lanolin creams and each day I pack all the necessities I need for pumping at work into it as well. It is a huge bag and you certainly do not need something this large, but I know it will be used in the future when I'm done pumping as well. 

Also, make sure you ask ahead of time if you don't have a private office where you can pump. I am lucky to have an office where I can just close my door twice a day but a friend of mine had to pump in the bathroom at a previous job. Legally your work is required to provide you with a private space that is not a restroom where you can pump in peace. Ask where that location is and plan out your pumping times. It will make it easier if you already know your plan going back to work.

3. Prepare Bottles The Night Before.

Every night I prepare all the bottles Ellie could possibly drink the next day. I have them lined up in the fridge so all I have to do in the morning is move the bottles to the cooler and add an ice pack. It saves me time from putting bottles together in the morning and we all know that time is precious in the morning!

4. Prep Your Diaper Bag on Sunday

Not everything can be prepared on Sunday but you can make sure there are multiple spare outfits, diapers, and wipes in your bag as well as anything else your baby needs. Each night I double check her bag to make sure there are still plenty of diapers, wipes, burp cloths, etc but since I did my main restock on Sunday night there is no emergency to refill it. 

5. Treat Yourself.

In the words of Donna and Tom, Treat Yourself! Before heading back to work I purchased a few new pairs of pants for work and a few tops. I also picked up a new lunch bag for myself and a new cooler for Ellie's bottles. Although all these items were necessary items for me, it felt like a treat because I hadn't bought any of these items in quite some time. You may need new clothes because your old work clothes don't fit you yet but the maternity clothes don't seem quite right either. Go ahead and treat yourself to a few new items so you feel better about returning to work. If you need any item to make your transition easier, purchase it. If you think some new jewelry would help, go ahead and buy it. Whatever makes you feel better about your re-entry to work is worth it.

6. Print Photos and Frame Them for Your Desk.

I bought a set of frames on Amazon and printed a bunch of pictures through Shutterfly. Having pictures of Ellie on my desk and bookcase at work is wonderful. Although I'd rather be with her in person, having pictures of her is a great way to see her little face throughout the day and also a great way to show her off to my co-workers. I also printed pictures of the dogs so they wouldn't feel left out. Don't worry, there is also a picture or two of Tim in my office so he doesn't feel left out either. If you are short on desk space you can always use Shutterfly to make a personalized mouse pad. You can also pin up pictures on a pinboard instead of framing them. Make your work space work for you and even setting the background of your computer with pictures of your little one is better than not having any pictures!

7. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help!

I am lucky to have a supportive husband who will do anything I ask him to do. However...sometimes I feel like I'm nagging him. "Babe can you take out the trash?" "Tim can you empty the dishwasher?" "Can you take out the dogs?" "Have you emptied her diaper genie recently?" Nag, nag, nag is all I heard.

The day before I went back to work I sat down and wrote out everything that needs to be done each day and each week. We talked it over and split up the jobs. Now I know that Tim is responsible for cooking dinner and I am responsible for all clean up. We tag team the dishwasher and diaper genie but he is responsible for taking out all trash and recycling while I am responsible for all laundry. I truly like to clean and am very particular so while everything isn't completely even, I know I have help. Don't keep score of who is doing more work, just each do your jobs and tag team anything that you need to. If both partners are willing to help it makes it much easier for you to get back to work and not feel like you are still doing all the house work too.

In the morning we have a routine that is working out really well and since we both know our roles and what needs to be done we are able to get out of the house on time (most days) and with everything we need for the day (again, most days!). 

If you are parenting solo, don't be afraid to ask for help in other ways. Asking a family member or friend to help out is 100% okay. If you need to order a meal service (we love Hello Fresh!) or hire someone to come in and clean your house, do it! Also, keep in mind that this is a tough season you are in. Having a small baby is difficult enough but going back to work and also being expected to maintain your home and keep up with daily tasks is a huge thing. Don't hesitate to ask for help.

8. Talk To Someone.

As I said above, this is a hard time. If you need to talk to someone, reach out. I feel most comfortable talking to family and friends, especially those who have gone through this before. You may feel most comfortable reaching out to a therapist that you can work through everything with. Postpartum anxiety and depression are a very real and scary thing. They are very stigmatized and it's unfair for moms to feel like they are failing because they have it. I know my anxiety levels are very high to begin with and went through the roof as soon as I had Ellie. It's okay to get help to manage these things. Do what is best for you and your baby!

9. Future Plans

Now you don't need to go crazy planning the rest of your life but I have found it help to think things out. If our daycare provider was sick we know my mom could jump in and take Ellie if needed most days. If my mom was sick there is room at daycare for her on those days. If Ellie was sick Tim and I luckily both have jobs where taking a sick day wouldn't penalize us or force us to lose income. 

I know if Tim wasn't able to pick Ellie up from daycare I could alert my boss I had to leave early to get her and just go. If I needed to go to work early Tim could be late to work to drop her off.  Since we know we have that bit of flexibility, it makes me feel more prepared.

I have gone as far to know that Ellie will probably do preschool on days when my mom watches her so she can pick her up from preschool and watch her in the afternoons. I know that when she goes to school full time she will probably get on and off the bus at daycare so we don't have to worry about leaving work early to meet her bus at home. 

I know it sounds insane to think that far ahead, but it calms me to know there is a plan in place. Tim always tells me I worry about the most ridiculous things that aren't even an issue, but in my head it makes me feel better to know what is happening. However, if planning that far ahead stresses you out don't even worry about it at this point!

10. Have Enough To Get You Through The Week

I am useless on weekdays now. In the morning I race around to get my lunch made, bags packed, double check everything, get ready while Tim gets ready and then gets Ellie dressed and starts feeding her. When he has to leave for work I finish feeding Ellie, burp her and then she's in the car seat and we are out the door! At night Tim makes dinner while I get all the bottles washed and ready for the next day, I check all her bags and unpack milk and whatever else needs to be done. Not to mention pumping and eating dinner, showering, etc.. I have no time to do a full load of laundry. I'm lucky if laundry gets done on the weekend. This leads me to my point. Have enough to get you through the week. Have enough pairs of work appropriate pants and tops to get you through the week without doing laundry. Have enough pairs of underwear and nursing bras to get you through the week without doing laundry. 

We generally run our dishwasher every night but if you need to make sure you have multiple travel coffee mugs so you don't have to wash yours every day, do it! If you need more bottles, buy them. Make sure you have enough burp cloths clean to make it through the week without doing a load of laundry. Make sure you have enough diapers and wipes so you don't need to run out to the store.

Have enough on hand for lunches for the week so you aren't struggling to figure out what to take for lunch each day. Have all your meals planned out for the week so you know you have the ingredients necessary and don't need to make an emergency run to the grocery store on a week night. 

Have enough toilet paper, paper towels, ziplock bags, etc... for the same reason! 

This is why I suggest having a home stockpile so when you run out of something you can replenish from your stockpile as needed. Couponing has gone mostly digital as this point and is easy even for the laziest of couponers, help yourself out and get started! It will save you time and money.

I hope these tips were helpful! Please let me know if you have any other tips for returning to work after maternity leave. It is a terribly difficult time but there are certainly a few things that can make it a little easier!

Hello Again

 Hi everyone,

I did not intend to take a 4 month break from this blog. Returning to work full time, taking care of a baby, and taking care of the household has kept me super busy. On top of that I decided it would be a wonderful idea to pursue my Masters degree and am now working on that as well. I know, I'm completely insane.

For awhile I thought I would just let this blog go. I thought that things had changed enough in my life that I no longer needed this outlet and I would just simply never post again and thank it for the memories. I suffered from a lot of post-partum anxiety and depression and didn't feel like I deserved to have anything that was just for me and wasn't serving my family in some way. Now that those feelings of hopelessness have for the most part been handled I would love to jump back into posting. 

I can't make any promises. I would love to be the person who posts 5 days a week and constantly has new content for you but I know that is a promise I can't keep. I am still working full time, taking care of a (now 7.5 month old!!) baby, managing my household- buying groceries, laundry, cleaning, etc, taking graduate classes, and also trying to spend time with family and friends, and of course my husband Tim who is the most supportive guy in the world.

So my plan is to ease back into blogging. I'm not entirely sure what that will look like but I have about 20 drafts that I would like to complete and a million more things to tell you. Plus I'm sure you would like to hear more about Ellie too. I will share little bit about her here but I am torn about how much I want to say here on the internet. I am going to think about that a little bit too as we go forward.

Thank you for being here, thank you for your patience with me and I am so happy to be writing again :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Life Lately

 Hi everyone.

I am so, so sorry for the unexpected break. Life has been hectic and having a newborn takes up a great deal of time and energy. I am absolutely loving being a mom and seeing what new and exciting skills she has learned each day. Ellie is the absolute light of my life and I can't imagine how I ever lived without her. She is truly a sweet, easy baby and is making our transition as parents seem rather easy. I couldn't have asked for a better baby, I really am truly blessed. 

Last I updated was early October so let's get you up to date on what has been going on since then.

Ellie turned 2 months old, and then 3 months old.

She is growing far too quickly. She is working on grasping and holding items and now reaches out to try to grab things. She doesn't have full intention on what she is looking to grab yet, but I think that will be coming in the next month or so. She also is eating more at each feeding and sleeping 10+ hours through the night! Although until last night I was still getting up to do a middle of the night pump, not waking up a bunch of times throughout the night is amazing. I know not all parents are this lucky and I am grateful she is giving us the gift of sleep.

Ellie also has started daycare and I've gone back to work full time.

Going back to work was extremely difficult and while I'm not 100% thrilled to be back full time and wish I could be a stay at home mom I can see how much Ellie thrives around other children. I know she will learn so much at daycare and will enjoy the one on one time she gets with my mom on the other days. I am continuing to work but also am open to other opportunities that will allow me to work from home or work less so I can be around for her more often. We will see what the future holds.

We celebrated Halloween.

Ellie was a goldendoodle like her furry sisters for Halloween. I purchased her costume at Pottery Barn and it was just the cutest! 

We also dressed her in her Snow White costume that my moms friend purchased for her. She looked adorable as a little princess. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving.

We celebrated Ellie's first Thanksgiving and it's just so cool that she is celebrating all these holidays for the first time ever. 

We've truly just been enjoying every single day with her! There are definitely more difficult days when she is feeling extra tired or needs some extra cuddles but for the most part she has been an extremely happy, easy baby.

Both dogs are doing great! I was very nervous to leave them for the full days when I went back to work full time but we are now a week in and they are doing great. They are so excited to see us when we get home but they are now adjusted to our new "normal"

Now we are looking forward to our first Christmas as parents, even if Ellie won't really "get" the excitement of Christmas this year it will still be fun to start some new traditions and include her in all the fun!

I have a ton of drafted blog posts that I want to get to and I am going to try to be better about posting, but it is truly a new phase of life and is difficult to commit to a schedule right now! I will try to be better!

Hope you all are doing well! :)

Monday, October 4, 2021

September Empties

Another month of empties coming at ya! Our first full month with a third human in our household and I'm including some of her empties as well.

Pampers Swaddlers Newborn: First up, a box of newborn diapers. Man do babies go through these fast. Ellie spend the first month of her life in newborn diapers even though we had several people tell us that she wouldn't fit in newborn diapers beyond a few days. Note to everyone, you have no idea what your baby will be like until they arrive! We really like Pampers and will continue to purchase them if we need to buy more. 

Pampers Diapers- Two more packs of newborn diapers. 

Lysol Wipes- We use these up regularly and I really like this brand new day scent.

Pampers Wipes- We went through multiple packs of these and they work great!

Carbona Color Run Remover- I had to purchase this when one of Ellie's new outfits bled onto several other outfits. This worked great and we were able to get them back to new. 

Tucks- Postpartum necessity. Need I say more?

Lanolin Nipple Cream- A necessity for breastfeeding/pumping! I would highly recommend getting multiple tubes of this. 

Snuggle Scent Beads- I actually am using these in a dresser drawer to keep clothes smelling fresh. They smell great and I would definitely purchase them in the future.

Gain Dryer Sheets- I like gain dryer sheets and they are my second choice after Bounce. I would definitely repurchase this in the future.

Pampers Wipes- Again, we like these and definitely went through far more packages than I took pictures of.

Pampers Pure Diapers- These were okay. I noticed Ellie had some redness after we used them so I am not sure I would purchase them for her in the future. 

Mrs Meyers Acorn Spice Dish Soap- My favorite! I always buy this in the fall from Grove Collaborative and will definitely repurchase this again and again. I have a few more stockpiled to hold me over.

Mrs Meyers Acorn Spice Candle- I love this scent and it works great with the other products in the line. 

Downy Scent Beads- I really hated the smell of these. I used up what I had but I won't be purchasing them in the future. 

Medela Hydrogel Pads- I liked these for after pumping but they are pricey so I have switched to just plain reusable pads. 

Cake Batter Chapstick- Always a favorite!

Enfamil Vitamin D Drops- These were a free sample from the pediatrician and they worked fine but we have switched brands since then. I would repurchase these again though.

Bath and Body Works Saltwater Breeze Shower Gel- This was an okay shower gel, I probably wouldn't repurchase this in the future. The smell was okay, but not my favorite that I've tried.

Maybelline Eyeliner- This worked just fine but I honestly wasn't able to use the whole thing before it dried out. I would repurchase this in the future if I needed an eyeliner like this.

Downy Unstoppable Scent Beads- I love these and will continue to repurchase them.

Bath and Body Works Leaves Candle- My absolute favorite candle of all time! I will keep repurchasing this.

Lanolin Nipple Cream, Pampers Wipes, Pampers Diapers, Cake Batter Chapstick- All repeats from previous pictures.

Grove Hand Soap- This was nice but I probably wouldn't purchase it because I have other hand soaps I like better.

Bath and Body Works Fiji White Sands Handsoap- This is a hand soap I would repurchase because the beach scent was great!

Bath and Body Works A Thousand Wishes Shower Gel- I liked this shower gel a lot and would definitely buy it again. The scent was really sweet and I think it smelled great.

Lactation Cookies- I went through several boxes of these and continue to repurchase them. I really think they make a difference!

Mrs Meyers Basil Dish Soap-  When the seasonal soaps aren't around, this is my dish soap of choice. 

 Huggies Newborn Diapers- I really liked the Huggies diapers. They worked great for Ellie and I would repurchase them in the future.

Those are all the empties we finished up this month, what did you finish at your house?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

One Month Baby Must Haves

Well my baby Ellie turned one month old last Friday! I can't believe a month has already gone by it seems like it was just yesterday I was at the hospital with her but at the same time it feels like she has been a part of my life forever. Life completely revolves around Ellie at this point and I spend the majority of my day taking care of her. 

During the first month of her life we had several items that stood out as favorites and I thought I would share them with you guys in case you are about to have your first baby or are looking for a baby shower gift. 


Magnetic Me Footie Pajamas

We received these Magnetic Me jammies as a gift and they were wonderful! Although they are rather pricey, the magnets make for easy changes and the fabric is so soft. We have another pair in a larger size and would definitely recommend them as a splurge baby item.

Carters 2 Way Zip Footed Onesies- This is another type of jammies I recommend because of the two way zipper. You can find these all over the place online and they come in a ton of patterns. We love these for nighttime since we are able to get them zipped up and diaper changed very quickly which is important when you have a hungry, angry baby in the middle of the night!



This is the first pacifier that Ellie took and we really liked them! For about two weeks it was all she would take and we ordered more thinking they would be great for the future. Well, she has since found a different pacifier that she likes more, but I would still recommend these because they worked when she was super little. 

The magical wubbanub! Ellie loves her unicorn wubbanub and although we are holding off on purchasing other ones for the time being if she continues to love it I will definitely purchase another. 


So far, the Snoo is not the magical bassinet that we had heard about. We are getting 2 hours of sleep at a time right now. I do have hope that eventually we will have longer stretches as Ellie gets bigger and can hold more milk in her belly at once. Right now she only eats about two ounces at a time so every two hours she is hungry. I'm not sure if we would be getting any sleep at all if she wasn't in the Snoo since at the hospital she wouldn't sleep in the bassinet since it didn't move. Along with the Snoo we are using the sleep sacks and fitted sheets that come with it. I would recommend purchasing multiples in case you have any late night blow outs or spit up incidents. 

Breast Feeding

Tommee Tippee Bottles

I am exclusively pumping so Ellie is exclusively using bottles at this point. Tommee Tippee bottles were recommended to me and they are the only ones we've used and they are working great. The size 1 nipples are working the best currently although we did briefly try the size 0 but Ellie quickly got frustrated and we switched back to the size 1. 

Coconut Oil

I have been using coconut oil on my pump and it's been working to make it a little more comfortable for me. 

I have gone through so many tubes of this already! It definitely is helping something that is uncomfortable for me. 

Freebie Standard Cups

I ordered these Freebie cups so I could pump hands free and they have been working really well. I just ordered an insert so they will hopefully be a little more comfortable, but the convenience of pumping hands free is totally worth it.  

So far I like the Spectra S2, it works really well for me and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a pump. I was happy to get one free through insurance and am glad I chose this one. 



Ellie loves her swing! I can usually get her to relax in here at least once a day which gives me time to wash dishes, change laundry, make lunch, etc...

Play Mat

Ellie does her tummy time and also hangs out on this play mat at least once a day to get some exercise. It is so cute when she plays with the hanging sea creatures and kicks away on the mat!

So those are our one month baby must haves, I would love to know what yours are if you have a young baby too!

Monday, September 20, 2021

The First Few Weeks

 I can't believe tomorrow Ellie will be 4 weeks old and on Friday she will officially be one month old. In some ways it feels like her birth was ages ago and in other ways it feels like there is no possible way for her to be a month old already.

I am so lucky to be Ellie's mom and I am thankful every day that this little girl came into our lives. However I don't like to sugarcoat things and being a new mom is hard. Ellie is a very easy baby, she only cries when she is hungry or her tummy hurts after eating. She sleeps in two to three hour increments and when she's awake she's generally a happy baby. I am so lucky that she is such a great baby but that doesn't mean that there aren't things that are really hard about having a baby. Life has changed so much and our world revolves around this little girl. We are up at night several times feeding and changing her, I am pumping around the clock which is a challenge in itself. 

I wanted to share some pictures from the last few weeks even though all we've basically been doing is taking care of Ellie and introducing her to family. I am planning on creating a post with our newborn necessities that have been vital throughout the first month. When creating our baby registry the items I thought we would need the most were not the ones that we actually got the most use out of so I thought it might be interesting to share.

For now, here are a bunch of pictures from our first 4 weeks with Ellie! (In no particular order since they uploaded out of order and who has the time to fix that?!)

Ellie met her great uncle Dave and great aunt Liz.

Checked out the Atlantic Ocean for the first time at the Naragansett Seawall.

Met Uncle Dan for the first time.

Met Auntie Marie for the first time, and went out to her first dinner for Uncle Dan's 30th birthday.

Met Uncle Derek and Auntie Ally.

Wore her first tutu as her coming home outfit from the hospital...and judged mom for dressing her that way.

Took her first selfie with mom and dad. 

Decided she loves nanobebe pacifiers.

Took newborn photos with Bella Photography.

Which came out adorable.

We also took family photos.

And one with just the humans. 

Hung out with dad while he took a few days off of work.

Met Pops and got held by Nana.

Hung out with my sister Rory.

Slept a lot.

Got dressed up for Uncle Dan's birthday dinner.

Tried out fancy pajamas from Magnetic Me.

Met cousin Callan.

and Auntie Nicole, 

And Grammi,

and Uncle Ant and Auntie Rachel.

Visited Auntie Brittni and Uncle Stephen's house and met Cousins Emma and Parker.

Cousin Parker held me for the first time.

And Cousin Emma did too!

Took my first family picture in the hospital with mom and dad. 

Met my furry sisters and mom attempted to give all three of us attention.

Sat with Dad and Sophie.

Played in my new play gym.

More nanobebe pacifier love.

Visited Nana's house and met Vivian and Great Papa. 

Met Uncle Freddy and Auntie Marissa.

Snuggled with Nana almost every day.

Picked out first pumpkin from Shickasheen Farm.

Met Poppi

Gave some really concerned faces...

Rode in style when we left the hospital.

Rode in the car seat (several times) and did great!

Met Uncle Dan (yes there are two!)

Dined with my parents when they had their Stork Dinner at the hospital. 

Uncle Dan's birthday dinner at The Haversham. 

Met Auntie Brittni and Cousin Max.

Gave some really cute faces.

Went on our first family walk. 

Snuggled more with Dad.

Slept a lot!

Met Cousin Kason.

Had a very happy first four weeks of life! 

I hope you enjoyed these out of order pictures of Ellie's first few weeks of life. I will be sharing more when I have the chance. The days fly by around here lately!