Weekend Chats: Returning to Work After Baby (My Plan)

Monday is my first day back to work. I am not excited. At. All. I already miss my baby and he is happily sitting next to me in his bouncer as I type this.  Maybe I am overreacting being so upset about returning to work? I enjoy my job, consider my co-workers friends, and I will be using intermittent FMLA to have an additional day with my baby until time exhausts in September (love that I can utilize this). Plus, it is not my first time to the rodeo, and I returned to work after having Kellen after only 6 weeks and one of those weeks he was in the NICU. I am being silly, right?.... no, never mind I am a mom and being away from your baby blows. I thought a post outlining my return to work plan might be helpful to me to get it all in writing, and give me some piece of mind because I know it will be crazy on Monday morning.

Here we are on our last weekday together:

Ron heads to work earlier than I do and I have always been the one to get Kellen off the daycare. Kellen is a very easy going and this has always been pretty easy aside from toddler bumps in the road every so often. Pre-Rowan, our routine looked like this:

5:45 AM wake-up
5:50 AM  shower
6:10AM wake-up Ron if his alarm is still going off for the 8,000th time (I kid...not really). Head down stairs and wake-up for a bit and do some mixture of the following: prep dinner, pack Kellen's school bag/swim bag, clean-up any leftover kitchen mess, prep a blog post and make breakfast. 
6:30 AM Ron leaves in a flash. Kellen is up and wakes up with a snack and a cartoon (yep t.v. is my morning babysitter) while I blow dry my hair and get dressed.
7:15 AM Get Kellen dressed and usually another snack or drink. This is normally the witching hour of my morning. 60% chance of some type of toddler meltdown. 
7:30 AM On the road to daycare
7:40 AM Daycare drop off 
8:00 AM Pulling into the work parking lot and rushing to get my lunch in the fridge and to my desk to be ready for my clients or meetings. 

I am a morning person and like to get a lot accomplished in the morning so my evening will be easier. However, there are now two little boys that need mom in the morning and a husband that needs to leave the house by 6:30.....

So, this is my rough Monday morning schedule....when I say rough I mean rough because that is what I expect it will be. 

5:15 AM wake up and curse the world
5:25 AM shower
5:45 AM Kellen will likely be up because why not... head downstairs and start Micky Mouse. Grab Kellen's clothes from the hamper and wish I still had postpartum Doula hours left. Contemplate texting Emily and telling her I need more (aka begging her to come help me), but likely deciding that I need to tough it out. 
5:55 AM Mini pumping session for milk for the baby for daycare (sob).  I am cutting out my middle of the night pump so this will be interesting...
6:15 AM Some mix of prepping dinner, getting Kellen's school bag and Rowan's school bag/breast milk ready and other miscellaneous morning things.... This will be when I decide that all of those things need to be done the night before in a fit of rage. I will also get Kellen dressed....he will likely protest this plan.
6:30 AM Blow dry (aka throw hair in a wet bun) and get dressed (find the most unwrinkled clothing I can).
6:50 AM Wake up Rowan (assuming he isn't already awake and throwing this careful plan into a dramatic crash and burn). 
6:55 AM Change and dress Rowan
7:00 AM Nurse Rowan
7:20 AM Try to get Kellen to get his shoes on and have some type of meltdown & load the car
7:30 AM Drive to daycare and contemplate life choice
7:40 AM Daycare drop-off. 
8:00 AM Haul ass to work because I miscalculated drop-off time and cry because I miss my baby.

See piece of cake..... not. This is a very hopeful schedule and I am hoping things go semi-smooth on Monday. Thankfully, I have an understanding employer that will be understanding if I do not know right from left when I first walk in the door. Plus, as you see above, I am freaking out slightly about this transition. I know I had the same feelings when returning to work after Kellen and things went fine. I know I will need to move a few things around and prep the night before, and that is a bit new to me.

The other part of returning to work was getting the clear from my doctor and getting the authorization forms to our HR company. Thankfully, I was mailed the forms and was able to drop them off at my doctor's office and they offered to fax them in for me. Check that off the list, whew, and another reason to love my OB's office.

Another part of the back to work transition was getting Rowan enrolled at daycare (sob). I need to bring his clothes and cloth diapers (more on that in a different post) ready to wear to stock his cubby. Daycare uses Halo sleep sacks and thankfully I have a few at home so he can use one from home while at school. The final thing is the what causes me a little stress. Packing up the breastmilk.... The policy in the State of Wisconsin is that heated breastmilk has to be tossed even if it was unused. I hate this policy because it feels so wasteful to me. In our home, we utilize the "eat as you go" strategy and will start low and warm more milk if more is needed when bottle feeding. The policy at daycare required the bottles must be prepared at home and ready to go. Rowan is a 3 ounce - 5.5 ounce bottle eater and it spurs my questions of how big do I made these bottles? I could do 4 ounce to be on the safe side, but if he needs more it could result in almost 4 ounces of waste if a new bottle needs to be warmed. On the other hand, I can make 5 ounce bottles and likely only have 1-2 ounces of waste (if any at all).  In my perfect world, I would love to send a larger container of milk and it can be warmed as needed.... However, I understand that regulations are needed, but as other breastfeeding mothers can confirm, we cry over spilled milk.  I think that I will likely go for 5 ounce bottles and hope for the best. I am going to ask the teacher to let me know how much was consumed to I can make adjustments as needed.  You may wonder why I am obsessing over this considering I did it with Kellen. When Kellen was in the baby room they still allowed containers of milk and they would pour them into bottles.... times have changed.

The other side of the work breastfeeding dance is pumping. I will be pumping at work and have my pump ready to go- flanges, bottles, nipple cream, mini Madela cooler, and mini ice pack for storage. I use a Madela Pump In-Style and actually have two of them, one from Kellen and one from Rowan. I am going to bring the newer one to work because it will be a bit more efficient and my older pump will remain at home. I figure that this is a good plan because I will not forget my pump....I just need to remember the bottles..... Actually, I am thinking of using the bags at work and keeping a supply there so it further eliminates the chance of morning forgetfulness (I just noticed that I mentioned nothing about pumping supplies in my rough morning outline above).  I have my own private office at work and plan to pump twice while I am there. I am very fortunate to work in an office that values breastfeeding. They have special curtains for us to use on our windows and I have never experience any push back when I needed to take a break to pump. I feel very lucky because I know that this is very different from what many of my friends have experiences while trying to pump on the job. My only source of concern if a conference I have coming up in a few weeks and I hope the schedule is flexible for me to fit in my pumps. Last time, I called the hotel and they have me a hotel room to pump and it was so fantastic. I am hoping for the same thing this time, but this hotel is a little more modern and they may have space set aside.

So, this is my plan...so far.  I know many of you do this every morning and some with multiple children..... You all should know that you make it look so easy and I know I will get my act together and this will become my routine..... I hope. 

Next week my cloth diaper post is coming!