Checklist: After maternity leave

Time flies when you’re on maternity leave and before you know it, it’s time to return to work and a new routine that takes into account your baby, your home life and your career.

Here are some tips to help you get back into the swing of things.

At home

Being organised and prepared at home is essential. It will give you some breathing space and allow you to spend quality time with your baby, other kids and partner.

  • Plan and prepare for the new after-work routine well in advance. You’ll have to catch up on breastfeeding, as well as the usual evening tasks such as getting supper ready, packing lunches for older kids and getting baby bathed and into bed.
  • Consider timesaving tricks such as cooking and freezing food a week before your maternity leave ends, so that you can heat it and eat it instead of cooking from scratch. Try and keep this up over weekends to help make your weeknights easier.
  • Keep an eye out for quick dinner recipes that will save you time. Here’s a great example.
  • Make a schedule of your household responsibilities, such as a roster for cooking, washing the dishes, doing the laundry and homework checking for bigger kids. Then share and communicate this roster with your support system so that you are all on board with how things are going to work.
  • Do one last bit of grocery shopping to save yourself from having to make unnecessary trips to the shops during the week.

At work

While returning to work can be difficult, make it easier by arranging everything properly beforehand, so you don’t receive any unpleasant surprises.

  • One week before you return to work, check and finalise your date of return to work with your manager or HR representative.
  • Go through your wardrobe to see if your work clothes still fit you and are clean and ironed. Plan your outfits so that you are ready and calm on your first morning of leaving baby behind. If you are wanting to breastfeed, choose outfits that will make it easy for you to pump milk at work, such as V-neck tops and button-up shirts.
  • Prepare your lunchboxes and snacks for work so that you don’t feel hungry and thirsty, especially if you are breastfeeding. Good foods to choose are high-fibre cereal for breakfast, vegetables that you can microwave at work, fruit, low-fat yoghurt and microwave popcorn, as well as cold meats.


Just because you are going back to your job doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding. It can be challenging, but it’s really a case of managing the process carefully.

  • You will need to express your breastmilk. Remember that it is possible to freeze it to create a good stash of milk for baby while you are away during the day. Start doing this as soon as possible so that you have enough stored milk for the first week.
  • Find out what processes your employer has in place for breastfeeding moms. Most companies that support breastfeeding moms allocate time during the workday for moms to express. If you are unsure or have concerns, speak to an HR representative at your workplace.
  • Whether you will be expressing manually or by pump, stock up on essential expressing items like suitable containers for your milk, wet wipes, as well as a mini cooler bag and ice bricks to store your milk.
  • Try to get into a routine where you nurse your baby just before you leave for work and as soon as you return to keep your milk supply up.
  • Stock up on breast pads to stay dry all day.
  • Get a big water bottle to keep hydrated so that your milk supply stays steady.

For more practical and trusted tips, click the link to read the latest edition of the Ackermans Baby Magazine.

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