What is the best way to plan my return to work?

There are several things that can be done:

  • Plan your return to work carefully, ensuring that you and your baby are happy with the substitute carer. Allow a lot of time for your infant to get used to the new carer and setting before the separation is to take place. Start with only very short periods away, building up gradually before the final separation takes place. The baby will then hopefully learn that mum does indeed return. It could take weeks for the child to attach to a new person.
  • Be realistic. Your baby may need lots of your attention when you return from work. He may be very clingy and reluctant to let you put him down. He may also resist going to sleep. Be prepared to give enough time to placate him.  
  • Try to make the separations as short as possible, as infrequent as possible and starting as late as possible in infancy.
  • Ensure that time spent with the infant is quality time for them on their terms, with a lot of physical affection.  
  • In fact, if the child has had a long time in group childcare, then they will need you to be very calm and unstimulating, as the child is probably already over-stimulated for that day and their cortisol levels will still be on the rise. (Cortisol levels of children who have been at home will be lowering automatically at this time of the day, whereas those who have been in group daycare will have raised levels rising in the afternoon – Vermeer, 2006).  Professor Lamb (2003) even suggests just a quiet feed and bed is best after a day away from mum in daycare.