Think about how best to make your work fit in with your family life. Could you:
• Return to work part-time?
• Job-share with a friend?
• Change your work-location so that it's nearer home?
• Shift to more family-friendly hours?
• If you decide to switch from breast to bottle, do it gradually so your baby gets used to the change before you go back to work.
• If you plan to continue breastfeeding, but only in the mornings and evenings, drop feeds slowly (say one every second day) to give your body time to adjust to the new regime.
• If you want to go on breastfeeding and need to express milk at work, see your employer before you return to talk things over. Find out what
facilities are available so that you can express in comfort at work. You will also need a fridge to store your milk.
Under existing health and safety laws, employers have legal obligations to provide rest facilities for mothers to enable them to express and store milk if so wished.
If you work in the public sector you're additionally covered by the European Pregnant Worker's Directive. This states that if a mother's working conditions or hours affect her breastfeeding, the employer must alter them or give her alternative work.
For more on this subject, ring the Maternity Alliance information line on: 020 7588 8582.
Who would you prefer to look after your baby?
• A relative?
• A childminder?
• A nanny?
• A nursery?
• Or a combination of the above?
Factors to take into account are:
• Whether you want your baby to be cared for in your own home;
• Whether you want your baby to be with other children;
• How much you can afford to spend on childcare;
• How flexible your childcare arrangements have to be;
• What sort of a person you want to look after your baby.
Talk to other women to find out how childcare has worked out for them. Your local NCT branch might have a 'Parents at Work' group (or may run their own support group for working parents), which can give you lots of information about local childcare options.
Parents at Work: 020 7628 3565
NCT Enquiry Line: 0870 444 8707