For some new mums, the days at home with their baby don't last very long. You may find that when your baby is little more than three months old you have to go back to work. Here's how some mums coped with preparing to go back to work, and ideas on the practical steps you can take to make the adjustment easier for your baby and yourself.
"I had to go back to work after four months and wasn't looking forward to it. For three weeks beforehand I 'practised' leaving Peter at the childminders for occasional days: first for a couple of hours and then for longer stretches, building up to a whole day. I also had a trial run at getting on the train and going into the city by myself. It was very important that I had got over the hurdle of being physically away from him before the 'big day' came round. He also benefited from having a chance to get to know his childminder without me being in a panic on my first day back." Kerry, mum to Peter, aged five months.
"When Josh was six weeks old, I got in touch and asked colleagues to copy me in on any memos on email. Even though I had only been away from work for a couple of months, it seemed like ages, and I was planning to go back after four months off. I also made the occasional phone call just to touch base with colleagues so that I didn't walk in cold that first morning. E-mail was definitely a good idea as it meant I could catch up in my own time and people from work wouldn't catch a yelling baby on the line!" Sarah, first-time mum.
"I was planning to go back to work three days a week when Lauren was 14 weeks old and wanted to keep breastfeeding her. To prepare myself I volunteered to make a couple of short visits to work before my official return date. I wanted to keep it professional, so I left Lauren with my mum - though everyone was disappointed I hadn't brought her. It would have been impossible for me to focus with her there. It went down really well with my boss that I had been proactive about returning. I had a chance to catch up on what was going on, and it also meant that I could check out the room they had allocated for me to express in. Though having a 'recce' made returning more real, it helped me feel confident on my first full day." Katie, mum to Lauren, four months.