by Pregnancy.org Staff
"Back-to-school" time puts many moms into a shopping and scheduling frenzy. What if mom is the student? "Frenzy" takes on a whole new meaning!
When you're juggling a new baby and going back to school, it's helpful to review common challenges and seek out suggested solutions. We're hoping ours will lower the "frenzy factor."
Figure out childcare: Look for daycare early - it will only stress you out if you wait until the last minute. Sometimes your school campus will offer a childhood development center for its students, staff, and community.
Create back-up plans: Life happens. Create a reasonable game plan for those days when the unexpected comes knocking. Most childcare facilities won't allow your baby to come in if the wee one is sick. This is a good time to figure out who are the back-up people too, like family members or a pay-as-you-need sitters.
Ease into school slowly. Do you have the option of going back part-time for one semester? It could prove to be an easier transition for you and your baby.
Plan and try a trial run: Once you have your schedule set, try putting you and your little one through a trial run. This works best if you mimic the whole day. The trial run lets you see what works, what doesn't, what you'll really need, and what benefits from getting done ahead of time (packing the diaper bag, laying out clothes, gas in the car...). The plan not only saves you time but also prevents pulling your hair out when you're doing the "real thing." Besides, baby will be pulling your hair soon enough.
Schedule a family meeting: This is an excellent time to host a family meeting. You'll want to take this opportunity to clearly define your expectations and needs. Don't be shy about asking for help or by creating to-do lists for each family member (well, ones old enough to help). Think of your family as your built-in teammates.
Expect some tears: Drat those leftover pregnancy hormones! Shedding tears is common for mom and baby. Even when you know that your child's going to survive your absence, it's still a tough road to drive on. Our suggestion? Seek out other moms who've "been there, done that," and get the support you need.
Are you still breastfeeding? Heading back to school doesn't mean you have to stop breastfeeding. There are ways to plan pumping times into your schedule or arrange to meet your baby for nursing sessions between classes.
What to wear? "I had daycare set up. The school accommodated my pumping station. I even had meals ready for the week. Everything organized or so I thought," Jessica, a Seattle area teacher shares. "Then I opened my closet. None of my work clothes fit!"
Give yourself a break. While you might not fit back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe, you have a new munchkin who's the cutest kid in the world! Take some time to go through your wardrobe and find different pieces to mix and match. Eventually you'll find new clothes that fit your new lifestyle in and out of the classroom.
Prep and study time: Try to stay organized and on top of due dates. Is your tiny tot napping or entertaining themselves for a few short minutes? Grab this time to prepare for your classes. Outline assignments and do as much prep work ahead of time if possible. You'll want to minimize tears and anxiety when you're walking the floor with your "cling-on" baby later in the week.
Believe in yourself! You're not the first new mom heading back-to-school (or the last). You can do this and make it work! You're M-O-M after all!
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