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By Dr Michelle LIM, Associate Consultant and Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Visiting Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Time flies — and not just because your little one will be walking and talking before you know it. You may be planning to return to work in the near future. Looking to make the transition from maternity leave to meetings as smooth as possible? Here are some things to consider.

Nanny or Nana?

nanny or nana

You can engage a family member (such as your mother-in-law), nanny or domestic helper to look after your baby. Whichever option you choose, be sure to discuss with them your wishes for childcare — such as the amount of stimulation and playtime, or when bath time should happen — so that your baby's routine is not disrupted.

Staying Smoke-free

staying smoke free

Ideally, you and your husband don't smoke, or have quit smoking before your pregnancy. Many of us are familiar with the dangers of second-hand smoke, but are you aware of the detriments of third-hand smoke? This refers to toxins from smoke that settle in furniture, clothing and hair, which can be absorbed by your baby upon contact. So if your child is being cared for in a new environment, ask that they refrain from smoking.

Breastfeeding at Work

breastfeeding at work

Returning to work needn't disrupt your breastfeeding routine — some forward planning would help. Here are the things you could do:

  • Begin expressing (pumping) your breast milk one to two weeks before work, and get your baby used to bottle-feeding by alternating breastfeeds with bottle feeds.
  • Speak to your boss about pumping at work, ideally in a quiet spare room.
  • Consider wearing front-buttoned shirts to make expressing milk at work more convenient.
  • Finding it awkward pumping without your baby? Here's a tip: look at a photo of your little one — just thinking about your baby can stimulate milk flow.

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Sources:

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore