mother & daughter

The day your baby was born was the best day of your life.

It seems like it happened just the other day, but now your maternity leave is almost finished, and you're facing returning to work as a nurse.

You love your job, but your baby still seems so small and fragile.

So you worry about how you will manage to work, probably the most demanding job on this planet, with being here for your baby.

Here are tips to help you cope successfully with them both.

10 Tips On Coping With Motherhood While Being A Nurse

Infographics - 10 Tips On Coping With Motherhood While Being A Nurse

1. Keep “Mom Guilt” In Check

Article-Image-PRO-Group-Of-Mothers-With-Babies-At-Playgroup

Whether you have to go back to work straight after maternity leave runs out, or if you want to keep working to stay sane, mothers' guilt is likely to show up the same day you leave your baby at home.

It's very normal to feel this overwhelming mix of emotions when you return to work.

Give yourself a break and talk to other working mammas about how they coped with the transition of getting back.

Getting others' perspectives will reassure you that what you feel is normal and make you feel better about missing your baby while at work.

Find Your Next Nursing Job
Use the NurseMoneyTalk job board to look for and apply to great nursing jobs near you.

2. Don't Volunteer For Overtime

Article Image -   nurse in uniform talking on telephone and holding clipboard during night shift

If you were one of the trusty, reliable people who volunteered to stay late and pick up extra shifts to help with staffing before your baby was born, now is not the time to play the hero.

Your work family is important, but so is your own family, and while your baby is small, you need to prioritize them over work.

You have a baby now, and you need to rest as much as possible, so let other team members pick up the extra hours and go home after your shift to spend time with your baby and husband.

Remember running yourself into burnout will not help anyone in the long run.

3. Get Childcare Help

Article Image - Worried mother calling to doctor asking for advice

Getting back to work means that you will need to have someone else look after the baby while you're at work.

This can be as simple as asking a family member for help or getting paid help for babysitting.

Getting reliable childcare while you're at work will put your mind at ease. You can relax and know your baby is well taken care of while you cannot be there with them.

4. Get Help With Household Chores

Article Image - Young housewife cleaning house with vacuum cleaner

If you're working and your baby is under a year old, you will need help with household chores.

Hiring a cleaning service to take care of the housework will help you find that extra time to spend cuddling your child.

While at the same time making sure the house gets vacuumed, windows get washed, and you have clean clothes to wear to work.

Many women feel bad about spending money on household help because it seems to reflect badly on them. They feel they will be criticized and look like they cannot cope.

However, if you try to do it all yourself, you will end up cranky, overtired, and unable to give your best to your baby or perform well at work.

Both your jobs, nursing and being a mother, require physical strength, so it's better to spend your energy on things that matter to you and let others take care of the house.

It won't be forever, maybe a couple of months or a year, and then you can do your own housework again.

Related: How to Manage Stress as a Nurse

5. Stay Organized

Article Image -  Planner, Smartphone, and Sticky Notes on a Table

Babies thrive in an organized, predictable environment. So start getting them used to a schedule early in life.

Create a morning, bedtime, and night feeding routine that you and your baby can stick to for the most part.

A predictable pattern of what happens daily will give you and the baby a sense of order and well-being.

Don't beat yourself up if there are days when, no matter how hard you try, you won't be able to stick to your plan. It's okay; once the crisis ends, you can pick up the schedule again.

6. Reach Out To Others

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If you feel working full-time takes away from your child too much, reach out to your nurse manager to see if there are any options for working part-time or flexible hours for a few months.

Get comfortable reaching out to team members for help and delegating tasks.

If you're exhausted from poor sleep, try relying more on your team members and nurse aides to help you get through the daily workload.

If they help you now, hopefully, you will be there to support them when the need arises.

7. Consider Other Options In Nursing

Article Image -   PRO Nurse with senior patient

If you're battling working through the long shifts at the hospital, consider getting a different nursing position.

Nursing is a very versatile profession, and you may be able to find other work that is not as demanding as clinical nursing.

Think about school nursing or home care nursing. Those positions have lighter workloads, which may be just what you need right now.

If you want to look at available nursing positions in your area, check out the NurseMoneyTalk job board.

Find Your Next Nursing Job
Use the NurseMoneyTalk job board to look for and apply to great nursing jobs near you.

8. Stay Hydrated And Well Nourished

Article Image -   Staying Hydrated

When breastfeeding, you will need to stay hydrated to keep producing milk. Carry a water bottle with you as you work and take sips of water throughout the day.

By the end of the day, you should have finished at least two liters of water to prevent dehydration.

Eat healthy, nourishing food. Choose nutrient-dense food to ensure your body has sufficient nutrients to keep up your energy and produce breast milk.

If you live on coffee, chocolate, fatty fast food, and chips, you won't have the necessary nutrients to give you energy, and your exhaustion will affect your functioning.

Remember that breastfeeding will make you more hungry, so always keep some baby carrots, apples, and nuts in your pockets or your locker, where you can easily access snacks between tasks.

9. Prioritize Your Well-being

Article Image - Woman Looking at the Mirror

When your little bundle of joy is born, it's easy to forget to make time to look after yourself.

Making sure you take a break once in a while to do something relaxing, like getting a spa treatment, watching a movie, or joining an exercise class, is important to your mental well-being.

10. Remember That Too Shall Pass

Article Image -  Mother and Daughter

If going back to work still feels overwhelming, take a step back and realize that things are not as bad as you imagine.

In a few months (maybe years), your baby will grow and not need you as much.

You will realize your family is thriving even though you're not spending every waking moment with them. You will also have a chance to feel proud of how strong you have become.

Key Takeaways

Going back to work after maternity leave can feel overwhelming, but your family will be just fine with a little prioritization and getting some help.

Once your child gets older, they will be proud that their mother is a nurse and that she did not give up when they were born.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Keep your mom guilt in check, and make sure you set aside time to focus on your own self-care.