On a beautiful September morning, I put on my professional face and ran out the door without saying goodbye to my baby. It was 12 weeks and one day since I had given birth to him and also the date I had to return to work or forfeit my job. I cried for hours the night before and was determined to make it through the morning tear-free. But the second I walked into my office, they rolled down my face.
Returning to work was the most difficult part of my entire childbirth experience. Scarier than when my amniotic fluid became dangerously low, worse than the sleepless nights rocking a crying baby, and more challenging than breastfeeding. But the funny thing is, staying home was never part of my plan. I didn't even like babies and figured going back to the office would be a relief after three months at home with one. Maybe that is why my sadness that September day felt so intense – I was shocked I was even feeling it.
Your feelings about returning to work may surprise you
Like me, you may be sad to be away from home, worried you're missing milestones or other important moments. One of my coworkers surprised herself in another way when she cut her planned 6-month maternity leave short and gleefully returned to her job. As with many emotions related to parenting, it's hard to know how you will feel about it until you experience it.
You can read the rest of the article at Seleni Insititute
As parents, we face the difficult decision about how much screen time is appropriate for our baby or toddler. Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their screen time guidelines. AAP's new guidelines state that media is part of child development and should be viewed as another environment in which kids learn about the world. For me, sometimes television is necessary so I can jump in the shower or unload the dishwasher.
I still feel guilty sitting my son in front of a screen so I can accomplish my daily tasks. When my son was very small, a family member with an older child recommended baby sign language so I started looking into it.
Baby Sign Language helps babies and toddlers communicate using manual signs, most taken from American Sign Language. Using signs allows babies and toddlers to verbalize their needs. Studies have found that using signs may produce a larger vocabulary, advanced mental development, and advanced comprehension. Using sign language may reduce aggression and problematic behavior because the child is better able to express their needs. It may also help decrease the child's frustration and improve parent-child relationships because parents are more responsive and observant of their child. Babies can learn simple signs such as “eat,” “sleep," "more," "hug," "play" and "milk.” Each individual may develop the ability to sign at various stages in his/her growth.
Read the rest of the article on Verywell.
If you are a new parent, you may have wondered, does swaddling increase a baby's risk of SIDS?
A recent study by Pediatrics, the official journal of The Academy of American Pediatrics, is giving new parents yet another reason to panic. The study is warning parents that swaddling your baby during sleep increases the likelihood of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
So what does this new information mean to sleep-deprived new parents and tiny newborns looking to find security and comfort in their new world?
Read the rest of the article on Verywell.
Returning to work triggers different feelings for every mom. For me, it was the most difficult part of my entire new mom experience. I could not imagine leaving my tiny 12 week old son with a stranger, but it was what I needed to do if I wanted to keep my job. The anticipation of returning to work may be more stressful than the actual return.
5 myths about returning to work after maternity leave:
1. Your baby will love you less
Going back to work, whether it is by choice or necessity, is a tough decision for many women. Deep down, I worried that my son would connect more with the nanny because she was spending more time with him. Getting past those feelings of jealousy was important for me as a new mom. My child has a special bond with his nanny, but it is very different than our mother/son connection. A child's bond with his mother is special and unique. Working parents have less time to spend with their children, but being a good parent is not about quantity; it is about quality time.
2. Working moms do not need mom friends
During maternity leave, I formed friendships with some wonderful women who had babies the same age as my son. We spent 3am texting while breastfeeding and 4pm at "happy hour" with our babies and beers. When I went back to work I was worried that we wouldn't find time to hangout. Some working moms I knew had not made the effort to make new mom friends because they knew they were going back to work...what would be the point? Almost 2 years later, we still text all day along and find time for mom night's out and toddler play dates. These moms continue to be my support system and my sanity.
Read the other myths on Verywell.
A friend texted me the other morning that a woman she went to high school with was suffering from postpartum depression and hanged herself. The baby was five weeks old. Extremely upsetting. Tragic. Untimely. Before I was a parent, I absorbed these stories from a social work perspective. Not enough resources, support groups, coping mechanisms. Now, as a new mom, there is a part of me that understands the pain, the confusion, the insane hormones.
Read the rest of the article at Psych Central.