Medically speaking, you will most likely be able to return to work within six weeks postpartum. This recovery time can be influenced by any number of factors including having a C-section or other complications with your pregnancy. Your employer may have a maternity policy that will influence how long you wait before you return to work, and they may or may not be subject to laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Some studies have shown that babies who are able to have one parent at home during the first year are less likely to experience certain developmental problems than others, although more research needs to be done in this area.
The decision of when to return to work, if you have the flexibility to decide, should be made when it is most comfortable for you, but you should also take your partner’s feelings into consideration. Not returning could cause undue financial hardship if you decided to return to work before the baby was born and now change your mind. Your partner may also wish you to stay home as long as possible and you wish to return to work. Discussing the subject before the baby is born will help make the decision easier after the baby is born.
There are several things you can do in preparing to go back to work, including:
– Create a support structure for both you and baby
– Create a schedule that allows you time to interact with your baby
– Work out breast-feeding plans, including purchasing a breast pump, etc.
– Select a reliable and safe childcare environment.