Back to Work Countdown
The month before you're due to return
If you've gone the sitter route, create an agreement. It should outline what you each expect from the arrangement.
A couple of weeks before
Do a test run. It will ease the transition--and your mind! Invite the sitter over for an hour or so while you run to the grocery store, or drop your child off at the day-care center for an hour or two so it feels familiar.
About a week before
Get gear together. Gather the items on the day-care center's checklist, pack them into a knapsack or tote, and put it by the door. If you're using an in-home sitter, make sure your supplies are fully stocked. Running out for diapers and wipes or formula the night before your first day at work: no fun.
A few days before
Start practicing your new morning routine. Consider who should shower first and who should feed and dress the baby--and remember to build in an extra ten minutes for last-minute surprises (think poop).
The first day at work
Quickly say goodbye to your cutie and leave. Lingering will make separation harder for both of you. If you have to call five times, that's fine--you're adjusting too.
Originally published in American Baby magazine in October 2011. Updated in May 2014.
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