Returning to work

It’s normal to feel anxious, but speaking to other parents, your health visitor, or online forums can help.


Most parents return to work or education at some point.  It can help to speak to other working parents, but the most important thing is to consider what’s best for you and your family. 

There are a few things you’ll want to consider.

  1. Try to build up the time your baby spends with their carer.  Most childcare settings offer settling in sessions which offer you and your baby an opportunity to become familiar with the setting and your child’s key person. 
  2. Pack some familiar items that baby can hold on to, such as a toy or blanket that smells of you and home. 
  3. If you’re still breastfeeding, try to get your baby used to drinking from a cup or bottle before your return to work or education.  It is possible to express milk for feeds during the day, or you can give your baby formula milk in the middle of the day, and breastfeed the rest of the time. 
  4. Discuss with your workplace any arrangements for expressing – is there somewhere private you can do this?  And somewhere to store the milk? 
  5. You may want to prepare yourself for your return to work, by leaving your baby with the carer for short periods, doing a dummy run to work, and catching up with colleagues to find out what’s been happening while you’ve been away. 

It’s normal to feel anxious, but speaking to other parents, your health visitor, or online forums can help. 

Childcare can be very expensive, you’ll need to decide if you can afford to pay for childcare out of what you earn, or perhaps work when your partner isn’t working, or ask friends and family to help. 

To find out more about flexible working, tax credits, and benefits you may be entitled to, go to or Jobcentre Plus

It goes without saying that you will have chosen the best childcare for your child and family.  However, of course you remain the most important person in your baby’s life, so plan to spend some quality time with your baby, so they know that they’re important.



Legislation exists to protect the health and safety of new and expectant mothers at work.

More information can be found on the Health & Safety Executive website.