Returning to work and BLW

Returning to work and BLW

Eli covered in sauceLike many mums, I was seriously worried about going back to work after mat leave ended. One of the things I fretted about most was the whole eating/food aspect. How the hell would I manage to have nutritious homemade dinners ready on work nights? Would my childminder understand baby led weaning? And how would we keep a routine going when I was out three days a week?

By the time I’d stewed over all the abive I was completely stressed out, never mind all my other worries about leaving my baby for the first time! Six months down the line, I can honestly say  it’s been much easier than I thought. It helped that Eli was 12 months by the time I went back so his eating was well established. But no matter when you go back to work, you can still make BLW work.

Get your childcare provider on board

Many childcare providers and grandparents don’t have much experience of BLW so I had nightmares that Eli would get spoon fed and totally forget how to feed himself (slightly pover-dramatic I now realise…). Just be explicit about your expectations with whoever is looking after your child.

If they are providing food, give them a sheet with their favourite foods and tips for BLW-friendly food prep, and be clear if there is any food you don’t want them to have, like sugary treats. Providing a packed lunch means you have more control over what they’re fed, but you still need to give instructions about how they eat.

Get organised

For me getting organised was totally essential. Before I went back in December, I spent a couple of weeks cooking up a ton of food for the freezer so that dinner on work nights is always quick and simple. Lucky for me, my childminder provides breakfast, snacks and lunch on work days but if you need to send packed lunches then why not bake/cook up stuff to freeze in advance too? Make sure you pack up the lunches the night before too, so you’re not rushed in the morning.

In case your freezer runs empty unexpectedly, have a list in mid of 2-3 really simple storecupboard meals you can throw together before your baby’s bedtime so you don’t have any panicked moments. Try this list for some ideas.

Eat together when you can

You won’t have as many opportunities to eat with your child when you’re back at work, so make the most of the chances you’ve got. If you can work your routine so you get a family dinner at night that’s perfect – we eat together at 6 every night which works as we’re all home by then and Eli just has his bath and bedtime routine straight after. If you can’t do weeknight dinners, then prioritise eating together at the weekend.

Be kind to yourself

If all your planning goes tits up and you need to feed your baby beans on toast three nights in a row, don’t be hard on yourself. There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve with juggling it all when you go back to work. As long as your baby is happy and fed then you’re doing a good job 🙂

So what about you? Are you worried about going back to work? Or maybe you’re already back and have some tips to share – just leave a comment below!

2 thoughts on “Returning to work and BLW

  1. I’m not back to work, but did go back to school, which was a challenge at 6 months because I was trying to pump for him, keep up my freezer stash, and keep nursing when we were home. We only had one daycare anywhere close to us, so I had to choose my battles and they spoon-fed him until he was 10 months and finally he refused to let them haha! At home, we maintained BLW and he did better than I thought, although occasionally would be a bit lazy and make me feed him instead. It wasn’t my ideal, but it wasn’t the end of the world like I originally thought. And now at 18 months, he can feed himself with a spoon and fork quite well! His new childminders (we moved!) are very impressed with his utensil skills as well!

    We try to priorities eating together! If the kids get up too early (although 6am doesn’t look nearly as dreadful right now in Spring as it did this winter!) we all sit down for breakfast together, even if it’s just cereal for them and coffee for the grown ups. but, we try to do it together before the rush of getting everyone dressed, brushed, shoed, and out the door happens. We also have most weeknight meals together. Usually 3-4 nights it is at the table in the kitchen like a proper meal. Occasionally it is at the small kid’s table in the family room. But no electronics at the table for the proper meals (which is hard on all of us!), only food, family, and conversations. 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing Lyssa! It’s definitely tougher when you have limited childcare options – if you have only one option like you say you can’t always get everything you want! But it’s great to hear it all worked out better than you thought. I think we mums naturally tie ourselves in knots about it all before we go back but it’s usually fine in the end 🙂 x

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