Ep 33: What It’s Really Like to Go Back to Work After Having a Baby, with Lauren Smith Brody, Author of The Fifth Trimester

Did you go back to work after having a baby?

I did. Twice. And you know what? I loved it.

Yes, I ended up leaving for reasons that had everything to do with self-care, but there is so much about working outside of the house that can make a woman feel like herself again after having a baby.

In fact, I’ve written before about how I sincerely believe that the routine of my work schedule helped to save me when I was in the throes of postpartum anxiety with my second baby.

For some women, work can actually feel like a retreat in some ways–a return to the predictability that babies decidedly do not offer. Babies, as we know, are anything but predictable. 😉

Whether out of personal fulfillment or financial need, women return to work after having children for a variety of reasons. It’s not all the same. But the one thing that is the same is the need for a standard of quality of care for the new, working mom.

This week’s podcast might just be one of my favorites to date. It’s just for you–the working mom.

Nanny vs. Day Care?

Here’s her takeaway for deciding between in-home care and day care: “Make your decision based on your emotional comfort as much as your logistical comfort. That’s what the research shows is most beneficial to you and your baby, and your ability to continue your career.”

Consider Going Part Time

I’m fully aware that this isn’t an option for everyone–it certainly wasn’t for me–but I really love this practical takeaway Lauren gave during our interview: When it comes to finding a work schedule that better suits you and your family, it never hurts to ask.

Lauren suggests asking if your employer would consider part-time, or compressed schedule, i.e. segmenting your days in different ways to accomplish your workload in a different combination than Monday-Friday, 9-5.

Debating Your Return? Write It (All) Down

Another great tip? If you’re trying to decide whether or not it’s even worth going back, Lauren says there is one super simple thing that can help you decide. Make a list.

On one side, put down all the things that make you want to return. Does work provide you a sense of self? Is it fulfilling a passion or calling you feel you have? Is it providing your family extra income that allows you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do?

On the other hand, the drawbacks might include things like not being able to go to every doctor’s appointment with your child; having to pay for childcare; or dealing with the added exhaustion of working outside the house.

Every woman’s list will look different, but I so agree with Lauren here: Seeing all the pros and cons of returning to work after having a baby right there in front of your face can help to really clarify where you stand.

And We Dig into So Much More

We also talk about the craziest place she had to pump, which as anyone with a baby can likely rattle off within seconds of being asked. (Mine? The extra large stall in the Philly Airport, which was just about as gross as it sounds.)

Okay, I could go on and on and on listing all of the amazing things that Lauren suggests, but I really want you to hear it for yourself in our interview! She’s just incredible.

Guys, I can’t overstate the insane amount of value and practical advice Lauren offers in this interview, and in her book. Here are some of the topics we cover:

  • Finding childcare: Should you use in-home care, or day care?
  • Getting your relationship back on track after baby–the sweet spot of time spent together that research shows improves your relationship
  • Beauty tips–her favorite products to look “done” in five minutes or less
  • How to stock your closet if your regular clothes still don’t fit when you head back after leave (Hint: They probably won’t.)
  • Managing yourself, and others, at work
  • And so much more!

Here are the Beauty Products She Recommends:



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