Have peace of mind returning to work with your precious bundle being well cared for.
Child care options
Your maternity leave is ending soon and you are feeling anxious and uncertain about resuming work, and adjusting to the working routine after such a long break. To ensure a smooth transition, you might want to start exploring your child care options before returning to work. Are your parents, parents-in-law or other trusted family members able to care for your baby? Should you have your baby cared for by a domestic helper, a nanny or in an infant care centre? You may also have to learn to work with your support system to help with the care of your baby while you are at work. There is bound to be some separation anxiety but you can overcome this by planning your care arrangements early and assuring yourself that your child is in good hands.
Getting a trusted family member like your parents or parents-in-law to care for your baby is a good option. You can be assured that they would love your baby, are reliable and trustworthy, and will therefore look after him well. They are also likely to care for him in your home or theirs, which is a familiar environment for your baby. However, if your parents or parents-in-law are elderly, they may or may not be equipped or able to deal with strong-willed babies and toddlers.
The care and development of children has seen much change over the years so your parents may have different views on how to care for your baby.
Discuss with your family member who is the primary caregiver on your expectations on how you want your baby to be looked after. If you are still breastfeeding, ensure she supports your decision to breastfeed.
Some families may engage a domestic helper to look after the baby. A realistic expectation of the domestic helper in managing the household chores and caring for the baby should be set. Having a trusted relative at home to supervise and oversee the helper is a good option.
Nannies look after children in their own homes or in the baby’s home. There are agencies that can help you find a nanny who lives near you. Nanny services are not licensed.
Infant care centres
There are infant care centres providing full and half-day care programmes for babies from 2 months - 18 months old. Some centres offer flexible programmes that cater to different work arrangements. Before you decide on an infant care centre, it is important to know and understand the programme at the centre.
Visit the Child Care Link website at www.childcarelink.gov.sg or call 6258 5812 for more information on centre-based infant and child care.
What you need to know about tobacco products
If a family member or someone at the nanny’s place smokes, request him to avoid doing so when your baby is at their home. This is because babies exposed to second-hand smoke can suffer from chest infections, ear infections and have a higher risk of cot death.
Opening windows and doors does not protect your baby from second-hand smoke. Research has shown that toxins from tobacco smoke (now known as third-hand smoke) settle on surfaces such as sofas, curtains and carpets, as well as clothing and hair, and can take a long while to go away. These toxins may get into your baby’s body, through contact while he plays or crawls, or while being carried by a smoker.
Breastfeeding at work
There is no need to stop breastfeeding just because you are returning to work. With a bit of planning, your baby can still be fully breastfed and receive the best nourishment for him.
Here are some tips to help you juggle with resuming work and the desire to continue to breastfeed:
Expressing breast milk
You can express your breast milk manually by using your hands or with a manual or electrical breast pump.
How to express breast milk with a breast pump?
Storage of the expressed milk
|Place of Storage||Recommended Storage Duration|
|Expressed milk at room temperature of 25°C||4 hours|
|Expressed milk in a cooler with ice pack at 15°C||24 hours|
|Breast milk freshly expressed and stored in the fridge at 4°C||48 hours|
|Frozen milk in 2-door fridge stored at -5°C to -15°C||3 - 6 months|
|Frozen milk in deep freezer at -20°C||6 - 12 months|
|Thawed breast milk stored in the fridge at 4°C||24 hours|
If you have problems with breastfeeding or are worried, be sure to speak to your doctor, lactation consultants or mothers who have managed breastfeeding successfully despite returning to work.