Before I had Lincoln, I never actually took the time to consider how my days postpartum and back at work would be. I work as a clinical laboratory scientist in a small hospital, so my work schedule is pretty rigid. As with most things baby related though, I figured it would work itself out, simply because it had to. Well, that’s pretty accurate! Below I’ve described my “schedule” as a working mother and how I fit everything I need to do in my day. I use the word “schedule” lightly, as we don’t follow a strict itinerary, I just find it easy to maintain a routine in order to get things done in a timely, predictable manner. Of course there are variations depending on if we need to go to the grocery store, doctors appointments, etc. But, this is the basic layout of our day to day goings-on.
If everything goes well in the night (we’re still dealing with night wakings on occasion, some of them every few hours), I wake up at 5 and nurse Lincoln. If he’s very asleep, he will usually eat while barely waking up, then I put him back down until his dad gets him up again to take him to daycare around 7.
Most blessed mornings, I am able to enjoy a cup of coffee by myself in the living room. I have admitted in the past that this little alone time is one of the best moments of my day! Before I have my coffee, I make sure Lincoln has his bottles for daycare ready to go, and I have my lunch and pumping equipment packed up.
I report to work at 6:30 in the morning, which is about a 25 minute drive from home. I use my drive time to listen to music and let my mind wander a bit.
This is a big time variant, but I generally get to go on morning break around 8:00-9:30. We are allowed 15 minutes, which barely gives me enough time to run upstairs into a bathroom stall to pump. It’s not ideal, but you have to do what you have to do! I use my manual Medela Harmony (affiliate link). pump since it’s quicker and doesn’t require electricity. If I have a little extra time afterwards, I may try to stuff a bagel or something in my face for breakfast.
This is another time variant, as we don’t have fixed times for lunch, we’re just supposed to go when workload/staffing allows. I am usually able to take lunch around 11:30-12:30. We are given 30 minutes for lunch, which gives me just enough time to go to the fifth floor of my hospital where we currently don’t have any patients, find an empty room, hook up, pump and eat. I usually pack a meal replacement shake and other easy snacky foods that don’t require a microwave. My Medela Pump In Style is a double electric pump, but I never pump enough to justify using two separate bottles, so I just switch sides back and forth. I’ve gotten pretty good at using one hand!
I finish up my workday at 3 and leave to get Lincoln from daycare. His daycare center closes at 6, but I always just go get him straight after work. It takes me about 45 minutes to get all the way across town through school traffic to pick him up, so by the time we get home, it’s usually close to 4.
This is the time we have before Dad gets home from work around 5:30. I usually put Lincoln down for a nap as soon as we get home, depending on when he last napped at daycare. I let him sleep for about an hour so he will have enough awake time before bed. While he’s asleep, I spend that time loading and unloading the dishwasher, tidying up the house, and starting any laundry that needs to be done. After he wakes up, I feed him and change his diaper.
After my husband comes home, we give Lincoln a bath if he needs it (about once every 2-3 days), then we put him in his jumper or floor seat (which I talked about in my 5 Products Every Busy New Mom Needs in Her Life post) in the kitchen with me while I cook dinner. At the pediatrician’s advice, we’ve started introducing Lincoln to solids, so we’ve been mashing up avocado and attempting to feed it to him. This has been our new favorite form of entertainment!
When dinner has been cooked, my husband and I eat and then it’s time to put Lincoln down for the night. We usually try to begin his bedtime routine around 7.
Lincoln’s bedtime routine is not complicated. We prefer to keep things as simple as possible. We turn on the white noise, change his diaper, put him into a long-sleeved onesie, and feed him. Once he’s done eating, we put him in his fleece sleep sack, and he goes down into his crib awake. We say our good nights and leave the room. Lincoln has improved immensely at falling asleep on his own, but he usually will spend a little time chatting to himself before eventually drifting off. Sweet boy.
After we put Lincoln down, my husband and I spend a little time cleaning up the kitchen and getting ready for the next day. My husband starts the dishwasher and I try to tidy up a bit more. Next, it’s time for showers and bed! 9 pm feels like a pretty late bedtime for this tired mom. I’m usually ready to go to sleep by 7:30!
If all goes well in the night (i.e. if Lincoln actually sleeps through straight), we start the next day the same way all over again. It still feels like there will never be enough hours in the day, but with our little routine, we feel like we can make it through to the weekend. So, keep on keepin’ on, all you exhausted parents. We can do this!