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Find a daycare, return to work. Simple, right? It’s the path well travelled by new mums everywhere, but with Covid Lockdown, how we work became more flexible, and Lauren, Founder of BubbaDesk, pioneered a new path, purpose built for working mums. 

"Returning to work after having a baby can feel daunting, filled with a mixture of emotions and logistical challenges. But with the right information, you can devise a plan that's right for you and make this transition more manageable.

Here's what you need to know about childcare and getting flexibility right in 2024;

BubbaDesk flexible working

Leverage Flexible Work Legislation

Recent legislative changes have empowered employees to request flexible working arrangements, making it easier for parents to balance work and family life. This flexibility can include adjustments to start and finish times or the ability to work from home (WFH).

Understanding Your Rights: Under the new legislation, employers are required to provide reasonable grounds if they cannot accommodate a request for flexible work. This change aims to support employees in achieving a better work-life balance.

Get Agreements in Writing: It’s crucial to have any agreed flexible work arrangements documented and signed by both parties. This formal agreement ensures clarity and serves as a reference if any disputes arise. Consider a scenario where an employee at a large bank negotiated flexible hours to manage childcare. Having the agreement in writing helped them maintain a consistent schedule without misunderstandings.

Plan for Breastfeeding or Pumping: If you plan to continue breastfeeding, discuss how you will manage this at work. Ensure there is a private space available for pumping and that your employer is aware of your needs. Planning for these practicalities can help reduce stress and make your return smoother.

By leveraging flexible work arrangements and ensuring all agreements are documented, you can create a work environment that supports your new role as a parent.


Understand and Adapt to Your Baby’s Needs

Every baby is unique, and their individual needs can significantly impact your return to work. Factors such as sleep patterns, breastfeeding, and separation anxiety vary from one baby to another and can change over time.

Adapting to Sleep Patterns: Babies’ sleep patterns can be unpredictable. If your baby is not yet sleeping through the night, consider how this might affect your workday. You may need to adjust your schedule to accommodate your baby’s sleep needs.

Managing Feeding Routines: Decide whether you will continue breastfeeding or switch to bottle feeding. If you choose to breastfeed, plan how you will manage pumping at work. Coordinate with your employer to ensure you have the necessary breaks and facilities.

Handling Separation Anxiety: Separation anxiety is a common issue for both parents and babies. Gradually introduce your baby to their childcare environment before your return to work. This gradual transition can help ease anxiety for both you and your baby.

By understanding and adapting to your baby’s changing needs, you can create a more manageable balance between work and parenting.

Explore non-traditional childcare options like, BubbaDesk

Choosing the right childcare is crucial for a smooth transition back to work. One innovative option that has gained popularity is BubbaDesk, Australia's leading coworking with childcare service.

What is BubbaDesk? BubbaDesk offers a unique solution by combining coworking spaces with onsite childcare. This setup is particularly suitable if you have flexible work arrangements, allowing you to maintain proximity to your child throughout the workday.

Advantages of BubbaDesk:

  • Care Ratios: BubbaDesk maintains a 4:1 care ratio across all ages, ensuring personalised attention for your child.
  • Routine Adherence: The facility follows your baby’s routine, supporting their sleep schedule, feeding times, and overall comfort.
  • Accessibility: You can pop in for cuddles and breastfeeding anytime, easing separation anxiety and fostering a stronger bond with your baby.
  • Community: BubbaDesk creates a supportive community of like-minded working professional parents, offering networking opportunities and peer support.
  • They use Comfy Koalas Eco Baby wipes!

Comparing Other Childcare Options:

  • Nanny: Ensure they have a Working With Children Check (WWC) and an up-to-date First Aid Certificate. Check references thoroughly and have a backup option for when they’re away or unwell.
  • Daycare/ Family Daycare: Book tours to visit facilities and have key criteria when comparing. Look for attentive carers with a low turnover rate, ask how they manage your baby’s routine, and consider how to continue breastfeeding. Trust your gut feeling and parental instinct.

Logistical Considerations: Factor in the timing for drop-offs and pick-ups. With BubbaDesk, these logistics are simplified since the childcare facility is integrated into your workspace, reducing commute times and daily stress.

Ease the transition: Start your childcare arrangements before returning to work to manage any potential exposure to illnesses without the added pressure of work responsibilities. This period also allows your baby to adjust to the new environment gradually.


Plan Financially for the Transition

Returning to work involves various financial considerations that need to be planned in advance.

Budget for Childcare Costs: Childcare costs have risen significantly, with a 9.3% increase over the past year. These expenses can be substantial, so it’s important to budget accordingly. Research any available subsidies or financial assistance programs that can help offset these costs. Top tip – did you know BubbaDesk is tax deductible? 

Additional Expenses: Consider additional expenses such as increased petrol costs for commuting to and from childcare. These small costs can add up and should be factored into your overall budget.

Financial Planning: Work with your partner to create a financial plan that accommodates the new expenses. Discuss how you will manage the additional costs and what sacrifices or adjustments might be necessary.

By planning financially, you can mitigate the stress of unexpected expenses and ensure that your return to work is financially sustainable.


Build a Support Network and Mentally Prepare

Having a strong support network and preparing yourself mentally for the transition are essential for a successful return to work.

Partner Support: If possible, have your partner arrange for flexibility in their job as well. Outline and agree on key responsibilities around the home, such as organising the baby’s bag for childcare. Open communication about stress and concerns can help alleviate pressure.

Mummy Mentor: Find a mentor who has been through a similar experience. They can provide invaluable advice, share their experiences, and offer emotional support. Having someone to turn to can make a significant difference in how you handle the transition.

Set Realistic Expectations: Understand that your priorities and capabilities may have shifted. Set realistic goals and be gentle with yourself if things don’t go as planned. It’s normal to feel different after having a baby, and adjusting to this new phase of life takes time.

Scenario Planning: In business, we plan for various scenarios. Apply this approach to your return to work. Have a Plan A, B, and C to manage different situations that may arise. This planning can reduce anxiety and help you feel more prepared.

Building a support network and mentally preparing for the transition can provide the foundation you need to balance work and parenting successfully.

Returning to work after having a baby is a significant transition that requires careful planning and support. By leveraging flexible work legislation, understanding your baby’s needs, choosing the right childcare like BubbaDesk, planning financially, and building a strong support network, you can create a smoother and more manageable return to work. Remember to be kind to yourself and embrace the journey, knowing that it’s okay to ask for help and make adjustments along the way.

Find out more about BubbaDesk

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