Busy professional women often wonder how they will handle becoming busy working mothers. There are plenty of women in the workforce who do balance career and family. It takes some extra planning and attention, but it can be done. Today’s companies are more family-friendly than ever.

Here are things to consider.

Wait to share the news.

It is customary to wait to tell your employer you are pregnant until the 12-week mark, after which you clothes may begin to feel snug. As long as the pregnancy does not interfere with your ability to work, there is no harm in keeping quiet.

Check consignment stores for inexpensive and stylish professional maternity clothes.

Maternity clothes are only worn for six months or so. They’re usually in pretty good shape once a mother no longer needs them. The cash you save can be used to have some fun in the baby section of the consignment store!

If you think you would like to breastfeed, take a breastfeeding class.

You may have already been told that there is a learning curve with breastfeeding, and it is best to prepare so that the two of you get the hang of it as soon as you can.

The breastfeeding class is particularly important for working mothers. The lactation consultant leading the class is a treasure trove of information about breast pumps and maintaining milk supply after returning to work.

Find out your company’s policies regarding maternity leave and pumping during work.

This information will be outlined in your employee handbook. Sometimes those are tough to navigate, so your HR representative can help you find the information you need about taking time off and pumping when you return.

Start thinking about childcare now.

Between daycare centers, in-home nannies, family care, and workplace daycare centers, there is a lot to consider when deciding which childcare option best suits your family. Talk to friends, family and co-workers about what works for them, and start setting up appointments to tour or interview. You can also ask your doctor or midwife for childcare information.

If a daycare center works best, choose one as soon as possible.

Often, daycare waiting lists take as long to get through as gestation. It is not uncommon for daycares to have “Unborn Baby Smith” in line for openings months down the line. Remember, your decision is not in stone, and you can change your mind later.

Find other working mothers to talk to.

You will have easy days, and you will have hard days. It helps to talk to other working mothers about what you are going through. Simply knowing you are not alone can help you through the transition.

Think about how you want to structure your return.

Do you want to pick up right where you left off? Are there flex-time options? Can you afford to go part-time? Would you want to take a different role upon return? Many employers will openly discuss your options with you.

Re-evaluate your employee benefits.

With a baby on the way, you may want to change your health insurance plan or take advantage of health savings accounts, education savings accounts, life insurance, and other things you may have skipped when you first filled out your new-hire paperwork.

Most companies can make changes as you request them or will make changes during open-enrollment periods that occur once or twice per year.

Plan something fun and relaxing.

Third-trimester exhaustion on top of work responsibilities can really wipe a mama out. Find a way to pamper yourself before baby arrives – whether it’s a massage, a pedicure, a weekend away or an afternoon at the coffee shop with a stack of books. Do something for you, because relaxation times will be a little harder to arrange once the little one arrives.

Physicians and Midwives, an Advantia Health Practice

Physicians and Midwives is a unique collaborative practice you won’t find anywhere else. We have 5 offices for your convenience all across Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, North Arlington, Mt. Vernon, Kingstowne, and Woodbridge. If you would like to be listened to, as well as cared for, then look no further.