Congratulations - your bub is on the way! From preparing your little one’s room to stocking up on all that necessary baby gear, we know your to-do list is long. If you or your partner is pregnant, you’ve likely started having conversations about parental leave. As a team of parents, we’ve been through this and are here to show you the ropes. Read on for our parental leave checklist so you can transition with ease into that wonderfully special time with your newborn.
Consider your finances
Depending on your employer’s policies and the country you live in, you will receive a different amount of maternity or paternity/ partner leave. To avoid any unnecessary stressors or financial pressures, make sure that you’re fully informed about how many weeks you or your partner is entitled to and how much paid/unpaid time you are granted. Depending on your financial goals, your expenses and your overall financial situation, your savings preparation will be different. We recommend that you:
- Know what you are entitled to
- Familiarise yourself with your government benefits
- Take into account childcare costs
- Save up
Create a handover plan
Once you’ve established the timing for your parental leave and communicated it to your colleagues, managers or direct reports, it's time to make a game plan. Ensure that there’s a system in place to get coverage for your core responsibilities. Planning benefits everyone and we recommend that you have this established well before your due date, so people have time to adjust to their new workload and responsibilities.
Create a plan for your return to work
Returning to work is always an adjustment – whether it's been a 2-week stint overseas or a career pause. But with a new little person to care for, it’s a new undertaking altogether. Be sure to have open and ongoing conversations with your employer so there’s no last-minute surprises; what will your reintegration look like? Will the hours be the same? Has the position changed at all? Of course, it's your employer's responsibility to keep you informed of any changes to your role so that when you do return to work, both your expectations are aligned. Remember that it will take some time to adjust to your new schedule, so be kind to yourself! Setting a new routine is a real adjustment, so remind yourself to look back and celebrate how far you have come.
Set expectations and boundaries
Make sure that you clearly communicate with the necessary people about what you are and are not okay with. If you’re happy to be looped in on emails and offer some guidance, set clear boundaries about what situations this applies to. On the other hand, if you’d like your colleagues to leave you alone, let them know. Different set-ups work for different people, so be sure to do what works best for you and your family. There’s no right answer here – all you need to do is communicate.
Have a back-up plan
Your family, your well-being and your mental health always comes first. At LittleOak, we’re big fans of flexible, family-friendly work arrangements—we're all parents, after all! If your employers' policies don’t prioritise this in the same way, we recommend doing a trial run with your new daycare or babysitter in advance. It’s helpful when your bub is already familiar with their caretaker and will make that drop off or handover smoother. Be sure to talk to your partner about what happens if daycare is closed, if the babysitter can’t make it, or if anything unexpected pops up. Life happens, so make sure you have a plan B.
To all you new mums and dads out there, this is a beautiful and exiting time. However we also know how stressful it can be, so we’d like to remind you that you are not alone. There are always people to lean on - and we’ll always be here to help where we can. Congratulations again on your new bub!
LittleOak has been nourishing children for many years and feeds millions of infants, babies and children across the globe each and every day, in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. In the US, we're proud to have our FDA compliant Toddler Milk available for families.