What Is the Earliest You Have Returned Back to Work/college After Giving Birth?

Updated on May 12, 2008
A.C. asks from Rochester, NY
10 answers

For 2 years I have been trying to get accepted into my college's Dental Hygiene Program. In the meantime I've been taking courses toward my degree.

My husband and I decided that we wouldn't let my unacceptance get in the way of continuing our family. However, I recently found out that I have finally been accepted! We are also expecting our 3rd daughter! I am due August 21st the Fall semester starts September 2nd.

I have experienced a similar situation before; my 2nd daughter was born in the middle of a semester. It didn't effect my school at all. I was back in class 4 days after her birth, and only missed 1 class. The difference was being in school 6hrs/wk vs. the upcoming 30hrs/wk.

I was working PT & recently quit my job to focus on school/family. Still, I'm getting nervous. I knew this could happen going into it, and I was fine. It is only now that I am having doubts in myself. I am hoping they are due to my fluctuating hormones.

-Have others Mother's experienced a similar situation?
-What is the earliest you have returned to work/school?
-How did you make it work?

Also, I plan to exclusively breastfeed, and am pretty adamant about it. I would also love any helpful advice other breastfeeding moms may have.

One more thing to note: The Dental Hygiene degree is a very competitive, high-demand program. You only get accepted one time, and have to make it count. I was a dental assistant for 5+ years, and this is the career path that I have chosen to follow.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your wonderful input and ideas!!! I have gained so much courage by reading through your responses. Many of my doubts have disappeared! As the time to return to school/deliver our baby gets closer, and my nervousness returns, I am going to re-read through all of your advice and support, and I know I will feel better.

Thank you all for your wonderful breastfeeding advice as well! Even though I have exclusively breastfed my first two daughters, I think we forget how we ever managed it. I am definitely going to use advice like pumping one breast while I nurse on the other, and bringing a lunch box and ice pack with me so I can store my milk while at school.

Like some of you, my husband and I have no family support. We take care of everything on our own, and do feel a sense of accomplishment because of that. My husband is more than I could ever ask for. He is completely hands-on with our children, and is supportive in whatever decisions I make. I know that when the time comes for me to return to school, he will conquer all of the responsibilities at home with our 3 girls. He is the sole provider for our family, and he manages all of our bills, so I feel very grateful that he has taken on that burden.

Some of the comments that have really stood out to me are:
"be flexible and forgive yourself if things don't go as planned", "where there is a will there is a way", " reminding yourself that it is a temporary sacrifice for a greater gain later", "Inspiration comes from desperation"

Thank you again for all of your encouraging words!

More Answers



answers from New York on

In my case I was able to go back to school after two weeks. I had no childbirth complications, but needless to say I was fighting with myself because I thought I shoudld have been at home. But going to school, as oposed to working, gave me a lot of time to be with the baby. I am graduating now from law school and didn't have to take a semester off, only those two weeks. Having the baby and returning to school wasn't the hard part, the hard part was keeping up with the school work, specialy if you and your husband don't have too many or any family members or close family friends that could help around. I'm proud to say that I did it, but it took lots of hard work , sacrifice and tons of help from my husband. We also made our schedules so we where the ones taking care of him, but there were times where I got sick or had finals and we could have used extra help. I had my son when I was in my second year and have exclusively breastfed him until now. this is my first son, so I know that your expertise will come in handy to make things even easier. Don't doubt yourself for a second. You shouldn't let your pregnancy stop you, you already know what it takes to be a mother and this will not be easy but will certanly be doable for you. There where many other women in my law school that did it, some or most of them took three weeks instead of two. Just make sure that either your profesors or classmates are sending the work to you while you are out so you don't fall behind. And feel free to contact me for help, you can do it!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on


Good Luck! You are so lucky you know what you want to do! AND you are willing to do what you need to achieve it! AND you have a loving supportive husband who is giving you all the help you need!

If you need any suggestions for how to make your days smoother and more routine for everyone, try www.flylady.net

If you were able to make it 4 days post-partum last time, this shouldn't be any different - but plan for it, just in case. Assignments ahead of time, etc.

So nice! Good luck and Congratulations!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

What determination you have! I am so happy for you and your blooming family. I was accepted for graduate work just as I got pregnant with our first. I started that Sept. being 5 months along. I found the course work more challenging than I could handle and stopped. I haven't been back yet, this was in 2002. So I have to hand it to you for your determination. My third child came along two weeks early, so there's always the possibility that the due date may be off a little, giving you more time before school starts. You and your husband have what it takes to reach your dreams. Best of luck and Happy Mother's Day. -C. R.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Congratulations on your wonderful family and upcoming new addition as well as following your dreams! I had a similar situation when I was pregnant with my first child. I was working full time and going to school at night to complete a graduate degree program. My daughter arrived during the middle of the fall semester. I was on maternity leave from work and missed only one class. I returned to school 2 weeks after she was born and was able to finish out the semester before returning to work. The last semester was tough but I rearranged my work schedule to accommodate my daughter's needs. My husband and mother-in-law were awesome during this time so I could finish school. I too breastfed and brought my pump everywhere. I was determined that my daughter would get only breast milk. The saying is true that "where there is a will there is a way". I was able to pump and store the milk for her. I would say the most important thing is to have support at home while completing school. Also reminding yourself that it is a temporary sacrifice for a greater gain later. I remember wanting to quit school so badly (in my last semester after 3-1/2 years!) but I couldn't just throw all of that hard work away. I wish you and your family well and Happy Mother's Day!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi A.,
Bravo to you! Four days after my daughter's birth I was still in the hospital! HAHA

I went back to work 8 weeks after since I had a c-section but wasn't yet eligible for Short Term Disability at work. It was hard. I was constantly tired, had total mommy brain and unfortunately it's just my husband and I, no family around to help. She was in daycare before she was 2 months old. Wanna talk about mama guilt...I also was BFing exclusively until she was about 6 months old and then went until she was 10 months. I just took my 15 min breaks and lunches to pump and made sure I had a stock frozen in case anything happened. I didn't have access to a fridge so I used a lunch bag where I could but one of those freeze packs and a small hand held pump. It worked great.

Best of luck to you! I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up (and I'm almost 30!) :-)


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on

I'm actually going through the same thing right now. I'm going to school to be a vet and just had my 1st baby on feb 16th. What I found worked for me was I took all the classes that I could online, so I didn't have to do the work at a specific time and was able to work around the demanding schedule of a newborn. I am returning to half regular classes and half online over the summer to make it a smoother transition. Then in the fall I plan to go back to regular classes full time again. I also was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA this semester, when everyone told me it was impossible to go to school with a newborn. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it!!! If you really want this you can make it happen. It might just take a slight adjustment, like online classes, or going part time, for a semester to keep you on track :)

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answers from Syracuse on

After my first son was born I went back to work 3 weeks later...for 2 reasons, I made more $ than my spouse and he(my husband) had never even held a baby and I figured if I didn't leave him alone he never would feel he could be responsible for him. I also exclusively nursed/ pumped. My best advice is if your schedule allows it go home and nurse or have baby brought up to you once a day...if you can...I was fortunate to live close and my husband could bring him up...it also made the day go faster. The other must do is pump one breast as you are nursing baby on the other and freeze...stock pile as soon as you get home...the thing about nursing is you never really know how much they are using at a time. My last and most important piece of advice is be flexible and forgive yourself if things don't go as planned...if you have bitten off more than you can do, quit...if you start to dry up because you can only pump once during a long day at work, stop nursing...don't feel guilty about it...things don't always go as we would like them to...I am a mom of 5 boys and I nursed all of them but I had to stop at 12 weeks with my third son because his older brother(who was 16 months) was into everything and I couldn't pull baby off everytime I needed to rescuse #2 from a death defying act...I struggled with the decision but we were all so much more relaxed and stress free when I did stop...it doesn't mean I love him less because I nursed everyone else for a year or longer...it's just what was best for all at that time. Goodluck and Congrats!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I was back in Summer school two weeks after I gave birth to my son and that was with the help of my younger cousin who stayed with him. If it is for you and the benefit of your family and you really feel like you want this, then make it happen!!! Inspiration comes from desperation!! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

i've heard it is difficult to work and exclusively BF... but if you are determined you CAN be successful!

check out www.kellymom.com for tips and ideas.

good luck! HTH




answers from New York on

Try to defer admission.

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