My daughter was born in May 2015 and I returned to work in September 2015 after taking 16 weeks of full paid maternity leave. The School was extremely supportive about my return to work and before the birth of my daughter arrangements were made so that I could use accrued annual leave to give a 4 day working a week for the first 8 months after returning to work. This is now working very well for me and has been a great help with returning to work.
Although I had only been away from the School for a short period time I found returning to work extremely difficult. The pressures of returning to a teaching only-position at the very start of a new academic session and being a first time mother with a very young baby were very challenging. I was worried about asking for help so soon after my return, but my colleagues were extremely sympathetic and steps were quickly taken to reduce my teaching load to ease me back into work a little more gently and increase the flexibility in my schedule. The School has been happy for me to use this increased flexibility to attend daytime activities with my daughter. Being able to take part in important bonding activities has proven invaluable for my wellbeing and has helped me mentally deal with returning to work so soon after giving birth.
The School have helped me to continue breastfeeding after returning to work by providing me with a fridge to store expressed milk and suitable facilities to express. More importantly, they have welcomed my family into the School and have made me feel extremely comfortable with having my daughter visit me at work to breastfeed (or even just pop in for a visit). The family-friendly attitude I have experienced in the School has particularly helped support my return to work and I believe the School should be highly praised for this.
I am also able to take advantage of the University childcare voucher scheme.