24 Must-Have Products for Mothers Transitioning Back to Work

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GET INTO GEAR

The transition back to work after welcoming a baby is a hectic time, whether working from home, an office, or some other job site. Not only is it stressful separating from the baby while tending to professional responsibilities, but there's still a variety of tasks moms must juggle if they're the primary caregiver. Taking care of themselves -- so they have the energy to do it all and feel good -- is also key. The good news is, there are many products designed to make the balancing act easier.
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NURSING BRAS

Price: $16 | Buy it on Amazon
Among the clothing essentials for any new mom headed back to work is a nursing bra, whether it's for feeding a baby at home between emails and phone calls or pumping milk at work. There's a variety of options that are affordable and don't require sacrificing style. Venthy makes a women's comfort support maternity nursing bra that's luxuriously soft and available in a variety of colors.

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NURSING CAMISOLES

Price: $13 | Buy it on Amazon
Another clothing item designed to make life easier when juggling tasks, nursing camisoles typically offer an easy snap-open clip at the shoulder. Lamaze's maternity nursing camisole is available in a variety of colors and provides an alternative to nursing bras.

Photo credit: Courtesy of motherhood.com

LOOSE-FITTING WORK CLOTHES

Price: Starting at around $20 | Buy it from Motherhood.com
The first few months after giving birth are a time of transition for the body. Loose-fitting clothing will not only keep you comfortable, but hide areas you may still be self-conscious about. Motherhood makes a Bounceback clothing line for the post-pregnancy belly, including compression and power mesh in jeans, leggings, nursing tanks, and more.

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SLIMMING CLOTHING

Price: $25 | Buy it from UpSpring
If you're working on taking off the baby weight while transitioning back to the office, slimming clothing may be a new best friend. Upspring makes high-waist panties with moderate medical-grade compression and a bamboo charcoal fiber that contains therapeutic properties meant to increase blood flow, and metabolism.

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BREAST PUMP

Price: $230 | Buy it on Amazon
Breast pumps are one of the pricier items moms must invest in. The Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump, designed for use several times a day, comes in a handy backpack and can run on AA batteries or be plugged in. Medela also makes a low-budget manual breast pump ($28.50) for those away from their baby only occasionally.

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INSULATED FREEZER BAG

Price: $22 | Buy it on Amazon
Moms pumping milk at work will need a way to keep it cool while bringing supply back home. PackIt's freezable baby bottle cooler for breast milk does not require additional spending on ice or gel packs to stay chilled for hours -- there's freezable gel built in.

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GEL PADS

Price: $9.50 | Buy it on Amazon
Gel pads are another item to keep handy. These soothing pads help heal dried, cracked skin. Lansinoh makes pads designed to provide instant cooling for nursing mothers. They're made with a fabric backing to help protect dry skin from rubbing against clothing. Medela makes similar pads ($8 at Target).

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MILK STORK MILK DELIVERY

Price: Starting at $139 | Buy it from Milk Stork
Get milk home from anywhere in the United States with the help of a unique and ingenious company started in 2015 by a mom managing 7-month-old twins and a business trip. Milk Stork ships a cooler to a hotel room and back via FedEx Priority Overnight. The containers provide at least 72 hours of refrigeration from when they are activated.

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MAMAVA PUMP ON THE GO APP

Finding a clean, safe place to pump when on the go can be challenging. Mamava (which has private pumping pods in airports, arenas, and other spots nationwide) offers a free app making it easier to find nearby pumping- and breastfeeding-friendly locations. It allows users to share favorite spots with other mothers and provides soothing sounds (think ocean waves) or guided meditations to help slow down and relax for a productive session.
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BREAST MILK STORAGE BAGS

Price: $9 for 100 | Buy it on Amazon
Once milk is pumped, it must be stored somewhere. Sandra Gordon, owner of Babyproductsmom.com, suggests Lansinoh's breast milk storage bags, which have pour spouts and double zipper seal, good for storing and freezing. The bags were designed to lay flat for efficient freezer packing.

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WAVHELLO SOUNDBUB

Price: $30 | Buy it from WavHello
For moms working from home who need help getting their baby to sleep, WavHello's SoundBub can be hooked right onto a crib (or car seat) and plays music through any Bluetooth-enabled device -- or white noise to help baby rest. For moms away at the office, SoundBub connects directly to a free app for recorded messages or songs for the little one. SoundBub can be used to play recordings of mom reading a book or singing songs while mom is away.

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CAFFEINE WATER

Price: $21 for 12 | Buy it on Amazon
New moms get notoriously little sleep, and powering through a day of back-to-back meetings after a sleepless night is little fun. Avitae Caffeine Water provides help staying awake as well as hydrated, which is important for breastfeeding and health in general. The caffeine in the water -- even flavored versions have no sugar or calories -- is derived from green coffee beans.

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AMAZON FAMILY MEMBERSHIP

Signing up for Amazon Family adds serious discounts on baby essentials to the convenience of online shopping, such as 20 percent off on diapers and baby food. The service also provides advice from experts, recommendations, and exclusive deals and coupons -- all making life easier when there's little time to shop and big work deadlines looming. Signing up brings a free baby welcome box full of travel and sample-size products.
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BABY FOOD POUCHES

Price: Between $1 and $1.80 a pouch
Stock up on convenient baby food pouches from makers such as Earth's Best and Happy Family to ensure a baby gets nutritious food. The pouches, which don't need to be refrigerated, allow some babies and toddlers to eat without help and are available in organic varieties packed with fruits and vegetables -- everything from beets and bananas to chickpeas and kale.

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MEAL PLANS

Between juggling work and raising a baby, eating healthy can fall by the wayside. Jenn Folsom, who's working on a book filled with advice for working mothers, suggests developing a meal plan, which may mean signing up for a service such as Hello Fresh to do the meal planning and food shopping and delivery. Users can order meals when they want and skip meals when they're not needed. The family plan is less than $9 for each person, providing three recipes each week.
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EYE BRIGHTENING PATCHES

Price: $55 for five | Buy it on Nerium
Another secret of overtired moms far and wide. Nerium, known for its focus on products that target aging, makes Eye-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches that provide hydration for an instant "eye lift." No. 7 makes Instant Results Revitalising Hydrogel Eye Masks ($15 for five).

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WI-FI ENABLED MONITOR

Price: $114 | Buy it at Target
The iBaby Monitor M6T is a well-reviewed video and audio system that connects to a smartphone or tablet to check on a baby from anywhere. The monitor turns 360 degrees and tilts 110 degrees to get a look at an entire room, streams in full HD, and provides a clear picture even at night.

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SLOW COOKER (OR INSTANT POT)

Price: Starting at $35 | Buy it on Amazon
A favorite hack among busy and working moms everywhere: Making dinner prep a breeze with a slow cooker, which cooks while you work and leaves only one pot to clean. Even a top-reviewed, 6-quart slow cooker can be cheap, and some can sauté and steam food too. Instant Pot pressure cookers are even more versatile and can cook fast as well as slow, but will likely cost more.

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AUTOMATIC BABY ROCKER

Price: $82 | Buy it on Amazon
For when you're working at home but can't personally rock a baby to sleep, there are plenty of automatic baby rockers designed to help. The Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing gives a gentle, side-to-side swaying motion, mimicking the feeling of being in a parent's arms. It's also compact enough to move from room to room, or from home to office.

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PROJECT NURSERY PARENT + BABY SMARTBAND

Price: $80 | Buy it at Bed, Bath & Beyond's Buy Buy Baby
Think of this as the FitBit of the mom world. The Project Nursery Parent + Baby Smartband is a wearable device for parents that allows for scheduling and tracking events such as diaper changes, nap times, feedings, a pumping schedule, and doctor's appointments. It tracks steps, calories, and distance too, and can sync with a smartphone to send alerts.

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RISE: POSITIVE SELF AFFIRMATIONS FOR WORKING MOMS

Many mothers struggle with the thought of returning to work after having a child. Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, says the free Android app Rise: Positive Self Affirmations for Working Moms can help. The user-friendly app focuses on the difficulties working moms face daily, including stress, guilt, and anxiety, offering affirmations for each phase of the day.
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BURP CLOTHS

Price: $11 for four | Buy it on Amazon
Protect business suits with burp cloths. They can be invaluable, great for wiping up spit-up or small spills. Parents can buy several packs and keep them in a tote bag, around the house, in the car, and anywhere else they might feed and burp a baby -- though frugal parents can also use other fabrics in place of the cloths, or make their own.

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ACTIVITY CENTERS

Price: $105 | Buy it on Amazon
These ingenious creations will keep a baby happily occupied during conference calls, email writing, and more. There are activity centers for nearly every budget. The Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo is a top-rated choice that lets a baby jump and bounce and has lights and zoo animal sounds triggered by motion. The seat rotates 360-degrees to allow access to everything, and a built in teether toy and tray for snacks.

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AN EASY-TO-MAINTAIN HAIRCUT

This is a purchase, not a product -- but a valuable bit of advice nonetheless. Simplifying a routine will be crucial, and one of the best ways is getting an easy-to-maintain haircut. Return to high-maintenance locks when the kids are older.

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