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How to Change Careers After You've Had a Baby

The arrival of your baby can sound the need for life changes, both at home and on the job. "Having a baby is already something brand new in your life, it might be tempting to keep things the same," says Elizabeth Johnson, a new mom from Lansing, Michigan, who, before her baby, worked as a busy, all-hours journalist. "On the other hand, your same old career might not fit in with a baby, so as long as you're making changes, this is the time to go whole hog."

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Assess Your New Needs

Your needs change as a mother and what you require from a career may change as well. "After kids, it was more important to have an 8-to-5 job," says Johnson. "It was harder to get a sitter for the evening or to drop what you're doing to go cover a story when you don't know whether you have someone to watch your child." You may also need a job that has greater flexibility and is more child-friendly than your current job. List what you need in terms of hours, flexibility, benefits and location.

Visualize Your Future

Susan Cooper, writing for Career Shifters.org, suggests using the energetic time during your pregnancy to analyze and plan your targets for a career switch. This can include assessing career interests, transferable job skills and your ideal work environment. Don't be too fixed in your vision, she says, so that you don't develop unrealistic expectations. While some elements of your job search will be the same as before you became a new mom, things may change in ways you can't anticipate, so you give yourself room for flexibility in your career vision. Paulette Light, writing for The Atlantic.com in 2013, says that pre-childbirth plans to return to work don't always happen as you intend.

Establish a Support Network

As a mom, working outside the home requires outside support. You'll need to develop care options such as day care, nannies, relatives or teaming up with other moms to share baby-sitting. You'll also need a support network that can help you make a career change. Talk with other moms in your new field. Johnson connected with others on online forums, moms who were able to give advice and support. "You can get perspective from them. Is the new profession family friendly or isn't it? Get a feel for it from the people who are already in the position you see yourself going into."

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Consider All Options

Returning to work after childbirth is exhausting, and adding a career change along with starting a new business makes the challenge even greater. Money editor Melissa Mack, writing for The New Daily.com, says that entrepreneurship works for moms with the skills and inclination to take on that challenge. While the hours may be as long -- or longer -- than with a conventional career, your own business may offer control, flexibility and fulfillment that's hard to achieve with working for someone else. Careers consultant Alexa Kerr, quoted in The Guardian.com in 2013, spoke of the importance of repackaging all of your job and motherhood skills. How you sell yourself ultimately affects your post-mom career transition.

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