Maternity leave is time off work to care for your new baby. Maternity leave gives you time to:
Recover after the birth
Establish your milk production
Develop a good breastfeeding relationship with your baby
The length of time given for a paid maternity leave varies in each company. You may be able to extend your maternity leave by taking up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Know your rights under the U.S. Department of Labor's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Ask your employer to make sure you know the date you must return to work under FMLA.
In addition to maternity leave, many women explore other choices. You may be able to arrange with your employer to:
Return to work part-time at first, or long-term
Work from home
These choices help both the employer who keeps a skilled employee and the employee who has more time with her baby.
TIP: When planning your return to work, ask if you can start your first week back on a Wednesday or a Thursday. This way, you will have a short week to test out. And you will then have the weekend to work out any problems.