Today's a fun episode. I want to talk about my maternity leave plan and what I'm doing to take time off of dietitian business coaching during my fourth trimester. So this is a very exciting time, really excited to deliver a baby boy. It's our first child. But I want to talk a little bit about what this means for the business and what is the fourth trimester Now. We've had a lot of our clients come on air and talk about business and how they've been able to make adjustments through their business when they deliver. In today's episode, I'm talking about the journey through my lens as the business owner of Dietitian Boss.
So what is maternity leave and fourth trimester? Maternity leave in America, which is not the same as other countries, does refer to a period of time that a working mother takes off from her job following the birth or adoption of a child. And this time this maternity leave is designed to provide new mothers like me with an opportunity to recover from childbirth, bond with their newborn and care for their child during the initial months of life. And it's also crucial for the well-being of the mother and the child for a lot of hormonal reasons and you know, when possible, spending time bonding with a child is really important. Now, in the United States, maternity leave policies and regulations do widely vary they vary from state to state and they're not really as comprehensive as other countries and we don't have federal laws mandating paid maternity leave either. And the Family and Medical Leave Act, also called the FNLA, does provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protection leave for specific areas, including the birth or adoption of a child, but it's unpaid and it's not accessible to all workers and, of course, if you own your own business, like me, it's completely different. So I've had to plan a lot to make this work, and planning for a child and maternity leave has been a long time coming for this business, because it's been the reason I designed this business here at Dietitian Boss was so that I could have flexibility that my dietitian business, when I did fully in-person work, did not afford right, meaning that when I did teaching and speaking in workshops and all the work I did in New York City as a dietitian, I knew that wasn't sustainable for when I had a family and that motivated me to start an online business. And then I'm so happy to be able to have helped so many women dietitians have children and be able to grow their business and manage their business around having children.
So what I want to talk about today is what we've done and what the fourth trimester means. So fourth trimester is when the three months after you deliver the child right, and that means pretty much maternity leave, which, for some people, they choose to take a shorter or a longer maternity leave. I am taking time off and I've set up a lot of systems in the business to operate without me, and I've done this strategically. So let's talk a little bit about maternity leave and business ownership. Maternity leave as a business owner is different than you being an employee, and it involves understanding and managing the leave taken by an employee who is expecting or has recently given birth, and so it can depend on, of course, how I want to give maternity leave for employees of this business and how I want to take my own maternity leave. So there are legal obligations, company policies that we have in the employee handbook, planning for absence, which is something I'll talk about more today. Financial planning, because there can be a dip in pay if, depending on how you've structured your business model, support and flexibility right who's going to be there to manage some of the aspects of the business that I otherwise manage. And then there are also reintegration is an issue, meaning the plan for either an employee's return, if they deliver a child, or my return, in this case being the business owner, after I deliver the child and bond with the child. Their communication policies how do we have open and empathetic communication between me and the staff when I'm off? If they need something, how do I support them and train them so they can solve problems independently while I'm away? And then there's the overall well-being of the staff members, right, whether it's the employee getting the maternity leave or me, in this case, the business owner. So there's recognition of the importance of having some type of maternity leave to support the well-being of the family, right? Not just that the mom, but that the child and the entire family. And so supporting staff members or in this case me during this time can contribute to more job satisfaction and increased productivity, right.
And this can also be a really complex and sensitive issue, because if, let's say, you deliver a child but you're hard pressed for money or you're struggling financially or you're understaffed, you might have to do things you didn't otherwise want to do, and so that can cause a lot of issues. So and I don't want to judge, because we all have different situations and things come up in the economy and there's all kinds of reasons why, as a mother delivering or recovering from delivery, things might not go according to plan right and they might not be exactly how you want them to go. So I would say that if you are listening to this and you want to plan for a maternity leave, I'm going to share some action steps and then I'll talk about a little bit of a story about what I'm doing here. I'm a big planner so, like I said, I've been planning this for a while, so I'll share a little bit about what I've done and how it's worked well. But let me first tell you some tactical steps of what you can do if and when you're planning for maternity leave in your business. So firstly, understand legal requirements, and this goes if you have employees or if you're just thinking about yourself.
Review any policies that you might have or do you want to create for your company. If you have an employee handbook or any kind of processes written down about how leave works, paid or unpaid, determine the duration that you're going to take and how the compensation will work. So some business owners will allocate monies ahead of time to pay themselves during that time that they take off. That's one way of doing it. So you just have to think about how compensation will work for you and what your needs are with your family at that time.
And then communication policies are really important. So how do you want your team if you have a team or your clients to communicate with you during this time? So that might require updated contracts with clients, further communication, additional training with your staff, and then you also need to anticipate any staffing needs. So if you do have staff, what will happen if they need something that they can't solve without you during that temporary time? Will you hire somebody who is a manager or will you step in in some capacity, and how will that look? Of course, financial planning associated with the costs, and then support and flexibility for remote work, which is something that's already integrated with what we do. I guess that's if you were to run a brick and mortar practice and then we have cross training, so that's helping people understand other roles and responsibilities to support your leave, preparing for your return. So what adjustments might need to be made if you reintegrate slowly, documenting a plan, which is really important. That can include policies, budget communication, staffing arrangements and having policies in place that are organized so that people know where to look If they need help, and then you can also seek legal advice if needed, depending on how robust your business is. If you do have employees, you might want to seek some legal counsel. We do have a team lawyer listed on the dietitian resources page of our website at dietitian bosscom. If you feel like you want to seek legal advice beyond this episode, right, because I'm not qualified to give legal advice, but we do have a team lawyer, who's amazing, who can help you out.
So the fourth trimester is the period immediately following childbirth If you're not familiar with that term and it typically encompasses the first three months after a baby is born, and this is really important time, right, and it's a phase that's characterized by a lot of adjustments for both the newborn and the new parent and, of course, particularly the mother in this case, me and so I think that if you own a business and you have staff that deliver or clients that deliver children, or you yourself are delivering children, it's important to have this conversation and understand what's included in this process. To honor the fourth trimester for the mother and her family. So here's a brief overview of what happens during this time. There's the physical recovery. So the mom's body is going through a process of physical recovery and that includes healing, depending on how the you know, how the birth was at, natural, cesarean, etc.
Postpartum bleeding, body's adjustment to hormone postpartum is pretty common. So if the mom is feeling depression, there is what suggests it is rest, proper nutrition, adequate hydration, following medical advice, gentle exercise. But again, it depends on what's recommended by the health care provider and any pain relief, that that is recommended from the health care provider. Then there's infant care, right, so newborns require round the clock care. So thinking about what the support system looks like for feeding Are you doing breast bottle? Both there's diaper changes, there's comfort and safety, and then there's a feeding schedule, regular pediatric checkups, understanding and recognizing hunger cues and signs of discomfort. So any of the pediatric dieticians listening today, your experts in this area, and then seeking support if and when needed, from health care providers, lactation consultants or experts that might be able to support you during this time.
Now there's emotional and psychological well-being. That is a huge area of concern during this time because of the emotional challenges and that can include mood swings, exhaustion, anxiety. Some people experience postpartum depression, thank you. I don't remember the stats, but it's actually more common than you would think. Seeking emotional support from healthcare professional support groups if you do have friends and family can really help during this time of heightened emotions.
Then there's sleep deprivation. This is something I have to look forward to. That means fragmented sleep due to the newborn's feeding schedule and wakefulness. That sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety. Every mom is different. Every family support system can be different. This, of course, can impact how you adjust during this time period and how soon you do or don't want to come back to work and what that looks like. Nighttime routines, sharing that time responsibilities with a partner if possible, can be really helpful, but not everybody has that opportunity. I think it's important to document what this can look like and think through what your plans are and make sure you have medical support as much as possible.
Then there's the bonding and attachment phase. That requires skin to skin with the baby and the mom and the baby and the dad, cuddling, frequent interactions Spending quality time with the baby is really important and responding to their needs, learning about their hunger, cues. That can strengthen the parent-to-infant bond and help with hormones. Then, of course, nutrition and hydration. Proper nutrition is vital for breastfeeding mother, also just for general well-being.
Maintaining health not only physical but emotional health during infants' growth and development can't be understated. The suggestions for that would be balanced diet, hydration and prescribed supplementations as per a decade from your doctor, consulting with healthcare provider for anything that needs to be specific. Social support is important because isolation can make you feel lonely, thinking about what will my day-to-day look like. Are there other moms? Are there parenting groups, online communities? Maybe you have family support? What does that structure look like and what can you test to help support your needs? Everyone's different with what they might need to mitigate loneliness. Then, of course, postpartum checkups. That means following up with your healthcare provider and monitoring physical recovery and baby's growth and addressing any concerns that come up for baby, mom or family. So keeping scheduled appointments is important and also causes time and energy to make sure you're attending all of those appointments. So this is a unique and challenging time that has a lot of emotions and obviously legal ramifications when it comes to taking time off.
So I'm curious for the listeners, for those of you who have taken maternity leave and run a business. What does that look like for you? So for me, I am taking off at least a month and a half. I'm going to come back slowly, reintegrate into the business, but for a month and a half after I deliver, the team that we have here at Dietitian Boss will be able to support our customers. Of course we have Coach Heather who helps run the programs and I am pausing my private nutrition and coaching clients. Some of them will work with Coach Heather, some of them will wait for me until I return and when I come back I will come back to a light workload and reintegrate slowly. But I will come back to some client facing work and some of my private clients do understand that if I need a little bit longer, then I'll take it and that has been addressed on an individual basis and through contracts to make sure that everything is fair. Now I'm really lucky to have Coach Heather here on the team and she's not only a great help but our clients love her. So having her here supports the curriculum and the growth of our clients and what their needs are here to help you, you Dietitians, grow your business. We also, on the back end, have an operations manager who manages the business and the metrics and the staff, and then we have virtual assistants who do the editing and make sure that there are client communication is taken care of and that tasks are done on a regular basis. We're working on projects to grow the business, etc. We have a team. We have a team helping support the back end of the business.
What I've done specifically, in addition to taking time off and having a reintegration plan, having documentation, providing additional training, cross training staff what I've also done is plan ahead more than I've ever done. So I planned all of 2024 YouTube in 2023. I was able to do it mostly during my second trimester. I did end up filming a little bit into my third trimester for YouTube to finish up with Dietitian Boss for 2024. They're not all edited yet, but they are all recorded and we have them housed in our project management system. So our editor has a schedule and she's actually edited many of the YouTube videos for 2024 now for at least the first quarter, and hopefully she'll be done with editing the videos for 2024 for YouTube for Dietitian Boss by the end of this year. So that helps us. We've never been that ahead ever and our goal is being three months ahead for 90% of the time with our podcast, and so that helps me.
I'm recording this in 2023. This podcast episode and that helps me when I come back, when I reintegrate back from maternity leave. I have less content that I need to make in real time and, of course, I will still be recording podcast episodes that are fresh, but I'll be combining fresh episodes with episodes that I've recorded a month or two before they've been aired, and I'm going to test if that really does help me with decreasing some of the workload so that I don't feel pressured Now. Of course, I don't know how exactly I'll feel when I come back and reintegrate after maternity leave, but I want to create the most seamless transition possible. So, in training my staff to be independent, in helping our staff turn into problem solvers, in having Heather, our coach, who's been here for years, feel autonomous in her work and help her grow her reputation throughout the business, all help me step back, and so it's a huge success for me to step back and still have the business running and meet the needs of the clients and have our staff solve problems independently, but that doesn't mean I'm leaving them alone. Of course, there's been a lot of work and training to get to this point.
I do want to share that I designed this business in mind for flexibility with a family. So the reason I started this business is so that I did not have to continue to work seven jobs in person without flexibility. I wanted to be able to have children and start a family and live life on my terms. So I'm excited for this. You know to reintegrate after maternity leave, but I do want to tell you it's taken a lot of time and energy to get things set the way that they are now, and we show you how to do that too. So if you want to learn how to make maternity leave work for you based on your schedule, your family, your offer, your business model, I invite you to join the library, where we have resources, a curriculum and live calls to support you through your unique business journey. We have four different stages, so no matter where you are in your journey whether you're just starting growing or you're scaling your business we'll be able to support you through your unique journey to live a flexible life on your terms.