Advice needed re going back to work/benefits


My little girl is 4weeks old so I'm not jumping the gun but want to be prepared for when I go back to work.

I'm having 12months off maternity leave because my work are really good. Me and my fiance both work 40hours plus a week full time and have since we were 16.

Because I'm new to all this stuff and people keep telling me different things I'm just after people's own experiences or advice:

Is it better to do a certain amount of hours in work than paying for childcare all week and also to do with benefits?

Don't get me wrong I've never claimed a single benefit in my life and enjoy working but not sure what situation will be better financially and to have a good work/life balance

I'm in the UK as well if that helps

Thanks xx