Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bringing Baby to Work (Part 2): Tips to Make it Work

In today’s post we conclude our series on bringing your baby to work. Last week, we provided a list of issues to address when deciding whether bringing your baby with you to work is right for your family. If after these considerations, bringing your child with you is the best option, then you will want to consider the following tips on how to balance the ever precarious see-saw of employment and parenting at the same time. As you may know, I was able to bring both of my daughters with me to work when they were infants. Today, we are sharing some tips from our experience of having my daughters in the office over the last 3 years.

  • You may feel like you aren’t giving 100% attention to your job or your baby at all times. THIS IS NORMAL. Even if your baby was at day care, you’d still be thinking about her while separated. To achieve a sense of balance, I try to spend a few minutes just playing with Charlotte several times each day and when she’s napping I work on my most important tasks. That way I am giving both my work and my daughter one-on-one attention at various points through the day.
  • There will be days when you get a lot done and others when you don’t. I have found that making a list of my tasks helps a lot. Every morning, I write everything I have to do, even the smallest tasks, on a piece of paper and cross each item off as it is completed. For me, having the piece of paper right in front of me keeps me focused and seeing items crossed off makes me feel I accomplished something.
  • Having a flexible work schedule makes it much easier. When Charlotte was younger, she didn’t mind being in the office all day, but now that she’s getting more mobile and social, I have found that she can handle being in the office for only about 5 hours before she has a meltdown. To make it easier on her (and on me and my coworkers), I have been leaving the office a few hours early and continue working from home while she naps in her crib. There have been many days when she needs my full attention, so on these days, I just stop working until my husband gets home and then start working again after dinner. There are also days when I have work deadlines and I can’t be distracted. On these days, my husband stays home or I ask a friend to babysit.
  • Like we’ve mentioned many times, babies love routines. Establishing work-time routines may be beneficial for both you and your baby. For example, you can feed her in the same place each time, take a walk during lunch, and aim for naps at the same time each day. While you might not be able to stick to the routines 100% of the time, trying to keep some things the same will help your baby know what to expect, and can help you plan your day better.
  • Keep duplicate baby gear in your office. If I had to lug around a play mat, bouncy chair, pack of diapers, blankets, toys, etc. back and forth from my car to the office, I’d probably have bigger biceps by now – but fortunately I don’t have to. I already have to carry Charlotte, her stroller, my work laptop and lunch, so I find that keeping extras stored under my desk limits the cumbersome lugging of baby gear each day.
  • Last But NOT Least - Ask for help! Getting help from my coworkers makes my workday much smoother and it seems that there is always someone eager to hold or play with the baby.
While I know that what works for me may not work for everyone, I think the most important thing is to try different solutions to see what works best for you – each baby is different and the balance between work and mothering will continue to be game of trial and error. My daughters’ temperaments and physiological maturity were very different so even though I thought I knew what to expect from my experience with Olivia, Charlotte has been a new and different challenge. These are just a few of the tips I have from my personal experience, but we know there are many moms out there with stories and experiences bringing their child to work. We would love to hear your tips or funny stories about bringing your baby to work!


  1. My baby is 5 months old and comes to work with me every day. When I first started back to work (he was 7 weeks old), he came with me on my two short days, but now I am allowed to bring him with me every day. I work at a small non-profit organization, where there are only a handful of people that work here. However, A LOT of people come in and out of my office. I work as the secretary, so I am the one that usually answers the phone and “runs” the office. We (my boss and I) have taken a realistic approach to this; as long as it continues to work, I can continue bringing my child to work with me. I work part-time, and I think they know (without me telling them) that my husband and I are struggling financially right now and just trying to make our situation better. If you can’t afford to be a stay at home mom (what mother wouldn’t want to be)then this is the second best option. Everyone (staff included) seem to love having my child here; some people come to the office just so that they can see the baby. It works very well for us. Of course, my child has always been a very easy baby (sleeps a lot and usually doesn’t cry much). As he grows and changes, I just try to adjust how I do things so that it all works. Thankfully, I no longer pump, so I just have to remember to bring bottles and formula; now that he eats solids 3x a day I bring my homemade baby food in my lunch box. I have a play pen for him to sleep and play in. I also have a bouncy seat, but he’s starting to get too big for that so I’m looking for something different to replace the bouncy seat with. I keep a few toys and burp rags at work, and in a basket I have diapers, extra clothes, and homemade wipes. There is also a blanket that I keep at work. The time you spend with your children is invaluable, so if you can do something like bringing them to work with you then do it and do everything you can to make it work. Afterall, you never get the things you missed out on back. I don’t get benefits or anything like that at work, but if another employer offered me wonderful benefits and paid vacation time, I wouldn’t take it because I’m sure they wouldn’t allow me to bring my little one to work with me. I don’t care if we struggle financially until my baby graduates from college, it will be worth it if I get to spend his childhood with him and raising him; after all, I didn’t have children just to let somebody else raise them. Before, when I left my baby at day care all I could think about all day long was getting home to him (and my husband) to give him hugs and kisses. Now, I just think about regular stuff that needs to be done at home and my husband. Therefore, they have a very happy employee on their hands. I wouldn't trade my days (happy and frustrating) for all the gold in the world. My frustrating days are usually when he decides not to nap and gets very grumpy instead. On those days I just stare at the clock, which always makes the day go much slower. :)

  2. I forgot to mention...

    When I said that my boss and I think about this realistically, everybody knows that there are just some days when he is going to fuss or whatever and it's just going to be an all-around bad day at wrok. But in a nutshell, as long as there are more "good" days than "bad" I get to continue to bring him to work. Believe me, there are days (like when he won't nap) that I think to myself "What am I doing? This isn't working. Why am I bringing him to work with me?" However, I have only had those days a couple of times.