Working from home with a baby can seem daunting, especially when you’re trying to balance the responsibilities of being a work at home parent while nurturing your little one.
In this article, we’ll explore how to work from home with a baby, from a newborn to a toddler, and share tips and tricks to make the most of your time together.
Newborn (0-4 months)
Schedule deep work during uninterrupted time
Having a newborn can be a full time job as it is. As a new parent, you’ll quickly discover that your baby wakes frequently and needs your attention. To optimize your work tasks, schedule deep work during the few hours when your baby is most likely to be asleep, like early mornings or late nights.
Work different hours
Being a working from home parent means you have the flexibility to set your own hours. Take advantage of this perk and adjust your hours to align with your baby’s schedule.
Experiment with baby carriers
Using a baby sling or backpack can be a game changer for new parents. It allows you to keep your baby close while still having your hands free to work on your computer or attend virtual meetings.
Communicate with clients or your team
Don’t be afraid to let your clients or team members know you’re working from home with a baby. They’ll likely be understanding, and you may find they’re more flexible with deadlines or meeting times. Who knows – they may have mastered how to work from home with a baby themselves and have some tips for you too!
Take turns with your partner if possible
If you have a partner and are both stay at home parents, try to share baby duties. Taking turns caring for your baby will give both of you the chance to work uninterrupted.
Infant (4-12 months)
Invest in a baby swing or baby wrap
At this stage, your baby might be more active and curious, which can make working from home challenging. Investing in a baby swing or baby wrap can keep your baby entertained and safe while you focus on work.
Work between nap time
As your baby gets older, they’ll likely take fewer naps. However, nap time can still be an excellent opportunity for you to get some work done. Use this uninterrupted work time to tackle important tasks or participate in conference calls.
Create boundaries as a work from home parent
As a working parent, it’s essential to establish boundaries between your work and home life. Set specific work hours and try to stick to them as much as possible.
Consider a little childcare
Even if you’re committed to being a stay at home parent, it’s worth considering some part-time childcare. Having someone watch your baby for a few hours a week can give you the time you need to focus on your job or even take a much-needed break.
There are various childcare options available to suit the needs of different families. Here are some of the most common childcare options:
Daycare centers: These are licensed facilities that provide care for children in a group setting. Daycare centers usually have trained staff, structured programs, and age-appropriate activities. They may be privately owned, run by a non-profit organization, or affiliated with a workplace, church, or community center.
Family daycare homes: Family daycare homes are childcare facilities run out of the provider’s home. These settings typically offer a smaller, more home-like environment and may have a lower adult-to-child ratio than daycare centers.
Nannies: A nanny is a childcare professional hired to take care of your child(ren) in your own home. Nannies typically work full-time and may live with the family or commute daily. They may have specialized training or experience in childcare and can provide personalized care for your child.
Au pairs: Au pairs are young people, usually from another country, who provide live-in childcare in exchange for room, board, and a small stipend. They typically stay with the family for a set period (e.g., one year) and often participate in cultural exchange programs.
Babysitters: Babysitters provide temporary, occasional childcare on an as-needed basis. They may be responsible for watching your child for a few hours during the day, in the evening, or on weekends.
Parent cooperatives: In a parent cooperative, a group of families work together to provide childcare for their children. Parents take turns caring for the children and managing the cooperative, often hiring a trained teacher to lead educational activities.
In-home care from relatives or friends: Some families rely on relatives or friends to help with childcare. This arrangement can be more flexible and affordable than other options but may be less reliable if the caregiver has other commitments.
Drop-in or hourly care centers: These facilities offer childcare on a drop-in basis, charging hourly rates. They can be a helpful option for parents who need occasional childcare or backup care when their regular arrangement falls through.
Each of these childcare options has its own advantages and drawbacks. When choosing a childcare arrangement, consider factors such as your child’s age, personality, and needs, as well as your family’s schedule, budget, and preferences.
Use a baby carrier while working
Wearing a baby wrap or backpack can help you keep your baby close while you work, allowing you to multitask and accomplish your work tasks more efficiently.
There are several types of baby carriers available on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most common types:
1. Soft structured carrier (SSC):
SSCs are the most popular type of baby holder. They typically have a padded waistband and shoulder straps, with a structured seat to hold the baby. SSCs can be used for front, hip, and back carrying, and are designed to distribute the baby’s weight evenly across the wearer’s body.
2. Ring sling:
A ring sling is a long piece of fabric that is threaded through two rings and worn over one shoulder. The baby sits in the fabric pouch, with the rings adjusting to create a secure and comfortable fit. Ring slings are typically used for front and hip carrying, and are lightweight and easy to pack.
3. Wrap carrier:
A wrap carrier is a long piece of fabric that is wrapped around the wearer’s body to hold the baby. There are several types of wrap carriers, including stretchy wraps and woven wraps. Wrap carriers can be used for front, hip, and back carrying, and provide a custom fit for the wearer and baby.
4. Mei Tai:
A Mei Tai is a traditional Chinese baby carrier that has a rectangular body panel with two shoulder straps and a waistband. The baby sits in the panel, with the straps tied around the wearer’s body to create a secure fit. Mei Tais can be used for front, hip, and back carrying, and are easy to adjust for different wearers.
5. Backpack carrier:
A backpack carrier is designed for hiking and outdoor activities. It has a metal frame and a padded waistband and shoulder straps, with a structured seat to hold the baby. Backpack carriers are typically used for back carrying, and can be used for longer periods of time than other carriers.
When choosing something to carry your baby, it’s important to consider factors such as your baby’s age and size, your body type and comfort, and the activities you’ll be doing while wearing the carrier. Some carriers may be more comfortable for larger or smaller babies, while others may be better for longer or shorter periods of wear.
Toddler (1-3 years)
Keep things out of reach
As your baby becomes a toddler, they’ll be more mobile and curious about their surroundings. Make sure to keep work materials and potentially dangerous items out of reach.
Toddler proofing your home is an important step in ensuring the safety of your little one while you work. Here are some essential safety items for toddler proofing:
1. Baby gates: Baby gates are an essential item for blocking off stairs or restricting access to certain areas of your home.
2. Cabinet locks: Cabinet locks can be used to keep toddlers from opening cabinets or drawers containing potentially dangerous items, such as cleaning supplies or knives.
3. Outlet covers: Outlet covers can be used to keep toddlers from sticking their fingers or objects into electrical outlets.
4. Corner and edge guards: Corner and edge guards can be used to protect toddlers from sharp edges on furniture, such as tables or countertops.
5. Window guards: Window guards can be used to prevent toddlers from falling out of open windows.
6. Toilet locks: Toilet locks can be used to prevent toddlers from playing in or falling into the toilet.
7. Safety gates for fireplaces: Safety gates can be used to create a barrier around a fireplace, preventing toddlers from getting too close.
8. Anti-tip straps: Anti-tip straps can be used to secure heavy furniture, such as dressers or bookcases, to the wall, preventing them from tipping over and potentially injuring your toddler.
These are just a few essential safety items for toddler proofing your home. It’s important to assess your home for potential hazards and make adjustments accordingly to keep your little one safe.
Adapt to your child’s daily schedule
Your toddler will have a more predictable daily schedule, making it easier for you to plan your work hours around their routine.
Here is a sample toddler schedule that can be adapted to fit different work situations:
6:00-7:30 AM: Wake up and breakfast time
7:30-9:30 AM: Independent playtime, while parents catch up on work or complete important tasks
9:30-10:00 AM: Snack time and storytime
10:00-11:30 AM: Outdoor playtime or an age-appropriate activity, while parents work
11:30 AM-12:30 PM: Lunchtime
12:30-2:30 PM: Nap time for the toddler, while parents work
2:30-3:00 PM: Snack time and quiet playtime
3:00-4:30 PM: Creative playtime, such as arts and crafts or music, while parents work nearby
4:30-6:00 PM: Family time, dinner preparation, and wind-down activities
6:00-7:00 PM: Dinner time
7:00-7:30 PM: Bathtime and storytime
7:30-8:00 PM: Bedtime routine
8:00 PM: Toddler bedtime
Flexibility is key when creating a schedule for a toddler whose parents work from home. As each family’s needs and the toddler’s developmental stage are unique, it’s important to tailor the schedule accordingly.
Some families may choose to include additional childcare options, such as a mother’s helper or a part-time nanny, to assist with toddler care during the workday.
It’s also crucial to take regular breaks throughout the day for parents to bond with their toddler and prioritize their own well-being.
Remember, adjusting your schedule and taking care of yourself are vital to creating a happy and productive work-life balance when working from home with a little one.
Learn time-blocking techniques
Time-blocking can help you manage your work and baby duties more effectively. Block out specific times for work, childcare, and household chores to maintain an optimal work-home life balance.
Take advantage of playtime
Encourage self-directed play in your child, and use this time to focus on work or household chores.
Reach out for support
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family members, friends, or local and national publications for parenting resources. Many parents struggle with balancing work and family time, and finding support can make all the difference in your well-being.
Create a play area
Setting up a designated play area in your home can help keep your child entertained while you work. Fill it with age-appropriate toys, books, and activities to encourage independent play.
Take breaks for both you and your child
It’s essential to take breaks throughout the day to maintain your mental health. Use these moments to bond with your child and spend quality time, pump breast milk, or simply relax and recharge.
Make the most of the weekends
When you work from home with a baby, weekends can be a valuable time to catch up on work or spend quality family time together. Plan your week ahead and make the most of your weekends to strike a balance.
Consider a Mother’s Day Out program
A Mothers Day Out (MDO) program is a part-time childcare program designed to provide short-term care for young children, typically between the ages of 6 months to 5 years old. The programs are usually offered by churches or community organizations and are open about 2-3 days per week for about 4-5 hours per day. They are usually about to $300-$400 per month and are much more affordable than full time daycare.
Work while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can be a time-consuming process, but it doesn’t have to halt your productivity. Use a breastfeeding pillow to support your baby while remote working or consider investing in dictation software to continue working hands-free.
My baby wakes during the worst times. How do I keep my baby quiet while working from home?
Keeping things quiet while figuring out how to work from home with a baby can be challenging. Try using a white noise machine or lullaby music to soothe your baby, and make sure they are well-fed and comfortable.
How do moms work from home with toddlers?
Figuring out how to work from home with a baby or toddler can feel overwhelming, but it’s possible with a bit of planning and patience. Encourage independent play, create a safe play area, and set boundaries to help balance work and childcare.
In conclusion, being a work from home parent presents unique challenges, but it’s an incredible opportunity to bond with your child and achieve a better work-life balance.
With planning, communication, and support from loved ones, you can successfully navigate the world of remote working while caring for your new baby.