Ever wonder what it takes to be able to take your newborn to work with you? Are you trying to decide if this is a viable option for your family? I have been fortunate enough to be able to work with all three of my children at various ages and in a couple different careers and now I will impart what I’ve learned on you in this handy 5 point guide.
1. Prepare well in advance for every day your baby will be joining you in the workplace. This is the very most important advice I can give you, which is why it’s the longest and most detailed part of the Guide. Everything you do to prepare will make or break how successful you are in your job and as a parent.
You will want to start by packing the diaper bag. Whether you bring your baby to work five days a week or one – this step must be done in completion EVERY time. Pack enough diapers, wipes and outfits for a weekend away. The day you forget to do this your baby will sense it and make sure to poop through every diaper you have nearby. Heck you might want to pack a second “emergency bag” to leave in the car all the time, just in case. Babies love to test your preparedness. You will also want to have a second pair of clothes and shoes for yourself as well. Trust me on this one – it is essential. I have one ruined pair of boots to prove it.
You will also want to have plenty of entertainment for baby. Not screen entertainment, though. That’s cheating. Pick three toys that your baby absolutely loves more than anything and then… hide them for at least a month. You don’t want the novelty to wear off. You will need to do this for every day you come to work. If you think that crinkly stuffed toy kept her happy yesterday and will be good enough today, you are dead wrong. Prepare to pick that beloved toy off the floor a hundred times because being used in a game of Mommy Fetch is the only possible way that that toy could ever be interesting again.
Also, you will need the basics: changing mat, light baby sweater, heavy baby sweater, a couple hats, a swaddle blanket, a crib blanket, a security blanket, a play mat, a white noise machine, baby monitor with fresh batteries, a baby carrier that can be worn on your back, a soft baby carrier to snuggle a sleeping baby, no less than 10 burp cloths, a second nursing bra, nursing pads, a nursing necklace to keep your little one focused in a busy environment, a travel crib, the car seat obviously, maybe a stroller for when all carriers fail? Basically, you want your boss to wonder if you are moving in permanently. If you have a hand free when walking to the car you are doing it all wrong.
Don’t forget to pack your lunch! And a snack. And another snack. And water. And all the tea. You need to keep your energy up, especially if you are nursing, so you need extra calories – but not junk calories! Make sure it’s high in protein, iron, Vitamin D, essential fatty acids, whole grains, superfoods… you get the picture. Fuel yourself. With everything. As long as its healthy. (But bring secret chocolate)
Now that you are packed make sure baby is freshly bathed, diapered, and dressed in something super adorable because everyone will want to take pictures all day long. Feed baby one last time and then get ready to put her in the car seat. What’s that smell? Start all over.
2. Set goals and prioritize. It helps to make a list of everything you need to do and rank the list in order of importance. Cross out everything except the number one task. It’s all you are going to be able to do. Make peace with that.
3. Maximize efficiency with nap time. It’s all about that nap, all work gets done during this period of sleep. Do not let baby fall asleep in the car on the way to work. That wastes precious nap time. Once you arrive at work make your first and primary focus be getting your baby to sleep – even if it takes an hour or two. Set up the white noise machine. Unfold the port-a-crib while laughing at yourself because you know you will end up working one handed around the sleeping baby on your lap. Keep that tea within arms reach at all times and do not question whether the caffeine in that tea could be counter-productive to getting your nursing baby to sleep. THIS IS A CONCERN FOR ANOTHER DAY! Today you need it. Accept this. Back to getting baby to sleep – turn off all alerts, ringers, and alarms, set your face to “do not dare try to talk to me while I am rocking/nursing the baby,” dim the lights if possible, get yourself cozy in your office chair because you are going to be trapped under that sleeping angel for awhile…annnnnnnnd now you have to pee. Good luck.
4. Reward yourself by buying things for the baby with your paycheck. This might be a me-only problem because I am SURROUNDED by the cutest baby toys, clothes and accessories ever but I like to believe it is important to my sanity.
5. Be grateful. No, seriously – while it might seem like you are going to be lost in this madness forever it is actually such a short time and not everyone can recharge with a whiff of that sweet new baby smell. It might not make sense to you, but turns out that this setup will make you the envy of everyone who has never done it. Besides, if you think taking your baby to work is hard just wait till that baby is a toddler.
Not sure bringing baby to work is for you? I also have lots of tips on working from home with baby…and the rest of the family too!! Do you have any advice for moms or dads taking little babies to work with them?