If you’re a mom or dad and trying to figure out how to work from home with a baby, you’re not alone. It can be tough to juggle everything, but it’s definitely doable.
While working and trying to start my own business, I had my son to tend to. And it was very difficult being able to juggle two things that needed my full attention. But after months and months of trial and error, I got my rhythm down and so will you!
But hopefully, a few of these tips can help you be a little bit more productive, without the dose of mama guilt that you’re neglecting your baby. Believe me, you’re little one knows you love them!
How To Work From Home With A Baby
Here’s a list of my top 22 tips on how to work from home with a baby:
If you don’t already have a work-from-home job that allows you some flexibility, it’s time to have a conversation with your supervisor. If you’re looking for side hustles for parents, I’ve got you covered there too.
It’s important that your daily schedule is manageable. After all, your job is a big part of your life, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that you focus on. If you’re struggling to juggle your work and personal commitments, it might be time to talk to your supervisor about flexibility in your schedule.
Of course, this can be a tricky conversation to have, but it’s important to remember that your boss is human too. They understand that people have lives outside of work (hopefully), and they may be willing to accommodate your needs if you explain the situation clearly.
Here are a few tips for how to ask for flexible working arrangements:
- Figure out what you need. Before you approach your boss, take some time to figure out exactly what you need. Do you need to adjust your working hours? Instead of venting, know exactly what to ask for before the meeting.
- Focus on the benefits. When you’re meeting with your supervisor, emphasize how accommodating your request would be beneficial for both of you. For example, if you’re looking for more flexible hours, explain how you’re productivity would increase.
The next item on the to-do list is setting up a baby space in your home office. This can help you to feel more connected to your child during the day while still getting your work done.
Here are some things to make your life a bit easier:
- First, choose a location where you can keep your eyes on your baby. Also, make sure this space is out of view of your webcam so that you don’t have a baby playing in the background during your video conference.
- Make sure the space is well-lit and has plenty of air circulation to keep your child comfortable.
- Stock the space with essentials like diapers, wipes, and toys. That will save you the time of running back and forth.
A friend of mine that has her own private practice created a safe zone for her child. If you do this, make sure everything is baby-proof. When you can’t be in the room, keeping the child in a safe playpen with a baby monitor will help.
This may seem obvious, but being able to give your undivided attention to work while the baby is sleeping is difficult, but an important skill to learn. I used to love taking my time to get “in the zone”, but as parents, we don’t have that luxury anymore.
Crank that music, eliminate all distractions, turn off your cell phone alerts, whatever it takes to fully stay productive.
Here are some tips for working that helped me kick butt when I was functioning off four hours of sleep:
- First, have a game plan. Instead of working aimlessly while the baby naps, set realistic goals for what you hope to accomplish.
- Next, take advantage of technology. I had a timer that set off after 20 minutes or so when I tended to slow down so that I would be reminded I likely only had another 20 minutes left before the baby woke up.
- AIRPLANE MODE YOUR PHONE. Or at least just silence it. I mean it. Because it just takes one phone call, one text, that completely derails you for half an hour, and before you know it, you lost that precious productive time. Answer the phone when you’re on a break.
When you finally get those long stretches during naps, make sure you conquer your work from highest to lowest priority.
I found myself wanting to take care of a lot of little things, but then that put me in a stressful situation of rushing at the end of the day to get the things done I should have prioritized way earlier in the day.
Not only do you need to get those high-priority tasks done, but you need to do it quickly. Time really runs away from you when you become a parent, and what’s worse is that you’ll just have SO much on your mind. It’s impossible to keep track of everything.
- Create a daily and weekly routine. This will help you to stay organized and on track.
- Try batching similar tasks together so that you can complete them more efficiently. For example, if you need to make phone calls as part of your job, try to make all of your calls at the same time.
If you want to have a week that’s as least stressful as possible, then prepping in advance is key. The workweek is chaotic enough as it is, but add a baby in the mix, and you’ll never feel caught up.
Prep everything the day before your workweek starts. Get the laundry done. Have the house clean. Get the grocery store shopping done. Prep YOUR food as well as your baby’s food in advance.
Because during the week you’ll be in survival, maintenance mode.
When I was a new parent, I thought I would feed babies during my breaks. Big mistake.
What I didn’t realize is that feeding the baby (I was nursing) was easy enough to do while answering emails and easier tasks.
For new moms nursing or parents bottle-feeding, here’s how to feed your child and work at the same time:
- First, it is important to have all of the supplies you need within reach. A breast pump, bottles, formula, and burp cloths should all be nearby. Can you swing a Baby Breeza? I would highly recommend it.
- Second, plan your milk prep ahead. If you’re nursing, know how to use your Haakaa and have it ready. If you’re feeding stored breastmilk then have it ready (the night before transfer from the freezer to the fridge, then I would leave a bag on the counter for 30 minutes to get to room temperature right before feeds). If you are using formula, have it ready to go.
- Third, know your baby’s cues and try to schedule feedings consistently at the same time. That way you can plan some free time in your work schedule to do easy tasks while you feed your baby.
- Finally, take advantage of technology and use a hands-free pumping bra or bottle so that you can multi-task while you feed your baby.
With a little planning and preparation, it is possible to successfully feed your baby while you work.
If you’re exclusively pumping or need to pump while you work, then you can take advantage of hands-free pumping by using a wearable breast pump.
I’ve done this with two kids, here are my work at home mom pro tips:
- Make sure you get a pump that is quiet and discreet.
- Get yourself a great nursing bra so that it firmly keeps your pump in place as you get some work done.
- Purchase an extra pair of pumping parts, so that if you get caught up and are unable to clean the parts right away, you can still pump the next session.
Going along with the pumping, it may sound strange, but PUMP DURING YOUR MEETINGS! I loved being able to kill two birds with one stone, and I promise, no one ever knew.
- Plan your pumping schedule or meeting right before a break. Then, when you’re done pumping and your break is starting, you can use that time to quickly rinse all of your pump parts and prep for the next session.
- Find a good large professional shirt or shawl and you can pump during virtual meetings.
- Depending on the pump you have, set it to pump a certain amount of time so that you’re not messing with it during the email. If you have to, just turn off your webcam while you quickly stop it, remove it, etc.
Since we’re talking about nursing and feeding, what do you do when your baby starts introducing solids? Well, this is a bit more difficult to do while working and you’ll want to feed your baby solids when you’re eating your lunch or breakfast as well.
The most important part of this step is to have your baby food made in advance. By doing some quick and easy prep work, you can have healthy, delicious meals ready to go at a moment’s notice.
One of the easiest ways to prep baby food is to cook large batches of basic recipes and then freeze them in individual portions. For example, you could cook a big batch of purees and then freeze it in ice cube trays. Once frozen, you can pop out a few cubes and thaw them as needed.
There are also several baby food makers that take only a few steps to make food quick and easy.
And if you don’t have time to make your own food, this is a no-judgment zone. I used store-bought baby food all the time because, you know, life happens.
Now, we can’t forget that our baby is a person that needs attention. This is where your breaks come in.
Instead of those longer breaks, taking multiple mini-breaks throughout the day when your baby is awake gives you that special parent bonding time with your baby when it matters. Queue the cooing, baby talk, and playtime now.
If you have a fussy baby, you’ll need to step away to give your baby some uninterrupted time.
If you’re like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in meetings. And if you’re like most people, those meetings are probably very unproductive. In fact, Harvard even thinks they’re a waste of time.
But if you need to engage in some virtual meetings, here are a few pointers.
- Schedule them in the mid-afternoon lull, when you’re likely to be less productive anyways and your baby may be napping.
- Make sure you have a backup plan if you suddenly have a child that needs your untimely attention.
- What about conference calls you’re not in charge of scheduling? Then use a baby carrier, turn your video cam off, or simply do the best you can.
Speaking of baby carriers, this is a super handy thing to have.
A baby carrier allows you to keep your baby close while still giving you the freedom to move around and get things done. There are many different types of carriers on the market, so make sure you find one that’s comfortable and get your baby used to it before you start work.
I also have a standing desk, so when I wanted to move my legs a little bit, just use the carrier and work while standing.
If you need to take or make phone calls as part of your job, a headset is an essential piece of equipment. A headset will allow you to keep your hands free so that you can type, write, and help your baby if needed while you’re on a call.
Additionally, a headset will help to reduce background noise and make it easier for both you and the person on the other end of the line to hear each other, even if your baby is giggling in the background.
There’s no doubt that screen time can be a lifesaver when working from home with a baby. But it’s important to use it appropriately.
For example, you shouldn’t rely on screens to entertain your child for hours on end. Instead, use them when you have a moment that work needs your undivided attention, or when you’re at the end of a meeting and your baby is getting restless.
Make sure to choose high-quality content that is age-appropriate and educational. With a little bit of effort, you can find the right balance of screen time for your family!
What do babies love the most? ROUTINES!
Routines are a win for everyone. It will help your child know what to expect throughout the day and adjust. It can also help you stay on track and make the most of your time. You can set your feedings around the same time, and have consistent nap times, and special playtime.
Just remember that you will need to stay flexible and change your routine as your child grows.
One of the best ways to work from home with a baby is to create a quiet time for them to play independently. This will give you some much-needed time to focus on your work.
If you have the space, you can use a gate with a playmat and swap out different age-appropriate toys throughout the day. This way, there’s something new to learn and your baby girl or boy won’t get too bored.
Now, if you want the ultimate happy baby while also managing to be a superstar at work, then there’s one answer: childcare.
If you can swing it, in-home child care help like a nanny or an au pair is the ultimate dream. Interview qualified candidates, get a background check, and review references.
If you have family members nearby, this is another option, that can often be FREE.
Of course, this is not an option for everyone. But if you have set hours and need to be one hundred percent present during business hours, then child care is a must.
If you’re looking to get back into the job market, making money online for beginners is a great way to work at home with a baby.
This may seem intuitive, but I bring this up because you may not be aware of all the different possibilities out there.
When I had my son at home, I would take conference calls on my cell phone. This would allow my little one backyard time to crawl around and get fresh air while I listened to the meetings on my cell phone. Whatever platform your company uses, I promise there’s a mobile app for it.
If you need reminders to help keep track of your baby, there are so many great baby apps for parents to keep track of diapers, bottles, feeds, and reminders.
Anything you automate will take the stress away from your head and make your life a little less stressful.
Working from home with a baby can be challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family, or co-workers for assistance. Being able to do it all alone does not make you a superstar.
For thousands of years, entire families and communities have come together to help one another. So reach out, and you’ll find out how much people truly enjoy helping out.
If you’re like me, one of the most important things to remember when working from home with a baby is to lower your expectations of yourself. It’s important to be realistic and understand that you won’t be able to accomplish as much as you would if you didn’t have a child at home.
Give yourself grace and understand that there will be days when everything goes wrong. Just remember that you’re doing the best you can and that’s all anyone can ask for!
With a little bit of effort, you can learn how to work from home with a baby and still be productive. Just remember to take things one step at a time, be patient with yourself, and ask for help when you need it. You got this!
If you’re anything like me, then this tip is HARD to follow.
I love a clean house and have a pretty Type A personality. But at the end of the day, I would remind myself that I’ll never look back on how clean my countertops were and how much joy that gave me. Instead, I’ll wish I had ten minutes more minutes to squeeze my little baby’s cheeks and play.
You’re watching a baby and working, which are both full-time jobs. So don’t stress yourself out over getting the household chores done. Instead, focus on the things that are most important and let the rest go. Just remember to be patient with yourself and understand that some days will be better than others. With a little bit of effort, you can manage your time and still get everything done!
Those first six months of having a baby are not just physically exhausting, but it puts you through hundreds of mental laps. You may be wondering if you’re doing enough at work, wondering how you can hit your career milestones. You may be worried that your baby isn’t hitting baby milestones quick enough or that maybe you’re attention to too divided.
There are going to be hundreds of times when you don’t feel like a great parent. And a hundred more times where you may feel like a bad employee not carrying enough of the workload. But remember, this is perfectly natural, and a sign that in fact, you are a great parent and a great employee.
Everything in life is only temporary, so remember to not spend too much time worrying about how you think you’re coming up short, but more on the ways you’re doing everything just right.
If you’re having a difficult time, make sure to lean on your partner if you need extra help. Maybe that’s picking up more of the housework, or just being an ear to vent to.
Remember, you are a team. Don’t keep score of one another. You both have the same goal, to continue your work ambitions while raising a kind and loving family.
Oftentimes, one partner may feel that the other is not doing enough. Make sure you keep an open line of communication, because the stress of a child may be handled by one parent better than the other. There will likely be lots of disagreements, but if you can agree on the important parts that’s all that matters.
Before you know it, your kids are going to be in school, and there won’t be a baby at home while you work. Enjoy the fact that you get to see that smiling face every day, and that it won’t last long.
The days are long, but the years are short. It goes by so fast, enjoy as much of it as you can.
And that’s it! These tips are based on my own personal experience as a mom who works from home. I’m not perfect, but I’ve learned a lot over the past few years and I hope these tips will help you too!