Working from home can be a difficult challenge to adjust to on its own, but it is even more challenging to do with a baby.
Whether you’re trying to work around a newborn or a toddler, it’s no secret that you’ll have to be strategic to get things done.
While this article is mostly for work-from-home new moms, if you’re a work-from-home new dad, I hope you’ll find these tips helpful as well.
Without further ado, these are the 10 best tips on how to work from home with a baby.
Use Naps Times
You might want to use nap time to rest, but this is your golden hour. If your baby is still young, they will likely take multiple naps per day.
Babies tend to reduce the number of naps and usually sleep longer stretches as they get older.
Use these times that your baby is sleeping to tackle as much as you can. Try to plan out what you will do for each nap break once your baby has a sleeping pattern.
If your baby’s schedule is off, then just work as quickly as possible every time he or she falls asleep.
It’s definitely hard to plan with a baby, but having some sort of an idea of what needs to be done can help.
If you have a to-do list, you can waste less of that precious nap time trying to figure out what needs to be done. That way, you can focus on the most important things between distractions.
Try to create a to-do list and batch similar tasks together. This helps get you “into the zone” without breaking your concentration several times doing random tasks.
Emails get done along with other writing tasks, bookkeeping with other data entry work, etc.
Happy Babies Are Calm Babies
You might think it’s impossible to work while the baby is awake… it’s not! Again, you just have to be strategic.
If you need to work during an awake window of time, try to work after feeding or nap time.
Usually, babies are most content during these times! After feeling rested or having a full stomach, they are more likely to play alone with toys.
Try to work in short sprints during these times and give the baby your full attention afterward.
Use a Hands-Free Breast Pump
If you’re currently breastfeeding or pumping, you know it’s a full-time job on its own.
Try using a hands-free breast pump so you can pump while having your hands free. There are also cordless and hands-free breast pump options on the market today!
If you’re breastfeeding exclusively, try finding a support pillow to keep you and your baby comfortable.
If you’re placing the baby on the pillow, you can have at least one hand free to continue with a phone call or tasks using a mouse.
Use a Carrier
Sometimes, your baby just wants to be held. When you have work to do but your baby is being fussy, whip out a baby carrier.
Carriers are becoming super popular for this reason.
Strap baby in, set up your workstation, and sway back and forth as you type. It should put your baby to sleep.
If your baby doesn’t enjoy being in a carrier, you can use a baby lounger such as the dock-a-tot or a swing in order to keep them content beside you.
They can be a lifesaver when you need free hands.
Be sure to supervise your baby while in these loungers for safety purposes.
Working from home usually entails certain software for calls, meetings, or data input. You can download apps such as Zoom and Google Docs to your phone.
This way, you can just hop on your phone quickly while feeding to make it more convenient.
If you feel it is appropriate, you can also use apps designed for little ones for learning games.
These apps can get you through a short period of time where you need baby entertained and safe while you hop on an important business meeting.
Work Before Wake
This tip fits in with the nap time tip. Working while your baby sleeps is very important.
Working before your baby even wakes up in the morning can be really beneficial if you don’t have set hours. This way, you are able to tackle a good bit of work while the house is quiet.
If you’re not an early morning person, you can also work after your baby goes to bed in the evening. This also will allow you to have some uninterrupted work time.
It may not be ideal, but you fit in work where you have time.
Prepare Ahead of Time
The weekends are definitely a time for relaxing. Something that might be useful, though, is prepping ahead of time to ensure a smooth work week.
If you can take some time to plan out your week and prepare some meals and snacks ahead of time, then you will be spending less of your workday stopping to do these things.
This also ensures that you will be nourishing your body and not just eating goldfish and leftover noodles for lunch from three nights ago.
If you can make some quick meals to warm in the microwave or crock-pot, it will be a time-saver for you later.
Pay Baby Attention
When a little one is tapping you on the leg wanting you to watch them jump up and down, it really may just be a cry for attention.
Sometimes, if you can stop to take a short break, giving them five minutes of undivided attention will satisfy their need.
Take regular short breaks to play, do an activity, or even just take your baby for a walk.
It will help you clear your mind and re-focus when you come back to your computer.
It’s good for both you and your baby.
Let Go of Mom Guilt
Feeling guilty is something every mom seems to struggle with.
You feel guilty for not giving your baby all of your attention, but at the same time, you feel guilty for not giving your career the effort it needs. Try (as hard as it may be) to let go of feeling guilty.
Being a work-at-home mom is hard, but so is being at your workplace and leaving your baby.
Let go of your high expectations of yourself, do what you can, and don’t be so hard on yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I get it all done?
The simple answer is you don’t.
Trying to keep a house clean, a baby tended to, work for your job, and still have time to shower is a lot to manage.
Try working in short increments, or in the little segments of time you’ve got while your baby is happy.
Try to plan your day the best you can, group like tasks together, work in sprints (not a marathon) and do the intense work while baby sleeps.
If you can afford it, hire someone to help you clean the house or watch the baby for a few hours so you can give your undivided attention.
It takes a village, remember?
How can I make working from home easier?
The best way to make working from home easier is to create systems. Have a set system you use to go through for each routine in the day.
Creating a simple workflow (or listing the process) of what you need to do can help make it more of a mindless task.
Think of checking off a to-do list in a certain sequence instead of thinking “what comes next?”
Also, setting boundaries can help. Working yourself endlessly is a recipe for a burned-out mama! It’s really hard when you can’t just leave the office and forget about work until the next day.
If you can set boundaries for yourself, then you may find yourself a little less stressed.
How can I involve my spouse?
Your spouse is your life partner. You don’t have to do this on your own. Ask for help.
If your spouse is home with you during the day, schedule times where you work and your spouse watches the baby. Rotate watch times during the day.
If your spouse is at a workplace during the day, maybe ask them to watch the baby for a while after getting home so you can finish your work.
Have your spouse put the baby to sleep for the night or help you with cleaning up after dinner.
Final thoughts on how to work from home with a baby
You are doing great. Working from home with a baby is definitely not easy, but seeing your baby during those precious early moments of life is worth it.
Try some of these tips to make it a bit easier, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You’ve got this!