Pandemic Life: Working From Home with a Baby
Two moms share advice on how to work from home with a baby
While it may seem like working from home after having a baby should be easier than returning to the office, for new moms during the COVID-19 pandemic the jury is still out. That’s because working from home with an infant poses its own challenges. We reached out to moms who had babies during the pandemic to get their advice on dealing with issues like maintaining work-life balance, practicing self-care and figuring out breastfeeding while working from home.
The first of our moms is Ashley, a mom of three and business owner who had her baby in May. She previously shared with us insight on staying safe as a new mom during the pandemic, and now wants to share her real life experience with balancing life and working from home with a newborn.
We also chatted with Abby who now works full time as a marketing professional with her 17-month-old son. As someone who started a new job remotely during the height of the pandemic, Abby has great advice on planning a WFH schedule that won’t cause burnout.
Top 5 Tips for Working from Home With a Newborn
#1: Have a dedicated workspace
Even if it’s just a small table in the corner of your bedroom, having a space that’s dedicated only to work will help get you in the working mindset. It’s also a great way to let everyone else in the house know that when you’re in that space, it’s time to act like you aren’t home.
On how having a separate working area helped her, Abby says, “Doing this really helped me get in the working mindset and focus on the tasks at hand. Bonus points if [your workspace] is behind a door that closes!”
#2: Set a schedule
The first few weeks that you start working after having a baby will have a learning curve. We recommend laying out a plan from day one and adjusting as you go. After all, babies are fussy and you won’t be able to plan for every minute—but just having a general routine will be helpful to keep you from feeling cluttered and unsure. Whether it’s setting aside regular pumping/nursing times or scheduling in actual breaks, having a schedule will help you feel more focused when it’s time to get work done.
Abby had this to say about the benefits of keeping a schedule: “When I was in an office, I put pumping times on my calendar as recurring events so everyone knew not to schedule meetings with me during that time. I tried to keep that schedule as much as I could when I was working from home, even if I was nursing my child instead of pumping. This helped me schedule my day, helped whomever was taking care of my baby schedule their day and helped my baby—on some level—have a set schedule.”
Also, take advantage of nap time. Those quiet moments when your baby is milk-drunk, content and fast asleep are the best times to focus during your workday.
Abby agrees, “Try to schedule important meetings during nap time—or when your baby is out of the house. For big meetings, I ask my husband to take the baby out of the house. Although I knew that no one else could hear him during these calls, I could and it was distracting because of course I just wanted to pay attention to him.”
#3: Invest in a baby carrier
Use must-have breastfeeding supplies and items like baby carriers to make work-from-home life easier. Baby carriers provide a great way to hold your baby and get hands-free skin-to-skin contact so that you can type, cook, clean or simply turn the pages of a book while having your baby in your arms. We love the Babylist + Solly Baby Collaboration Wrap for newborns because it gets your little one close to your heart. For more structured support, the Babybjörn Baby Carrier Mini is another great option.
“Sometimes it was hard not to have time to hold my baby while working. When I invested in a baby carrier, it helped a lot—I could work and just have him close to my heart,” Ashley explains.
#4: Let your village help
While it may not be possible for your entire village to come together to support you with childcare and other in-person needs at this time, it’s still important for you to reach out for help when you need it. Lean on your partner or other family members who live with you to help take care of the baby and other household tasks. Ask your partner to be on baby duty for a certain number of hours during the workday.
Ashley says that she asked her husband and two older children to take on a few more of the household chores to free up some of her day. “Not only were they happy to help, but it actually turned out to be great bonding time for the family.”
And, whether it’s through Facetime, phone calls or a chat on the front porch, don’t forget to engage in a little mom-friend time that’s completely separate from anything family- or work-related so that you have the chance to relax, unwind and have fun.
#5: Keep to your schedule with a breast pump
One way you can add more time back in your day for self-care is by pumping instead of breastfeeding. Pumping on Zoom calls or while working makes multitasking easier and gives you more time later to spend with your family—or by yourself.
“I considered only breastfeeding since I was going to be home anyway,” Ashley says. “But when I incorporated pumping back into my days, I realized how much easier feeding my baby was because I could hop on Zoom calls while pumping and not worry about a fussing baby!”
Make working from home after having a baby work for you. Get an insurance-covered breast pump through us to get your work-life balance on track.