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Bringing Baby into Work
Has anyone had experience taking their a young infant to work with them, on a part time basis, as a strategy for returning to work early? This is at the suggestion and with support of my boss and colleagues, who are excited by the idea of having a small baby at work, but who don't really have any experience with this type of arrangement (people do bring their dogs with them, so I guess that attitude is why not try this as well). I work as a processing and conservation archivist at a small research library and museum. What works and what does not? Advice? Pitfalls? Essential supplies? Anecdotes? thanks very much. My kid is due out of the womb in mid-September, and I'm hoping to get back into the office VERY part time by mid to late October. I will also be doing some telecommuting too. The Best Baby in The World Plan (BBWP) has me back at work full time by mid-January, with full-time day care as well. Am I delusional?
Cons: My productivity went way down. I ended up working longer days and going in on weekends (leaving baby with daddy), all to complete 30 hours of work a week at a very laid-back non-profit organization. I couldn't concentrate on either task - being a mom or doing my job. My boss started getting complaints from another department regarding ''noise and disruption'' (he was a very quiet baby!), which made me even more anxious. When it came time to look for a nanny, I couldn't do it properly, being at work most of the time.
Pros: Being able to nurse my baby.
This all worked for about two months, and I ended up asking for a month's unpaid leave to sort out myself and my child's needs. With my second child, I went for the maximum leave, and then back to work at 80%.
I wouldn't say your plan is delusional, but with your first you just cannot imagine how you feel about work, your child, everything - until they are there in your arms.
Back in the office when your child is 4-6 weeks old? Hmmm... All depends on how well your child naps, if they're colicky or not, do they like being in a baby carrier or not...
But back working full-time at 4 months - if at all possible, I would advise 80% - even if you don't need to take the extra breaks for pumping, you'll be tired, you'll want to get back to your child, you'll need a bit of wiggle room in your life for illness, doctor's appointments, bad nights, and all those other things life requires. Been There Too
After your baby is born, take a three-month maternity leave. Do not try to go to work, with or without the baby, and do not promise to do any work from home (other than returning the occasional phone call). Really. If there is any way at all in the world to avoid doing ANY paid work for three months, do it. Assuming you are covered by California's SDI and new PFL programs, you even get paid about half your usual paycheck for 12-14 weeks after your baby's birthdate.
At about 3 months, you will begin to settle into a new version of normalcy and develop the capability to get up in the morning, shower, dress and go to work in something approaching a reasonable amount of time. You will probably be emotionally and physically ready to return. Your baby will be the PERFECT age to accompany you to work. He or she will be past the fussiest newborn stage and probably sleeping longer stretches at night. He or she will be exclusively breastfed, not mobile, and often asleep during the day. He or she will most likely be content to ride in a sling more or less 24/7 and small enough not to be in your way as you work. All you really need, aside from a comfortable sling or other carrier, is a diaper changing area and supplies -- I use a Pack-n-Play with changing table and ''parent organizer'' attachments. The infant carrier carseat you will probably also have anyway provides a secondary place to put your baby when necessary.
If you can return part time or do some telecommuting, do it. You will appreciate the extra time to spend just caring for your baby. I worked essentially full time hours, but a lot of it at home, when my son was 3-6 months old; with my daughter I found it worked better to work fewer hours overall but go on into the office instead of telecommuting. What makes the most sense for you will depend on a lot of personal factors; I don't think there is any one best way to set things up.
Once your baby is sitting up, around 5-6 months, s/he will probably need a little more undivided attention. You'll need to bring in toys and possibly other accoutrements such as sippy cups and solid foods. At this point, how well it works depends on your baby's temperament and nap schedule, as well as the tolerance level of your co-workers. With my son, I hired a nanny when he was 6 months old. With my daughter, she is still going to work with me at 13 months! There are a number of reasons for that difference but part of it is my daughter's greater ability to entertain herself and my access to better baby carriers (she sleeps on my back in a mei tai or Ergo for several hours each day).
I'm happy to respond to more specific questions about what worked for me and my employer.
Babywearing Worker Bee holly
Before you definitely plan to do this, I would really make sure your boss knows that it will mean you will be less productive. My boss didn't care - she knew letting me bring my baby to work would triple my loyalty to the organization, and she know I would work extra hard on the days I didn't have the baby (and she really wanted to have a baby to hang out with!). But it really does make it harder to work. You have to spend lots of time changing diapers, nursing, soothing, etc, and it's not so easy to concentrate on other stuff because you are sleep deprived. Your boss should realize you have to have the time and a place to pump milk on days that your baby isn't there also.
I don't want to make it sound like it's all a lot of work with no benefit though - I am so, so glad I was able to do it, and it meant that I was able to spend lots of time with my son that I wouldn't have otherwise had, and it also meant that my co-workers got to develop great relationships with my son as well - which is wonderful for everyone; he's now 3, and he still has a great relationship with them, and comes for a visit every once in a while.
Some things that were helpful for me - I had a playpen/changing table at work, and a quiet office where he could take naps. I used the baby sling A LOT to keep him snug and happy while I was typing away at the computer. I kept a nursing pillow at work that fit my desk chair, and often he would just fall asleep while nursing, and I could work at the same time. I also took frequent breaks on days he was around (with permission from my boss) so that I could have quality time with him as well - I think that's really important for at least part of the day; otherwise it would feel like I was trying to do too many things and not getting any of the benefits of having him there.
I have to say that I think you are too ambitious to be thinking of starting an arrangement like this at 1 month... newborns are really much more demanding than you can even imagine, and I could barely make it out of the house 1 month after the birth, let alone think about having a brain to start work that early. If you can possibly do it, I would recommend not starting work for at least 3 months - I wish I had done 6 actually, but I couldn't have. There is a big developmental shift at 3 months, and I don't think I could have managed this before then. Also, that time off work to really figure out what your new family is all about (because it really is a whole new family - your relationship with your partner will be different too) is so, so important.
Good luck with whatever you decide! Jen
I'm going back to work part-time next week when my son will be 3 months old. My husband will take him 3 days a week while I'm at work, and I'll work from home one day a week. That leaves one day uncovered, so I've asked my supervisor whether I can bring him to work for the next 3 months (the scenario being that I'd be at work for 6 or 7 hours, but only get 4 hours of work done while he's nursing & sleeping). She's OK with this, but thinks her supervisor will not be. Apparently University policy (& state law) only requires that women have a place to breastfeed or pump that's not a bathroom.
Can anyone offer advice about convincing an employer to allow you
to bring your baby to work and how it went? The main reason I
want to do this is that I've had trouble pumping enough for even
one bottle per day (and I have been pumping during a skipped
feeding), and I am committed to exclusively breastfeeding for 6
months because of a family history of allergies & asthma. So
bringing the baby to work seemed a good way to combine work &
-Trying to combine career & motherhood
Mom of a bottle-strike baby
2.) How do you work while nursing??? Please let us all know!
3.) I assume you have your own office? Otherwise a baby would be extremely distracting to your co-workers.
4.) Pumping gets easier and much more productive when you do it several times a day, every day, using a good electric dual pump.
Check out some of the websites for working/nursing moms for tips. Good luck. -working mom of two
If you can't do that, can you have a care provider bring the baby to you for a feeding? That way you get to see your little darling and you don't have to pump. If you are only working 4 hours, one feeding should be plenty (and it won't be long till your baby can easily go 4 ho! urs without a feeding).
The last option, least attractive, is to pump a little every day, at some convenient time in between feedings-- even if you only get 1 or 2 ounces, it will add up to plenty to cover a bottle or two over the course of a week. Is there any chance a better pump would improve your pumping output? Good luck! Suzy
What you need to do is make the point that bringing your baby with you will make you MORE productive, not less -- and that you'll be grateful to your employer for the opportunity to prove it. Assuming you are a valued employee, your supervisors should be willing to at least let you give it a try.
For one thing, working while you nurse a baby in a sling is a lot easier than working while pumping -- at least, I have found it so. Especially if you'd be pumping somewhere other than at your desk. For another, you'll be much more able to work longer hours if necessary when you have your baby with you than you would if you had to conform to a daycare schedule. And, of course, bringing your baby to work will allow you to do more work than you would if you simply stayed home -- perhaps it's not really feasible for you to take a longer maternity leave or to quit your job, but if push came to shove you would certainly have that option, and your employer knows it.
You might also offer to accept a somewhat reduced salary, temporarily, or to give up some other benefit, in recognition of the time and attention you will be giving to your baby while on the job.
I'm currently bringing my almost-9-month-old to work with me, full time; I returned part time when she was 3 months and then increased my hours to full time when she was 7 months. It's worked out very well. I did the same, part time, with my firstborn, between the ages of 3 months and 6 months.
Fortunately I work for a small firm and never had to do much in the way of persuading my boss to let me try this, but I can assure you that although bringing baby to work can be hard, it's a lot better than the available alternatives -- for you and for your employer. I'd be happy to talk more about my experience with you, or your supervisors, by email. holly
i work in an office and i have great pictures of my son asleep on my desk next to my computer. i bought an extra bouncy seat with a toy bar on it and kept him on the floor next to my chair when he got a little ''older''. we worked together 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, from age 3 months to about 7 months. he was certainly getting too old and needing alot more of my attention so it simply didn't work anymore and i was asked to make other arrangements.
we started out the first few weeks sort of on probation. i insisted that they not spare my feelings if they thought the arrangement wasn't working, but fortunately for me i had a very good baby (but i'm not biased at all!) he never cried, never fussed, slept alot, i was told often by coworkers that they ''forgot he was there''. this would have been an impossible arrangement had he been fussy or colicky.
i had the same reasons as you, breastfeeding was a huge issue with us. it was pretty important to me to do whatever i could to make that successful. when he needed to eat, we would excuse ourselves to the conference room and lock the door. it was very quiet and seldom used. (although i can remember one time trying to feed him at my desk with his blanket over us and one of our project managers walked it...i've never seen a grown man turn so red, so quickly) i was in an unusual position that NOBODY in my office had kids. NONE. i was it! only a handful of others were even married or even coupled! When I announced my pregnancy, there was alot of scrambling to figure out what the maternity leave policy was (I think I got a pretty generous deal, probably because they didn't know what to do with me!) I told them all from the beginning that I could work from home, but was constantly hearing ''it would be better if you could be in the office'' which lead to the unusual arrangement we ended up with.
i don't know how to tell you the surefire answer to ''convince'' the supervisor of the arrangement, but only offer you support and a precedent and assure you that although difficult, it is possible to ''have it all''...career and family. if you want to talk about it further or have other questions, contact the moderator for my email.
been there, done that
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