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I had a baby about three months ago on December 24th. The reason I started my full-time business many years ago (I run a writing business) was so I could stay at home with my future babies and still be able to contribute financially to the household. Little did I know how very hard it is to productively work from home with a baby. I took about two months completely off from my business, and have slowly been taking on new projects this month. It took some adjustments (serious ones), but I’ve been able to successfully submit client work, manage the casa, and take care of baby. As many women are now staying home and working with children around, I wanted to share some tips from my experience doing work from home with a baby, specifically a fairly new baby, for about a month.
How to Productively Work from Home With a Baby
Don’t schedule a damn thing
I’m completely serious. Read anything online about children and you’ll see “you need a schedule, get a routine and put them on a schedule” repeated a million times.
Here’s the thing—babies are abnormal creatures. They don’t know how to stick to a schedule especially very early on. They go to sleep whenever, wake up whenever, and nap whenever. I was so stringent with trying to create a schedule at first that it drove me crazy. She was too young and I wasted hours of the day trying to put her to sleep at a specific time when she didn’t want to go down. And when she did go down, it would be for a short cat nap because she was so fussy.
Throw out the mofo schedule. Roll with the punches until you both fall into a natural rhythm during the day. The schedule will appear on its own. Don’t force naps, for example. Instead, watch for sleepy signs like the slow blink or rubbing of the eyes. Then put the baby down and use that precious time to get some work done. Working with her has actually pushed me to be more productive during each hour because I know I only have a certain amount of time to get things done.
For us, the loose schedule is:
- 5 AM — Feeding and back to sleep
- 8 AM — Feeding, wake up, get dressed for the morning, little play, little coffee
- 9:30 AM — Swing nap
- 11:30ish AM — Feed and hang out time
- 12 PM — Max 1hr of watching nursery rhymes on YouTube
- 1 PM — Nap time
- 3ish PM — Feed, boppy time, play mat time, hang out with momma time
- 5ish PM — Cat nap time
- 6 PM — Dad’s home to take over, feed, mom’s free work time
- 9 PM — Feed, transition to bed/lights out, story time, wipe down with a wash rag or bath
- 10 PM — Bed time
Again, this is a completely loose work from home with schedule and something that just kind of worked out. You have to figure out what works for you. I’m aware of our flow now so I’m able to find hours of time that I can focus completely on work.
I’m also not a morning person… if I were I would likely wake up a bit earlier to do work before she gets up for the day. Allowing the baby watch to TV is a personal choice as well. We decided as a team that we’re okay with her watching up to 1 hour of educational YouTube nursery rhymes per day.
Do your pressing tasks in the morning
Babies generally take longer naps in the morning. I know you need sleep mama, but try not to sleep in during the precious morning naps. Procrastination for me is no longer a thing. Get important tasks you need finished in the morning so you’ll be free in the afternoon and late evening when the baby is asking for some attention. I know that I need to get the serious stuff down before 2/3ish each day because after that she’s awake and ready to mingle.
Get a good pump bra
For those breast feeding ladies out there, you may spend several hours per day pumping. I pretty much exclusively pump because baby squirrel (her nickname LOL) isn’t so into latching. I mean, she hates it. And I haven’t had the time to see a lactation consultant so it is what it is. I didn’t get a pump bra sadly so now I kind of just tuck the dual pump into my nursing bra. Pump time needs to be hands-free so you can get stuff done.
Outsource if you can
If you work for a company, you probably won’t be able to outsource work to a contractor. In this case, delegating to your staff is the opportunity here. Don’t try to do everything on your own.
If you own your own business, hire in people to do the work you can’t manage. I hired someone to help me with editing tasks for my writing business this month and it was a GODSEND. I’m planning on continuing to outsource the RIGHT things because this means I’ll be able to spend more time with baby squirrel while scaling my business. I want to work from home with a baby, but I also want to make sure I’m spending time with her.
Use a wrap or carrier
I’m still figuring out the best way to use the wrap and carrier. Some days she loves it and some days she hates it. But she likes to be close to mom in the afternoons so it’s something that I’m continuing to experiment with.
Go for walks
Walking is a good way to get baby some stimulation. I found the more stimulation she gets the more tired she gets which is good for nap times and bed times. Walk around the block if you can. Getting fresh air is also good when you’re starting to go crazy from being indoors all the time.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with a baby. I’m going to be completely honest—I thought working with a baby at home would be a lot easier than it is. If you’re struggling or feeling defeated, this is completely normal. Some days will be better than others and that’s okay. Time management is the KEY throughout all of this.
Don’t ever wait until the last minute to work on tasks. I’m starting to work towards deadlines a week plus in advance now because I know that jobs are taking me longer. Be realistic. Don’t set yourself up to be superwoman because it’s just going to make you feel bad when you’re unable to do everything under the sun.
You’ve got this! If I can work from home with a baby, you can too!
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