A lot of people prefer working remotely these days, and it’s great that many companies offer this option now — especially for new parents.
While we’re not saying it’s impossible, working full-time with a newborn is incredibly hard. It requires incredible willpower and a steady mindset, especially when you consider how tiring these responsibilities can be.
If you need some inspiration for how to work from home with a baby, we’ve provided some tips and hacks from career moms themselves!
How to Work from Home with a Baby
It’s not even a question of “Can you work from home with a baby?” Every parent knows how chaotic the first year (and beyond) can be.
If you want to work from home more effectively, these practical steps might help you with your planning, organization, and patience.
1. Learn to Be More Adaptable
Unpredictable situations will arise when working from home with a newborn or toddler. There are going to be plenty of cleanups, late-night feeding, and crying — and that will lead to exhaustion during your working day. You might have to leave a meeting early because your baby is sick.
The only thing you can do is learn how to adapt to stressors that cross your path. Expect the chaos, and prepare yourself with multiple methods to mitigate anxiety.
2. Make Routines and Stick to Them
Your existing routines will go out the window with a new baby. If you need to focus on parenting responsibilities, work, and taking care of yourself, you need to make that time happen.
Brenda Kosciuk, a mom/Spanish and English teacher/CEO of Paper Heart Family, explains,
“One practical piece of advice I can offer from personal experience is to incorporate your baby into your work routine. This could mean having your baby sit with you while you work or setting up a play area near your workspace. By involving your baby in your work, you get to spend more time with them and model the importance of working hard and being productive. Plus, it’s a great way to foster a sense of togetherness and connection with your little one.”
Once you’ve established an effective routine with your child, make sure that you follow it as consistently as possible. Life might get in the way sometimes, but a routine can help you carve out self-care you might otherwise forget about.
3. Plan Ahead
Your daily plan requires tackling tasks in a limited amount of time. That means incorporating ways to maintain your focus, despite many distractions.
Make plans to be more intentional in spending personal time and finishing your tasks. Once per week and before bed every night, create prioritized lists of deadlines, doctor appointments, shopping lists, and more.
Since things obviously come up, we might recommend a productivity planner for its incredible flexibility. If your child doesn’t go to sleep in the afternoon, a few clicks can get your schedule back on track.
For example, you can block schedules for baby duties each day:
|6:30 AM||Wake up to prep your baby’s needs|
|8:00 AM||Wake up, feed, and dress your baby|
|9:00 AM||Quick playtime with your baby, time to briefly check on work|
|10:00 AM||Exercise and physical activity time with baby|
|11:30 AM||Lunchtime for you and your baby|
|12:00 PM||Naptime for baby, time for focusing on work|
|3:00 PM||TV, snack, or playtime for baby while you continue to work|
|4:00 PM||Quick break to spend with your baby|
|6:00 PM||Dinner for you and your baby|
|7:30 PM||Work while your baby is sleeping|
4. Maximize Your Hours
Working full-time with a newborn means you’ll need every minute you can get. Aside from planning your day, you also have to take advantage of downtime. For example, the obvious time to focus on work is while your baby is napping
Anna McMillan (Sleep coach and owner of Little Sleep Winks) expresses, “Set realistic expectations for work and baby. Your child has a short attention span, so let’s plan those smaller tasks for while they’re with you and your brain-intensive projects when they’re sleeping.”
5. Be Transparent
It’s always best to communicate with your client/team. Letting them know you’re a new parent can help build trust and understanding. Your personal schedule won’t always match up with your meetings or sessions — just be open about what you’re dealing with.
This understanding allows adjustments (like rescheduling meetings and deadlines) while setting more realistic expectations for your work.
6. Have Everything You Need Nearby
When you’re working from home with a baby, maintain momentum by having things handy throughout the day.
Lisa Tanner, a freelance writer, suggests, “Keep everything you need near your home office. Stash diapers and wipes in your desk drawer, as well as a few quiet baby toys and board books nearby.”
She also adds, “Rotate the toys every week so they don’t get bored. You’ll also want to have a safe place (like a playpen) to put your baby while you’re working. This way, they can’t access anything dangerous.”
7. Find Creative Ways to Carve out Time
When working from home with a baby, you’ll need to use your time wisely and creatively. That means optimizing your hours by squeezing multiple tasks in.
- Consider taking an audio call while breastfeeding (as long as you’re comfortable).
- Multitask by listening to audiobooks while doing household chores.
- Prep baby food for multiple days during naptime.
- Combine computer work with exercise via an under-the-desk pedal exerciser.
8. Maximize Technology
Use technology to your advantage. For example, during playtime, use your phone with wireless earphones (be sure to filter out background noise). Technology can do so much, but it requires the right devices. Ensure they’re compatible with your new lifestyle, so take your time to look review audio devices, phones, and laptops for working from home.
One of the working moms we interviewed, Brenda Kosciuk, recommends using as many tools and resources as possible to stay organized. One of her suggestions includes different productivity and work-from-home apps!
9. Ask For Help
Being at home full-time with a child means you’ll inevitably feel frustration and exhaustion. You’re human. If you need extra hands, ask someone for assistance.
Maybe you can partially switch shifts with your partner. Perhaps a family member or friend could come once per week. If you have the budget, consider an occasional babysitter or temporary nanny.
Staying Productive While Working Remotely with a Baby
You might hear people recommend checking out productivity books and booking sessions to stay productive while taking care of your kid. And while those do work, sometimes you need simple reminders to stay on track.
Here are a few ways to stay productive — even when working from home with an infant.
10. Try Time Blocking
When you work on everything at home, it’s difficult to stay on track, especially if you’re drowning in work tasks or emails.
With time blocking, you divide your day into blocks of time and assign a task for each of them.
The goal is to accomplish those tasks within that time block before moving on to the next. That way, you won’t feel too tempted to do everything at once (or like you need to do everything immediately).
11. Set Realistic Goals
While working from home with an infant, unexpected situations will absolutely pop up. You might miss a deadline or a meeting will be moved suddenly. Don’t let it get you down.
Be realistic and set your goals accordingly. Think of it this way: If you need to watch over your baby until the evening, you may be unable to focus on your job. That means you shouldn’t offer to take on extra responsibilities.
Set your expectations according to your availability. If you aren’t able to complete them, you’ll avoid feeling disappointed later.
12. Eliminate Other Distractions
Is the television too loud? Is your phone buzzing with social media notifications? Try to get rid of extraneous distractions around you.
It’s much easier to set your pace when there are fewer deterrents around you. When you’re working, minimize the time spent watching videos and browsing social media. If that’s difficult, consider downloading a social media blocker on your phone or computer.
13. Focus on Results
If you need to take care of your baby during working hours, there’s no telling when you’ll get a real break.
With your employer, consider discussing a way to complete your tasks and maintain your work priorities — without being constantly available during office hours.
While some employers are kind enough not to require you to clock in and out, others may not be as generous. Try to communicate a schedule that focuses on results and lets you accomplish solid work between multiple childcare breaks.
14. Get Enough Rest
It might sound impossible to find time to rest, but self-care should always be a priority. This includes getting enough sleep, taking a break between time crunches, eating proper meals, and practicing good hygiene. These extra minutes can do a lot more for your productivity than you think, so give yourself enough “you” time to prepare for difficult tasks ahead.
Lisa (a freelance writer) expresses that taking breaks to spend time with your baby is one way to let them know you’re always nearby – even if you step away to work for a bit!
15. Consider Taking a Course
From practicing strong communication skills to building understanding, taking a parenting and childcare course might provide you with more confidence before the baby arrives.
Tips for Staying Motivated as a New Parent
Working remotely can leave you feeling overwhelmed and isolated. Add new parenting responsibilities, and that can tip the scales. We’ve provided actionable tips to ensure greater balance and motivation in your day-to-day life.
16. Communicate with Others
The majority of people are compassionate. If you’re struggling with work, speak to your boss. If you’re overwhelmed by housework or sleeplessness, ask your partner or a family member to step in. People can’t read your thoughts, so be sure to communicate your feelings and concerns in a productive way.
17. Take Personal Time
You don’t necessarily need to plan a solo vacation, but take some moments throughout each week. Whether it’s a luxurious bubble bath, grabbing a latte at a nearby cafe, or going to yoga class, it’s important to stay connected with yourself. If you’re heading out of the house, why not ask a friend or family member to watch your baby during the times they’re usually napping?
18. Gratitude Journalling
There are countless reasons to write down your blessings every day: It can reduce anxiety levels, improve the quality of your sleep, and increase positive feelings towards yourself.
19. Start a Hobby
Maybe you’ve always wanted to grow a herb garden. Maybe it’s time to learn how to knit or crochet. If cooking helps you unwind, check out meal prep sites that’ll save you loads of time. Whatever you decide, a hobby is an amazing way to do something that’s just for you.
20. Focus on Your Physical Health
When juggling multiple responsibilities, many people forget about caring for their physical selves. Even if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night, make sure that you’re eating a balanced diet and squeezing ten minutes of exercise into your day.
21. Find Other Parents
Whether you meet in real life or over Zoom calls, it’s always great to have other parents to lean on, vent to, and ask childcare questions. Who knows? You might discover a lifelong friend in the process!
22. Speak to a Professional
As a new mother, your body has gone through huge changes. Between hormonal shifts to sleep interruptions to deadlines, you have a lot going on. Postpartum depression is incredibly common in the weeks following the birth (and may extend through the first year). If you’re experiencing common symptoms, reach out to a trusted medical professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Work from Home Full Time with a Baby?
Yes, while it’s difficult, it’s definitely possible to work full-time at home with a baby. You’ll need to develop methods for using your time efficiently — without stepping away from your duties. Although it requires a certain amount of effort, finding ways to improve time management will improve productivity while providing enough personal time for you and your family.
Should I Go Back to Work or Stay Home with My Baby?
When making a huge decision about whether to go back to work or stay at home, consider your personal circumstances. If another guardian can take care of your baby, maybe you can go back to work when you feel ready (or your maternity leave ends). You should make childcare arrangements with a partner or family member before that time comes. If your finances or work position allows for it, consider what working from home with a baby will look like.
The Bottom Line
Working remotely while taking care of an infant is an overwhelming prospect for any parent. But curating a healthy mindset and following a daily routine can go a long way towards making the experience feel less stressful and complicated.
It takes time to learn how to work from home with a baby, so be sure to check out more parenting tips to keep yourself focused and excited!
- The 8 Best Laptops for Working From Home for Any Budget
- Top 11 Best Work-from-Home Apps
- The 9 Best Monitors for Home Offices: Boost Your Productivity
- 20 Bulletproof Excuses to Call Out of Work on Short Notice (& 5 You Should Avoid!)
Emma Collins is a tech writer for Productivity Spot. She's been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Data Recovery, Cybersecurity, Gaming, and more as a tech writer for over 6 years. You can find her work on many established tech websites, including Hackr.io, MakeUseOf, Help Desk Geek, Online Tech Tips, Switching To Mac, HandyRecovery, Cleverfiles, and more.