A Survival Guide for Work-from-Home Parents of Infants or Toddlers

More parents are working from home than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it can be nice to have your baby or toddler within easy reach throughout the day, juggling a job and child care is no easy feat!

Tasks like pumping milk and breastfeeding can be tricky, for example — and you can’t exactly do these things in the midst of a professional Zoom call. One solution is The New York Milk Bank, which helps moms get their babies the nutrition they need, distributing pre-screened, safe, pasteurized milk from donors to infants throughout the tri-state area.

This is just one of the many resources work-from-home parents have at their disposal. The below guide provides more survival tips and tools you can use to ensure you are able to focus on work while still giving your infant or toddler the care they deserve.

Create a dedicated workspace.

Although it can be tempting to simply set up your laptop wherever is convenient, arranging a dedicated office will help you focus. Designate a workspace and keep all your tools there. When spouses see you seated at your workstation, they will know not to interrupt. Toddlers and kids can likewise gain an understanding of a demarcated “quiet zone.” Marking off your work area with bright masking tape can help little kids recognize (and respect) the line.

Pack a diaper bag for the day.

If you’re staying home, there’s no need to pack a diaper bag — right? Having your kit of essentials like wipes and burp cloths easily at hand near your workspace can be helpful when working from home, however. If you’re mid-meeting and your baby starts fussing, you can step out quickly and have all the goods you need at hand to soothe your child. For older kids, include some easy entertainment, like their favorite toy or a tablet with some preloaded videos.

Make easy and efficient nutrition a priority.

Nutrition is a top priority for mom and child alike. Meal prep your lunches and dinners to cut down on cooking during the workweek. Greatist has a list of 30-minute meal prep recipes covering everything from sesame chicken pasta salad to turkey skillet. Luckily, for breast-feeding infants, meal prep needs are minimal. If you’re having trouble making enough milk, call on the help of a lactation consultant.

Take time for self-care.

New moms in particular may struggle to take time for themselves. So-called “mom guilt” is real! Be gentle to yourself. Take time for self-care, whether it’s taking a hot bubble bath or doing a face mask. If you’re run-down, consider adding a collagen supplement to your diet to support healthy joints, nails, and hair. Everybody is different, but most people see results in 12 weeks.

Call on your support network.

Working and parenting simultaneously can get overwhelming. Call on your support network as needed. Friends and family can drop off meals, run errands, or perform similar tasks. This allows you to focus on your duties at home, whether you need to devote some more time to work or want to spend quality time with your baby.

Working from home with a baby or toddler is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. The above guide provides some ideas on how to successfully manage. Above all, remember you aren’t in this alone. There are people and resources to help. Case in point: to receive or donate milk, visit The New York Milk Bank site today.

-Janice Russell