While being a working parent does present a lot of challenges when it comes to scheduling time to bond with your baby, it is completely manageable and many parents do it! It might not be easy at first, but if you stay organized and flexible, you can set up a routine where you can have quality time with your little one and still excel in your career. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with having to go back to work after maternity or paternity leave, then consider the following options to help make your transition a little easier.
Prioritize Skin-to-Skin Contact
Whenever possible, hold your baby close. This intimacy strengthens their bond with you and is wonderful for the overall well-being of both you and your baby. If you are working from home, consider using a baby carrier or sling while you work at your desk. While they snooze, you can keep a close eye on them. When they do need to be put down while you work, you can set them in a baby swing or bassinet next to your desk.
Focus on Your Family
While you don’t have to cut out everything you used to do before your baby was born, you will have to be more selective with who you spend your time with and what activities you do. Let your friends know that you won’t have as much time to spend with them, but that you are only a phone call away. Keeping them in the loop without going out for dinner and drinks all the time will allow you to have a support system without feeling burnt out. Plus, it means that if you ever need a backup babysitter, you’ll have someone reliable. Spend as much time at home with your family as possible during the first year to make sure you establish a strong bond with your baby.
Stay Flexible with Work
Since the pandemic, a lot of workers have started doing at least some work remotely. If your company is allowing you to continue to work from home, take advantage of the flexibility while you can. If you are back in the office, consider asking your supervisor to take one or two days to work remotely per week. We understand this is not always possible depending on what type of job you have. If you are in a job where it’s impossible to do any work from home, then perhaps you can take your lunch breaks to drive home and be with your baby.
Consider Your Baby’s Perspective
If you’re struggling to bond with your baby, take some time to think about what they see, how they might feel, and their likes and dislikes. One way to do this is to engage in floor time with your baby and see what they see. By getting to know your baby in this way, you can be better attuned to their desires and needs.
Create Special Shared Moments
Whether you sing to your baby every night before they fall asleep, or you tickle and play with them in the mornings when they wake up, make sure that you integrate special moments into your busy workday to show your baby that you care. Nursing can be a very sweet bonding time, so try to let go of stress and the outside world while you are feeding your baby. The same is true of bathtime, which is necessary, but can also be fun and relaxing for both of you.
While you are wearing many hats as a working parent, it’s important to let the small stuff go. In the past, you might have cooked dinner from scratch. Now, you barely have time to reheat a frozen meal. Don’t stress too much about the things that don’t matter and enjoy this sweet time with your baby.