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Want to Bring Your Baby to Work? Some Companies are Allowing Just That
There are already enough questions to consider when bringing a new baby into the world.
What diapers should I use?
Should I bottle feed or breastfeed?
Am I dressing the baby in enough layers?
Too many layers?
Can I afford all this baby gear?
When will I get any sleep?
Trying to figure out what to do about to work is a whole ‘nother set of issues.
Many jobs have poor options for maternity leave or parental leave — if that’s even offered at all. Daycare can be hella expensive, but staying home to care for your child isn’t always financially feasible.
Even when paid leave is available or childcare won’t set you back drastically, some parents desire jumping right back into their normal work routine.
Turns out, that’s not such a crazy idea.
Babies at Work — It’s a Thing
After the birth of her third child, James decided this time around she did not want to be stuck at home isolated from her job and co-workers, even though she was offered paid leave.
“I decided to return to the office when Uma [her daughter] was 6 weeks old. But on her 1-month birthday, she still seemed so small and vulnerable,” James wrote.
“I wondered: Why couldn’t I bring Uma along with me to the office? I was already wearing her in a hands-free sling. She slept more than 15 hours per day, and… much of that sleep would continue to be during the day rather than at night.”
James ended up taking her daughter into work until she was about 4-and-a-half months old, when she started crawling. She says the experience was a positive one, with only minor distractions.
James acknowledged she was “lucky” to have been able to bring her child to work. She had no manager to tell her she couldn’t. Plus she worked in an environment that was conducive to doing so.
“If I’d been, for example, a cook, a doctor, a bus driver or a welder, I could never have tried it,” James wrote.
Starting an Infant-at-Work Program in Your Office
Through her experience, James learned about the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, which offers resources to help other parents get similar infant-at-work programs implemented at their jobs.
According to the institute, programs such as these could be used as a recruiting tool for employers. It states the benefits include an earlier return to work following a baby's birth and increased employee retention.
Expecting parents who want to approach their employers about bringing their baby to work can download a template from the institute’s website that outlines what a formal program would entail.
The institute also provides a list of companies that already have baby-inclusive programs in place. They range from small, privately-owned firms to large, government agencies.
For example, 128 babies of employees at the Kansas Department of Children and Families have been cared for on-the-job. Employees at the Arizona Department of Health Services have brought over 200 babies to work.
Companies have prasised the success of baby-inclusive programs in testimonials on the institute’s website.
“[The] babies-at-work program created goodwill and has been an excellent resource for our new moms,” said Larry Morgan, co-founder of Yala Designs in Ashland, Oregon. “However, for the moms, the financial value is huge as they don't have the added daycare expense.”
Your Turn: Would you bring your baby to work?
Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her child is no longer a baby, but she loves this idea for new moms.