Infant Essentials: What to Pack when Bringing Baby to the Office
In one of my previous blogs, I spoke about how to work remotely with small children since so many employees were staying home due to the coronavirus. However, now that some local governments are trying to gradually lift the stay at home orders, some businesses are requiring their employees to come back to work, yet not all schools or daycares are following suite.
As such, there are parents who find themselves in the difficult position of needing to bring their children with them to work.
This can be a difficult transition to make, especially when the child is a baby, but these are difficult times we find ourselves in. If you’re lucky enough to work somewhere that allows you to bring your baby into the office, you’ll want to make sure you’re properly prepared.
First and foremost, you’re going to need a good diaper bag.
A good diaper bag should be big enough to carry all the other essential items while still at a size that is manageable enough for you to wear. Ideally, your diaper bag should have multiple pockets or compartments to help you organize your supplies, and make sure the interior has a waterproof lining in case of spills. Some diaper bags also include a changing pad, but not all do, so pay attention to this when making your selection. It’s worth noting that, in some cases, a tote bag or backpack intended for other purposes actually makes for an excellent diaper bag, so be sure to browse a variety of options before making your decision.
Right then, once you’ve got a dependable means of carrying all your items, it’s time to start filling it up.
The most obvious contents will of course be diapers, a good rule of thumb is to bring at least one diaper for every hour you expect to be out with your baby, but a better rule is to bring a few extra on top of that. Next up, you’re going to want some wipes, preferably in a conveniently sized travel pack so they won’t take up too much space in the bag. Look for a brand that’s soft enough to be used on your baby’s skin, but strong enough to handle cleaning up your baby’s messes. Browse online reviews before making your purchase, see what people have said about the way their children’s skin has reacted to the cleaning agents and how durable the wipes are when it really counts. You may be tempted to go for the cheapest brand you find to save money, but that small saving could end up costing you a lot later on.
Now that you’ve got diapers and wipes to spare, you’ll need sealable bags to store them in. Yes, you’ll be putting them all in the diaper bag, but you still want to keep them secure from any potential leaks or spills, especially the ones that you already use. Not all offices have a place you can properly dispose of soiled diapers and wipes, so storing them in a sealed bag allows you to dispose of them later without creating an odor in the office now.
These items are bound to take up quite a lot of space in your diaper bag, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to essentials. You’ll also want to bring a spare change of clothes (both for the baby and for yourself), nursing pads in case of any leaks, bibs and burp cloths, a nursing pillow for support, as well as any bottles or baby food you might be using. Fitting all that stuff in a single bag, even one with a plethora of pockets, is no simple feat. I strongly encourage you to take the time you need to carefully review which items are most important to you, how well your bag can store them in its many compartments, and to pack as much of it as you can ahead of time. The less you have to grab in the morning, the better off you’ll be.
Granted, there will always be some things you can’t pack up the night before, like any baby food you’ll be bringing, or some of their favorite toys to keep them occupied at the office.
Your child will need something to keep their attention while you’re working on your assignments, and if you have the space for it, some bassinets and baby swings come with built in mobiles or other such attachments to keep your baby amused. They often come in different shapes and colors to help stimulate your baby’s developing mind, and some even make different noises or play music when your child interacts with them, but this can be a double edged sword in the workplace. Yes, it’s important to expand your child’s mind, but it’s equally important to minimize distractions to your coworkers. Unless you have your own office and can close your door, avoid letting your baby play with loud toys when at the workplace.
Being able to bring your baby to the office is a privilege, one that not many employees get to enjoy. It’s true that this is because so many workplaces simply aren’t safe for a little one, but even those that are may be hesitant to allow bringing in babies. Much like bringing a pet to work, always check to make sure your company allows it, never assume it will be alright and just show up to work with a little one in tow. Still, circumstances being what they are, explaining the situation to your employer ahead of time will hopefully garner you some sympathy, and considerate employers will work with you to make the necessary accommodations.
Like all changes, there will inevitably be some missteps before you find a balance, and your performance may be impacted in the beginning. Indeed, babies are not ones for routine, and your child’s needs will no doubt force you to be flexible with your schedule. However, once you find a working rhythm, you’ll be able to meet your parental duties and professional responsibilities simultaneously.