How to Work from Home with a Baby (And Actually Get Things Done)

Wondering if it’s possible to care for a baby and work from home? Discover how to work from home with a baby and still get the job done.

How to Work from Home with a Baby“I love working from home,” my friend said. “I avoid the commute, I’m more focused, and all our meetings are virtual.”

Her secret? She doesn’t have kids.

Working from home is nearly perfect for the many who can set their own work hours and remain uninterrupted all day.

But for parents of young kids—especially those with a baby at home—working from home can, let’s just say, be a bit of a juggle.

I certainly understand the struggle of being a work from home mom. After I gave birth to my eldest, I went back to work on a part-time schedule, including working two days from home.

The job—and my personality—suited remote working. But caring for an infant while keeping up at work added an extra layer of complexity.

You see, I worked from home without childcare. I didn’t have a nanny, babysitter, or family members to play with the baby while I was on the computer. Nor did I sign up for daycare where I could drop him off even for a few hours.

Nope—it was just me and him. Trying to concentrate when you hear your baby awake from naptime, crying in the next room, isn’t exactly easy.

Still, the benefits of working from home played out well and balanced my needs at the time. I was able to save money on childcare, keep my salary, and earn benefits, and spend time with my baby. I also performed so well that I even got a promotion despite the flexibility of my remote work schedule.

For many working moms, working from home became a non-negotiable with the covid-19 pandemic. With so much of the world shut down, we all hopped on a laptop, all on our own.

Spend Time with the Baby

How to work from home with a baby

The ease of working from home with a baby does rely on the type of job you have, your self-discipline, and the ability to manage your own workload. You’ll also have better luck if you have another adult you can tag team with and take shifts.

I’ll even go a step further and say not all kids are conducive for parents to work from home.

My eldest happened to have a knack for focusing on activities for long stretches of time. I knew I could show him something interesting, whether books, puzzles, or a new toy, and I wouldn’t hear from him for 45 minutes to an hour. Some kids need more attention or are more active.

But, if you’ve got the right factors in place and want to know how to work from home with a baby, here are a few helpful tips:

1. Focus on results, not hours

When discussing expectations with your employer, focus on results. You may not be at your desk during the usual 9-to-5 full time job, so make sure you’re keeping up with your workload.

Now that you’re working from home with a baby, you may need to find pockets of time like during naps, early mornings, evenings, and even weekends. Yes, you want to be as available as possible during business hours, but completing work and meeting deadlines are your main priorities.

It’s less about clocking in the hours as meeting your deadlines and completing tasks.

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2. Schedule deep work during uninterrupted time

If you have a project that needs your full concentration, save it for a time when you won’t get interrupted (or are less likely to be pulled away). Treat these periods as though you’re away from home and allow for emergency breaks only.

This may mean blocking out specific work-time in your daily schedule when your spouse or another adult is available to be with the baby.

Another idea is to work early mornings before everyone is awake, or late at night after the baby has gone to bed. These blocks of quiet time are perfect for important, high-concentration tasks. Save lighter or repetitive work for moments when your baby can self-entertain, such as right after feedings.

woman working at home

3. Practice focused productivity

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With your new work-at-home schedule, productivity and time management are even more crucial. One of my favorite books on the topic is The One Thing by Gary Keller, a fantastic guide on making the most of your time. You’ll learn the methods and systems to improve your workflow without sacrificing quality.

The perk of working at home with a baby? Your limited time will actually force you to concentrate. After all, when you know you only have a few hours of uninterrupted time a day, you’ll avoid distractions and useless “time wasting” tasks.

The right productivity tools will help you stay laser-focused and get as much completed as possible in a short amount of time.

4. Be picky with meetings

I’ve never been a fan of meetings, even when I worked in an office. We’ve all sat through hour-long meetings that should have finished in ten minutes.

Working from home, unfortunately, won’t mean the end of meetings. But with virtual meetings making a rise, they just might be more effective. You’re able to pop in and out of a meeting, allowing you to get back to work right away.

But which meetings should you even attend? Avoid time-wasting meetings by finding alternative ways to communicate. For instance, if someone wants to schedule a virtual meeting with you, offer to resolve the issue by email or a phone call first.

If you do need to attend a meeting, keep your time frame tight to prevent it from running too long. Having an agenda will keep everyone on the same page and let everyone know whether you’re starting to run too long.

5. Stock up on “emergency entertainment”

Even with the best planning and time-blocking skills, you’ll still find yourself needing to work while the baby is awake. For these moments, come equipped a few favorite toys and activities and encourage independent play.

Your baby might also enjoy a bouncer, baby swing, baby carrier, or wrap. Rotate toys to keep him engaged without having to buy new ones. Bring out favorite toys and entertainment when you need to focus or hop on a call.

Or at best, do repetitive work tasks during those times he’s awake so interruptions aren’t too much of a hassle.


Working a full-time job from home with a baby is no easy task. You feel guilty for working when your baby is playing alone. Yet you feel compelled to check your work email when you’re supposed to be spending family time together. You’re also on-call, whether with work or your baby.

Still, it’s possible to be productive and keep your sanity.

Focus on results instead of hours. Schedule complex tasks during uninterrupted work time (like when your baby is asleep in the crib), and improve productivity and time management.

Be picky with meetings, and rely more on email or even a quick phone call. And keep emergency entertainment on hand for those moments when you need to focus while your baby is awake.

I also want to end with this important tip: don’t let one stress the other.

Don’t get impatient with your baby because work is piling on the pressure. At the same time, remind yourself it’s okay to dedicate a weekend morning to work because doing so allowed you to be with your baby the day before.

Hopefully you’ll find an arrangement that fits your needs and routine. Balancing working from home with a baby is possible—even if you’re in the middle of a project and hear the dreaded cry signaling that nap time is over.

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  1. I am desperate for help. I do not know what else to do. What kind of consequences can a 21 month old really have? My issue is that I work from home. There is no daycare or nannies available (I live in a rural area) and I am just surprised I have not gotten fired because I literally cannot work. I end up exhausted working at night.

    I have a big play area with toys, swing, slide, tv with cartoons (that I use for emergencies, which slowly increase as deadlines and work accumulate), toy house, coloring books, cars, and in a small corner I have my desk with my computer. Well they want to be there between my feet. Moving my chair, hitting my keyboard with toys, sitting on my lap, grabbing my mouse. I literally do not get 20 minutes of work without any of these happening. I have gotten mad, cried, talked to the twins, used bribes, I have waited to explain to them why they cannot touch and type in my keyboard or run away with mouse. Nothing works. I cannot work. All I had was less than 2 hours for nap time. But now, one twin is going through a situation where he does not go to sleep or nap unless I am there holding him.

    My husband comes from work and they do not play with him, or listen to him reading them unless I am in the same room. They do not listen to him either. Family “secretly” thinks I spoil them, that they are “too sheltered.”

    I look around and there are toys on the floor everywhere. They just ignore me if I ask them to pick them up. I am clearly doing something wrong. But I do not know what consequences a baby can have. It is more a consequence for me not to let them watch a little tv. Other than that, not sure what to do here. I can’t continue not sleeping at night so I can get work done. Please give me some advice.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      No doubt, working from home without any type of child care is really, really difficult, especially for young toddlers and babies. I had done it with one baby working part time and that was pretty hard to manage. I would say that one thing that helped was to work at certain times of the day, delegating the difficult, high-concentration work to when they’re supposed to be napping or sleeping or yes, watching TV, and doing the more “regular” work when they’re in the room with you.

      For instance, if you have to concentrate on something difficult at work, try to do that project in the early morning when they’re still asleep, so that you can save the other types of work that don’t require your focus when they’re around.

      Then, I would also use the time your husband is home to do deep work as well, locking yourself in a room if need be. They don’t listen to their dad likely because they’re so used to you being around and will cry if you’re not there. But the only way to break that habit is if you continue to give your husband a chance to be with them on his own. The more you get involved or even stay in the room with them, the more they’ll cry for you to keep being in the room or not listen to their dad.

      Hopefully, after a while, they’ll learn that when you’re in the room, you’re unavailable, almost like you’re out of the house. You might even try to physically get out of the house if possible, like to a coffee shop to do work, especially if you have something important to handle.

      Then that way, when you ARE with them, you don’t have to feel guilty about not getting work done. And when you’re working, you’re 100% focused on work, and not having to discipline them too much.

      I hope that helps!