Life with a newborn isn’t easy. Newborn babies mean extremely long nights with no consistent hours of sleep, diaper changes in a pitch-black room, and breastfeeding on demand every 2-3 hours. I’m so used to being the primary caretaker for our babies and kids. My entire day was scheduled around pick-ups and drop-offs but that’s all over now. I took a nanny role which requires me to be away from the kids most of the day. My husband who was always the daytime worker, now he’s going to be the hands-on superstar daddy because we’re switching roles!
With Aria, I had the luxury of working remotely from home for the first two years before she went to school. This time, I had only 8 weeks before I had to go back to work. Ugh, playtime with my chicken nugget is over! It was the hardest thing ever to imagine being away from my little baby for 38 hours out of the week. I’m dreading all of the things I’ll miss if I’m at work whether it’s his first word or him learning to scoot around. I will actually cry if he walks for the first time while I’m away.
The hardest part about going back to work is working out the logistics for childcare. He’s too little for us to feel comfortable going to a large daycare center. I’m horrified about the types of stories I see and read about regarding child care staff members harming or neglecting babies who are too young to speak or defend themselves.
Luckily, Dezmond is a business owner so we were able to work out our schedules so that I could work until 6 and he will work evenings and weekends. That way, the kids will be with one of us throughout the day and not in the hands of a stranger. Aria is also old enough to be going to school full-time (until 3:30) so that allows him to focus his time on our cluster-feeding baby. I can’t say that switching roles doesn’t come without heartburn. We had to put in fool-proof systems in place so I wasn’t worried about the house burning down with all of them in it.
Here’s what I did to help daddy prepare for full-time diaper duty
Put everything in designated bins. Keeping yourself organized is key to making sure things go smoothly. For instance, we have 6 main bins. Diapers/wipes, burp cloths & linen, lotions and creams, daytime clothes & undershirts, jumpers, and outerwear/socks/shoes.
Label everything. You can never be too thorough! Avery brand makes labels of all sizes that you can write on yourself or print them out on your home printer. Stick them on and reinforce them with clear packing tape on the front of your bins to “laminate” them.
Make a baby manual. I have an entire PDF I created in Canva that’s full of info every new child caregiver would need. There’s a morning checklist, a health information sheet, a “where is it” location guide, emergency contact form, and diaper bag checklist.
Re-stock the baby bag at night. Make sure that the bag is stocked with 8-10 diapers, a change of clothes, extra socks, a pacifier, a burp cloth, an empty bottle, changing table pad, and a pack of wipes. We also keep a lavender essential oil roller and natural dissolvable chamomile tablets for Sire just in case of fussy days or when teething begins.
Pre-make bottles at night. Make sure you make 3-4 bottles and fill it with the desired amount of breastmilk or formula. I pump during work so that’s what he’ll eat until he runs out of it and then the rest of the day until I get home he eats Organic Similac bottles and resumes breastfeeding when I get off.
It’s going to feel super weird for the first couple weeks, but I know I’ll get used to it. The most important thing to remember is that he’s healthy and he’ll be fine for a few hours each day while I have to work. I know he’s in good hands with his daddy who magically has a newfound respect and appreciation for stay-at-home moms and understands that work productivity can be drastically impacted when you have a small baby. Who woulda thought?!
I’m with you.
For all my working mamas, when did you go back to work and where did you find help with childcare?