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It can be difficult juggling your career and your family, and you may wonder how some people do it.
While at times it can be difficult, it’s important to make time for your baby.
Start by learning your baby’s cues and responding to them if there is a need.
Bond over daily activities such as waking up in the morning, meals, and bathtime.
Finally, make some adjustments in your own life so that you can spend the time you need with your little one.
Getting in Tune with Your Baby
Understand your baby’s cues.
Watch your baby’s body movements, facial expressions, and vocalizations to figure out what they are trying to communicate.
Over time, you may be able to distinguish an “I’m tired” cry from an “I want a diaper change” cry.
The more sensitive you become to your baby’s needs, the faster you can meet that need and the better your bond can become, which is important if you spend limited time with your baby.
Notice the types of environments your baby enjoys.
Some babies prefer noise and excitement while others like a quiet, relaxed environment.
Make the most of your time together by being sensitive to these things.
Talk to your baby.
Your baby will enjoy the sound of your voice.
Narrate what’s happening around you and what you’re going to do next.
Talk about everyday tasks by saying, “Now we’re putting on your socks.
One sock, two socks. Now it’s time to change your diaper.”
Even if you’re getting ready for work, talk to your baby and let them know what is happening.
Sing to your baby and share the joy of music.
You may feel silly, but allow your child to hear your voice and enjoy your songs.
Follow your baby’s lead.
Be sensitive to your baby’s actions, wants, and interactions.
Keep communication a two-way street by being attentive to your baby’s cues and showing your baby that you understand.
If your baby coos at you, verbalize back. Mimic the sounds your baby makes and acknowledge your baby’s desire to communicate with you.
While you may be tired or in a bad mood, your child may want to interact with you, even after a long day’s work.
Go along with what your baby would like to initiate.
Save some energy after your workday to interact with your baby.
Use a predictable schedule.
Babies can benefit from following a regular and predictable schedule.
When it comes to your work schedule, keep it as predictable as possible so your baby knows it can look forward to seeing you.
Be able to adapt to any new changes or adjustments that are needed as your baby develops.
For example, if you tend to wake up early to spend time with your baby, be flexible if your baby starts needing to sleep late and make up the time at the end of the day.
Have a greeting ritual.
Have a ‘just got home from work’ ritual with your baby.
Greet your baby the same way each day: a hug, a kiss, and an “I’m happy to see you!” You can also engage in the same activity each time you reunite.
For example, play peek-a-boo, give your baby a massage, sing a song, or go outside for a walk together.
This kind of predictability can help your baby adjust and look forward to seeing you.
Using Special Time to Bond
Spend time alone with your baby.
If you constantly have friends or family over for the weekends, consider taking at least one day off to spend with your baby.
Do activities that involve just you and your baby.
That way, your baby will be focused on you and nobody else.
You can also spend time together with your partner and your baby.
Engage in play, touch, and laughter.
Cherish the little moments with your baby.
Engage in eye contact, touch, laughter, and play.
It’s not just your baby who enjoys these moments; they can feel greatly fulfilling to you, too.
Your tone of voice, touch, and interaction style can all help strengthen the bond between you and your baby.
Set aside special time before you go to work or after you get home for these activities.
Your baby may begin to look forward to these special times together.
Find things that make your baby smile or laugh and make a daily habit to have these types of interactions.
Bond over bathtime.
Bathtime can be a fun and bonding time to spend with your baby.
Many babies enjoy taking baths and find them calm and relaxing.
Use this time to engage with your child and interact through play.
Let your child splash and play without rushing them to hurry up.
Set aside adequate time to enjoy and relax through the bath.
A bath can be nice before bedtime, especially if your baby has difficulty falling asleep.
Even if your baby doesn’t need a bath, use baths to relax and calm your baby.
Enjoying every moment with your baby is important when you’re a working parent, and having a calm and relaxed baby can help you enjoy these moments instead of feeling frazzled.
Make feeding time special
Nursing mothers can spend quality time with their babies through breastfeeding.
Make eye contact with your baby and enjoy the contact on your baby’s skin on your own.
If you bottle feed, skin-on-skin contact can boost bonding with your baby during feeding.
While your baby may receive feedings from a care provider through the day, make the feeding time with you special by including the special contact.
Fathers can practice feeding their babies with a bottle using skin contact as well.
Give a baby massage.
When your opportunities to spend time together are limited, choose an activity that maximizes bonding potential.
Babies, especially premature babies and those with medical problems, greatly enjoy massages.
Touch is an important way to connect with your baby.
If you give your baby medications or if your child has a hard time with certain activities, work in a massage to help calm your baby.
Bonding through baby massage can help your baby feel safe, secure, and close with you.
Learn how to give your baby a massage by checking out How to Massage a Baby.
Devote some time to kangaroo care.
Kangaroo care is when you hold your baby up against your skin.
This type of holding is thought to improve your baby’s development, and it may also help to promote bonding.
Try holding your baby while wearing a tank top so that they can have more contact with your skin.
Make sure that the baby’s skin can make contact with yours as well, such as by holding your baby while they are wearing only a diaper.
Making Personal Adjustments
Let go of being a perfect parent.
Don’t feel guilty or ashamed of wanting or needing to work with a baby.
Even if you spent every moment of every day with your child, there’s no way you could be a perfect parent.
Having a bond with your baby means spending quality time together and being responsive to one another.
A securely attached baby has their cues understood at least one-third of the time (not every time).
Even if you don’t understand your baby’s cue, keep trying and recognize that one miss won’t destroy your bond.
If you miss your baby’s cue, do your best to correct for it and meet the need.
If you do miss your baby throughout the day while you’re at work, make the time you do spend together in quality interactions.
Use a baby carrier for routine activities.
If your baby is small enough to fit in a front-facing carrier, bring your baby with you on errands and along for your daily activities.
This can give you and your baby that feeling of closeness while you go about your routine activities such as cleaning the house, making dinner, or folding laundry.
Your baby can look at you, feel your body, and know that you’re close.
If your baby prefers a bouncer or cradle, face your baby toward you as you do activities so that they can watch you.
A sling can also be helpful for providing closeness while keeping your hands free to do other things.
Carrying your baby in a sling can provide benefits to your baby as well, such as giving them more opportunities to learn and making them feel more secure.
Have someone to run errands.
Parents who use a nanny or a babysitter can consider sending them to make quick errands for you during the day.
That way, you can come straight home and spend time with your little one.
You can also check out agencies that specialize in errand-running so that you can have the groceries ready, mail sent, and laundry picked up without you having to worry about it.
Consider the costs of the services versus the benefits of spending more time with your baby.
Allow siblings to bond, too.
Just as it’s important for a baby to bond with parents, it’s also important for siblings to create a bond.
Let older siblings gently play or take care of the baby.
Let your child play next to the baby or hold the baby with supervision.
Allow them to begin their relationship successfully.
Let older children participate in bonding activities such as bathtime, feeding, and giving skin contact.
Look into on-site daycare.
If your workplace offers on-site daycare, then this could be an excellent way for you to spend more time with your baby.
You could visit during your lunch hour or go down on breaks to breastfeed your baby.
If your employer offers on-site daycare, pay a visit to see what it is like.