Babies at Work

[deleted account] ( 18 moms have responded )

There’s no question where babies come from. But there are plenty of questions about where they belong.

In a bar?
With a nanny?
Starting a new life with someone else?

Your recent comments here on other posts show there’s lots of spirited debate about responsibility when it comes to how and where we care for our kids.

So, do babies belong at the office every day?

Yes, say employers at more than 80 companies across the U.S., where parents are allowed and encouraged to bring their babies to work on a daily basis—keeping, feeding, and caring for them right at their desks.

Bosses who back the controversial new trend say it helps them retain vital employees who might otherwise not return after the birth of a baby.

After four employees at an Austin advertising firm got pregnant at the same time, the company’s president feared they wouldn’t come back. So she turned the workplace into nirvana for new parents. Baby mamas—and daddies—are offered private offices in which to work while tending fulltime to their infants, who are welcome to clock in every day until about nine months, when they usually start crawling. Babies regularly attend meetings and are frequently fed on the conference table.

The company says having babies on board is good for morale.

Not so for everyone, critics counter. They say babies at the office bring increased distraction and decreased productivity for both co-workers and parents, who can’t possibly focus fully on the job. And those without children, a job recruiter notes, “often come to resent the perception of coddled working parents.”

Tell us what you think: They say it takes a village to raise a child, but should it take an office, too? Do babies and work make a responsible mix?

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[deleted account]

I would appreciate that if I had worked in an office because I was breastfeeding. It is so much more convenient to have the baby with you instead of pumping.

But once the baby is weaned, I think it is a good idea for the company to offer on-site child care. I often said that if my school had a day care that my baby could be in, I might not have quit teaching. That way, I could be right there if the baby needed me or visit her on my breaks.

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18 Comments

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Sharon - posted on 02/23/2010

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You know? Daycare onsite is a better idea. Its not "paid for" at all. Its staffed and supplied by the parents. Either in shifts throughout the day or they use a day off to staff the daycare. Formula, diapers, foods for all the kids, toys etc would be provided by the parents.

Jodi - posted on 02/22/2010

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Daycare on premises would be ideal in an ideal world, but who pays for it? Having worked in many small businesses, I cannot see that it would be financially viable for small business, and I know for a fact that 80% of all businesses in Australia are small business. I am not sure what percentage of employees work for small business, but I can say that from a small business perspective, there isn't a hope in hell we could afford to provide an onsite daycare for employees. IF it came to government legislating that it was a right of all parents to have daycare facilities available, I'll be blatantly honest, we would stop employing people with families, because we would be struggling to feed our own. Harsh and selfish, yes, but that's reality.



But as I said, in an ideal world, onsite daycare would be the ultimate solution!!

[deleted account]

I personally think that's a bad idea. Work and family are two separate things and should be kept that way.

JL - posted on 02/21/2010

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Some workplaces I could see how it is appropriate depending upon the kid and their age. I personally think most work places should have on site affordable quality daycare where you can check in on your child and have lunch with them but I personally would not want my kids in my office with me....but then again I just imagining my hyperactive 2 year old son. Sheesh I can barely sit in a waiting room with him for over 2 minutes. I wouldn't get ANY work done at all and that would not be due to me focusing on being a mommy it would be due to him destroying things, climbing on stuff, constantly sneaking out of my office to harrass other workers, and ect. They would pay be me to work at home before allowing me to bring him to work.

[deleted account]

If i went back to work to be honest i wouldnt want to take the baby with me i'd want to appreciate the peace and quiet of a childless zone. I also think other peoples kids would piss me off more than my own so why would i want to work in a place where i have to put up with them too.

Rose - posted on 02/21/2010

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After my daughter was born i took her to work with me at 2 weeks old. It was nice because i got to spend that bonding time i needed to with her and i didn't have to take the whole 6 weeks off work. However i do work with my mother in law part time. I brought her with me till she could walk at 9.5 months old. When they start walking and being mobile it is hard to do your work and watch them at the same time. it gets so frustrating to. I think taking your child with you till they are mobile don't hurt nothing but after that i recommend child care of some sort. I plan on bringing my son with me to work when he is born at least till he can walk. Now i like to go to work alone because sad to say but that is the only time i get me time even tho i am at work.

Jodi - posted on 02/20/2010

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I am curious......of these 80 companies who allow parents to bring their babies in.....do they also pay them the same wages as those who DON'T bring babies in?



Personally, I think it is highly inappropriate.



However, having said that, when I was a single mother to my son (and also before I was a single mother but I may as well have been), I had times where my son was not able to go to daycare (i.e. conjunctivitis, things that weren't contagious to others, even when he had chickenpox but everyone in the office had already had it because I checked with them!!), and I took him to the office. However, I had my own office, and it was a large enough office that I could put a playmat down for him, with a bag full of toys and he would be happy for a couple of hours. I also only did a few hours there. I couldn't even IMAGINE doing a full day's work with a child in the office, that is just a ridiculous expectation. I used to then pack up and do the rest at home while he was in bed at night, LOL. It was also an extremely rare occurrence.



I now also run a business from home, and getting anything done with kids around is a real juggle. As an employer of other people, I have had an employee who has brought her child to work - he was the same age as my daughter. So the kids would play while we worked. HOWEVER, there were constant interruptions, and believe me, she did NOT get paid on an hourly basis. I was happy for her to attend to her child, the same as I did, because it was in my home, but it was not an hourly rate job, and there were no other employees.



I still work at home, and it is VERY difficult to get work done if I have kids home, and I think the constant interruptions that children bring can create a very unproductive environment. When someone else is paying you, it really isn't fair or appropriate. If its your own business, then good luck to you!! That's your prerogative.

Lise - posted on 02/20/2010

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I would say no, unless it's a childcare center AT the workplace. I tried working at home today, and it was MISERABLE. There's no way work could get done. Plus, I think it was hard for my LO to be right with me but not getting any attention from me. If someone can do it better than I, more power to them!

Jocelyn - posted on 02/19/2010

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I like the idea in theory, but I don't think that it would work in the long fun. It makes more sense to me to just have a daycare at the work and then you can just take some "baby breaks" through out the day to nurse, play, etc.

Sharon - posted on 02/19/2010

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It isn't appropriate for every work place.

My first thoughts were "oh thats just friggen great. Not only do I have to cover the sales floor when the smokers head outdoors en-masse, but now I gotta cover the parents too. wonderfknfull."

"911 please state your... oh hold baby gotta put the baby on my boob.... ok now whats wrong with you? Oh not you ma'am, baby won't latch.... ok so whats your problem? Hello? I just asked .. yes you ma'am."

Amy - posted on 02/19/2010

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To start with I'm shocked about the 9 month's is when they start to crawl in the one paragraph, Everything I read is about 6 months, and my son was crawling at 4 months.

Honestly I think if there's a daycare that then it's find to have them there for feeding, etc, however having them at the desk with everyone is a huge distraction! I wouldn't get much work done if I had my baby with me, or if someone near me had a crying baby.

I am in a family where I'm the only one working full time, and it's hard sometimes money wise since we have a mortgage, but even if we did have that, once the 9 months or so is up then what? Have toddlers running around the office? Not to mention when my son was a baby he wanted lots of attention, attention that just can't be given at work, when your trying to get something done, or when you in a meeting and your baby starts to cry, etc.

If a company want's to allow that, then get a daycare in the office and allow all children under a specific age to be there.

Mary - posted on 02/19/2010

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Well, I'm an L&D nurse...how would you all have felt about my baby being there with me (and you) while you're laboring? Somehow, I just can't fathom it working out well..."oh, you need to push? Molly needs to nurse right now, so if you you could just give us a few..." Yeah, I don't ever see that being an option for me!

Jenny - posted on 02/19/2010

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I would hope they do it in a way that is respectful of the workers without kids. I'm not a big fan of other people's kids and it would drive me nuts working in a place overrun with babies.

Jackie - posted on 02/19/2010

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I think thats great that there's companies out there that do this. I also think its good that they cap the age limit, b/c you wouldd't want a bunch of mobile babies running around...but in the infant months where many babies are extremely content in a baby bjorn or whatever, it could absolutely increase morale.

Yes that parents productivity might go down for those 9 months but there pay doesn't (that we know of), but you have to look at what the company saves on training costs by retaining a consistent work force over the full lifespan of the employee, who will return to full productivity when there baby is no longer attending wrok wtih them.

Now i'm not sure i'd want to do it up to 9 months, my daugther was becoming a handful by then, but up until 5-6 months it would have been great...esp. if I had a whole office to create space for her. Not to mention the # of hours I would have saved myself from pumping. I think its great of that company to "take the plunge" and offer this benefit.

Sara - posted on 02/19/2010

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I've actually read that when companies offer this type of program, productivity as well as attendence improve. But yeah, I would think it would be tough to work and deal with your child, since mothering/fathering a child is a full-time job already.

[deleted account]

In a society where there are increasing numbers of single-parent families and families that need the income of both parents to survive, this issue deserves to be re-considered. If a parent decides that bringing a baby to work is better for the family than another option (such as costly childcare provided by an absolute stranger) and the boss is pro-baby, then try it. I think that the main consideration is the comfort and security of the baby. In some situations the parent may have to put in extra time at the job to be equitable to other employees, which I’m sure that most of these parents would be willing to do.

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