I am getting well into my journey of balancing my business with a baby, so I wanted to give you another update now that Rowan is 8 months old. Edit: I never posted this at the time, he's now 9.5 months old but the routine is pretty much the same, except he no longer naps in the afternoons (which is actually easier as we can do more with that time!)
As always, I do have a massive disclaimer – if there’s one thing I’ve learnt since having a baby, it’s that all babies are different. So don’t compare your situation too much to mine. Some babies are more laid back, some require more care. Your day could look very different to mine! Your day could look very different to mine! I really don’t want anyone to come away from this post feeling not good enough.
Some Notes About Our Situation
If you haven’t read it yet, click here to go to my post all about the newborn days. I’m pleased to say that things have changed a lot since then, and they are now way easier. Truthfully, I found those early weeks and months very hard and it’s only recently that I really feel as if I’m finding any sort of groove again. It helps that I’m getting more sleep, although Rowan still wakes up in the night (he has slept through once!)
In that first post you’ll see a few notes about our situation – how myself and my husband both work from home and are splitting the childcare. I started working properly again when Rowan was 4 months old, and Chris is now doing more childcare than I am. I am breastfeeding and pumping (around 7-8 times a day still), alongside baby-led weaning. My mum looks after Rowan 2 afternoons a week, and he has recently started going to nursery for two 4-hour mornings a week.
We found that it was a lot harder to juggle work and childcare than we had expected. I had these fantasies of running my business during long naps or letting him play on his own for a bit while getting something done. He does play on his own a little bit more now, but not enough to get much meaningful done. I felt guilty about our childcare decision, but I know it’s the best thing for us and that the guilt doesn’t serve anyone. Rowan is happy and we are earning enough money and that’s what matters.
You’ll see below that I have way more focused time to work than I did during the early days. I really wouldn’t have enough time to do all the work I need to do in my business if it wasn’t for all the support I have from Chris, my mum and nursery. I totally understand that not everyone has that support, so I am very grateful. Running a business with a baby takes a village!
Daily Routine at 8 Months
In my newborn post, I said that each day was different and that we didn’t have a schedule. How things have changed! I always thought I’d like to go with the flow but the lack of schedule was driving me crazy, so we pretty much forced Rowan into one. I know this isn’t right for everyone, but I was cracking up until we did this. It has made things so much easier for splitting childcare and planning our days, and it seems to work for him too. I also find the regular routine is really good for my productivity and planning.
7am – Wake up (Rowan often wakes earlier but usually chatters happily for a bit in his cot) I feed and play with him for an hour.
8am – Chris takes Rowan and I have a shower and get my workday started. If it’s a nursery day, Chris takes him to nursery.
10am – Chris puts Rowan down for his first nap at around 9.30 and I get him up at 10 when I feed him. I then give him back to Chris and carry on with my work. If it’s a nursery day I pump, which frustratingly takes longer than just feeding Rowan directly.
12pm – I feed Rowan before settling him down for his longer nap, usually by 12.30. If it’s a nursery day, Chris or both of us go to pick him up. At least once a week I try to get out on my own to the beach for some lunch and some “me time” away from the baby and the business.
2.30pm – Rowan usually wakes up around now, so I go and feed him. On the days my mum has him, she comes and picks him up. If it’s not one of those days, either Chris will have him again or I’ll look after him for a few hours (we split the afternoon childcare throughout the week). Sometimes Rowan goes down for a third nap at around 4.30. I think he’s about to drop this. Then Chris and I share childcare until bedtime.
My work is all at home and very flexible, but Chris sometimes has meetings and events outside of the house. So we have a shared family calendar to plan things in advance, and I'll take over the childcare regularly for whole afternoons when Chris has something on.
6.30pm – I take Rowan upstairs for a feed and the bedtime routine. Sometimes Chris puts him down just so that Rowan doesn’t just get used to me doing it. I now separate the last feed from putting him down, and we put him down fully awake (hallelujah!) at 7pm.
Chris and I try to watch something in the evenings (our current favourite is the Handmaid’s Tale). Often we will go out for drinks with friends while the other babysits. I try not to work in the evenings too much, but it does happen sometimes when I need to catch up.
Night time – Rowan wakes up 1-2 times for a breastfeed throughout the night. I’m now totally used to it at this point, and feel like a fully functioning human most of the time. If I’d have heard this a few months ago, I’d never have believed I could get used to those night feeds! It helps that the feeds are quick and Rowan usually goes back down easily. After 3 months he was sometimes waking 10 times a night so 1-2 times feels fine for now. There have still been harder times, like when I was ill or Rowan was teething, but they don't last too long.
So that's my experience of doing business with a baby, right now. Yours may be completely different, and that's fine. But I hope sharing my experiences helps in some way!