Mom working on her laptop while holding her baby.

How to Achieve a Good Work-Life Balance as a New Parent

Work-life balance refers to how well an individual can balance the demands and responsibilities of their professional life with their personal life. This usually involves finding the right balance between time devoted to work and time devoted to leisurely activities, personal relationships, hobbies, and family. This can be difficult even for single individuals, but when starting a new family, it may seem like an uphill battle. However, work-life balance is essential in alleviating unnecessary stress, burnout, and a rising sense of internal conflict. Therefore, to help you excel in all areas of your life, consider some of the following information on how to achieve a good work-life balance as a new parent.


The Importance of Work-Life Balance in General

Work-life balance is important for several reasons. For one, it helps reduce stress and improves your overall health and wellbeing. It can also give you the chance to spend quality time with your friends and family. As a new parent, this means spending ample time with your newborn. In doing so, you’ll increase your bond while supporting their mental, physical, and emotional development.

When you’re back at work, having the right balance can maximize your productivity without leaving you feeling exhausted, which is already a challenge for many new parents. It’s crucial to maintaining strong mental health, which can help reduce the risk of postpartum depression or other postpartum mood disorders. Overall, work-life balance is important. Just because you feel like you can do it all, doesn’t mean you should.

Work-Life Balance as a New Parent

Work-life balance is especially important for new parents, as caring for a newborn can be particularly challenging and stressful. Although maternity leave is a great time to bond with your baby, heading back to the office shouldn’t mean having to choose between the two. By setting boundaries, you’ll ensure that your professional duties are fulfilled alongside your parental ones. This might mean that you’re not available for overtime, but when you commit to focusing on the task at hand, you may not need it.

Work-life balance has been shown to be beneficial to productivity levels, which is good for both you and your employer. If you’re feeling like the scales are tipping in one direction or another, it might be beneficial to talk to your employer about alternative options.


8 Ways to Help You Optimize Your Work-Life Balance as a New Parent

Achieving a healthy work-life balance is often easier said than done. You may find yourself caught up with the day-to-day demands of parenthood and miss a work deadline. Or a looming project may lead to a foggy brain when you’re with your child. To help you get the most out of your efforts, consider some of the following tips.


1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Calendar

Using a calendar can help you and your partner optimize your schedules, manage tasks, and prioritize your time effectively. Whether you use a digital calendar or a paper one doesn’t matter, as long as you both have access to it on a regular basis. Update the calendar with any appointments, work commitments, or other important events far in advance to help you plan for childcare ahead of time.

You may also want to assign tasks or responsibilities to each other. For example, you can use the calendar to keep track of who will be taking care of the baby during specific times of the day. This is particularly helpful if you have different work schedules. If one of you needs to work late or attend a meeting, you can adjust the schedule. However, calendars should never replace communication.

Finally, consider using the calendar to schedule time for family activities, such as going for a walk, visiting a park, or having a movie night. This helps ensure that you and your partner have quality time together as a family, even with a new baby.


2. Streamline Your Morning Routine

Another important way to make sure your work-life balance stays healthy is to take control of your morning routine. When you start the morning off on the right foot, you increase the chances of the rest of the day going smoothly as well. Although this can be pretty difficult with a newborn, there are some ways to help.

  • Focus on sleep — while easier said than done, prioritizing your sleep with a newborn is important. Do what you can to maximize the amount of time you’re asleep. This might mean going to bed earlier, sleeping whenever you can, and sharing overnight feedings with your partner.


  • Get up at the same time every day — this might seem counterproductive to the above, but establishing a consistent wake-up time can help regulate your body's circadian rhythm and make mornings easier. If you need to go to work, this is even more important as it will ensure that you have enough time in the morning to get out the door without feeling rushed.


  • Plan ahead — whatever you can do the night before, do it. This might include packing the diaper bag, setting out clean clothes, and preparing your baby’s milk stash for the next day.


  • Be patient — establishing a consistent morning routine can take time, so go easy on yourself. Be patient and stick to your daily habits. Eventually they will become second nature.


  • Be flexible — finally, give yourself some permission to be flexible. Having a baby is a major life change and you may need to adjust your routine as you go.


3. Look at Your Options for Child Care

It’s hard to focus on work if you’re worried about your baby. Therefore, one of the best ways to strengthen your work-life balance is to look at your options for childcare and find someone you trust. This might be an in-home nanny, a reputable daycare, or even help from a family member. If you do choose to work with a daycare, just make sure that they’re licensed and professional. As your child gets older, you may want to transfer them into a preschool program. Once they’re in school, look at options for after-school programs. This can help you ensure that your child is cared for while you’re needed at work.

Finding backup care services is also recommended, as schedules can change, and illness can take over. This will give you options if your regular childcare arrangements fall through. Trustworthy babysitters can also be used when you and your partner need a little alone time.


4. Maintain Open Communication with Leadership

After returning from maternity leave, schedule some time to sit down with your leadership team. Talk to them about their expectations, your needs as a new mother, and any concerns you may have regarding balancing your duties. There are plenty of options nowadays for flexible working engagements, but you won’t know your options unless you ask. You should also talk about your needs for pumping at work.


5. Know Your Breastfeeding/Pumping Rights

New mothers have the legal right to breastfeed or pump at work under certain conditions. These rights include the time to pump, access to a private space, protection from discrimination, reasonable accommodations for your needs, and pay protection.

These rights may vary by state and jurisdiction, so take the time to look into yours. If you feel like your rights have been violated, seek legal advice or counsel.

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6. Don’t Over-Complicate Dinner

When you get home from work, try not to over-complicate dinner. You can make easy freezer bags for the crockpot, or throw a bake into the oven. Prioritizing nutrition is important, but you don’t have to spend three hours in the kitchen.


7. Focus on Self-Care and Don’t Ignore Your Mental Health

Maintaining a strong work-life balance also means prioritizing your mental health. This includes integrating self-care activities, keeping your expectations realistic, and scheduling time for yourself. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Join community groups, connect with other moms, and try to make the most out of your efforts.

Remember, self-care is not selfish, and taking care of yourself is crucial for your ability to care for your baby. By making self-care a priority and finding enjoyable ways to incorporate it into your routine, you can help ensure your well-being as a new mom.


8. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

Finally, don’t be afraid to say no. To events, to dinners, to extra work, etc. If you feel like your schedule is overflowing, you can always cut back. Spend more time with your family at home and soak in the little moments. You’ll always remember their newborn phase, but it’s not likely you’ll look back on a work event with the same enthusiasm.

To help you manage your time as a new parent, Byram Healthcare can help. We offer a wide selection of insurance covered breast pumps to new and expecting moms to help you give your baby the nutrients they need for a healthy development, regardless of how busy you are. Browse our product selection and get started with your order today.