A few months ago, I went on my first work trip since having my baby. As I packed my bags in preparation for heading to the airport, I ran through a mental checklist: computer, work clothes, presentation materials, onesies, diapers, and pacifiers. That’s right, my baby was coming along. When I returned to work, my boy was 14 weeks old, and I was already dreading the trips I’d scheduled before his birth. While I knew that he would be perfectly fine if I left him at home and that he was too young to really miss me, the thought of not snuggling up next to him at night made me anxious. I’m also a breastfeed mom, so being away from my little guy for 48 hours would mean somewhere around 20 sucky (pun intended) pumping sessions in a row. After spending a few weeks stressing about being away from my baby, I decided to make the case for bringing him along. Luckily, my supervisor gave me the okay. Each night, as I cuddled up to his warmth, I knew I made the right decision. If you’re facing a trip away from your infant that you don’t feel good about, think about whether you might be able to bring her along. Check out the tips below to find success when adding a tiny tag-along to your itinerary:
Know your schedule
It’s important to consider what your schedule will look like while you’re working from afar. Often, when employees travel, they maintain a regular eight-hour day. Sometimes, though, travel lends itself to sun-up to sundown scheduling. If you’re going to be engaged in all-day activities that don’t mesh well with having baby along, it might be easier to leave him at home. If, however, you’re going to be working a pretty regular schedule and any after working-hours events will be baby friendly, consider adding your tot to your ticket.
Think about child care
Just because you’re brining your baby along doesn’t mean they’ll be able to be with you the whole time. Just as someone else likely provides care for your child when you work local, you’ll need some assistance when you’re out of town as well. Most city’s have travel nanny agencies that guarantee a safe, reliable nanny for the times you’re engaged with your work.
Have a plan when you make your ask
At most organizations, it’s not standard to bring babies along on travel. If your request will be a first, make sure that you know exactly what you’ll need and how you’ll handle any challenges before you make your proposal to your supervisor. Generally, as long as you can ensure your boss that your baby’s presence won’t negatively impact your performance, they’ll be agreeable to your request.
Inform those who need to know
While it’s obviously a good idea to get the green light from your supervisor, you’re not obligated to tell anyone about your child’s presence who won’t be impacted. Neither your client nor your co-workers need to know if you worry that it might impact their perception of your professionalism.
Do the math
Before you bring your baby on your next trip, do the math to make sure their presence won’t cause a financial burden that you’re not prepared for. While babies under two can typically fly free as long as they’re in your lap, you’ll likely find yourself paying out-of-pocket for things like childcare or an upgraded ticket. Consider these costs honestly before making a decision.
Enjoy your cuddles
While work trips are often exhausting, for new parents they can sometimes serve as a break from middle-of-the-night diaper changes and early morning feedings. If you’re choosing to mix business and baby, you’re likely doing so with the knowledge that it will be harder, at least in some ways, than leaving them at home. You’re also likely doing so because you know just how magical their cuddles are after a long day’s work. Enjoy those cuddles. You’ve earned them!