Why is this? Obviously, there are some working environments where it wouldn’t be safe to bring a baby. And some bosses might worry that children at work could be distracting. Or maybe some employees don’t even think of asking.
But it may work out better than some people think. When US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was the Kansas Insurance Commissioner, she had two infant sons who came with her to work. She once said, “We live in a society where too many people make workers choose—do you want to be a good parent, or do you want to be a good worker?”
Babies at work rarely affect productivity aversely; in fact, they may actually increase it since it’s often easier and faster to feed a baby directly than to pump at work. And, speaking of breastfeeding, a baby at work makes it easier to continue breastfeeding, which can save employers money on health care costs down the road. Plus, a working mom who’s got her baby with her is less likely to be stressed about what the baby is doing while she’s away.
Some companies have an infant-at-work program with specific rules about who is eligible and under what circumstances the child cannot come into the office (Check out this list of employers that officially allow babies at work by state). Other parents have negotiated their own arrangements and found a way to make it work for everyone on their own.
Does your job allow you to bring your baby? Have you ever asked?