You Can Support Women and Ban Babies from the Office

by Evil HR Lady on March 26, 2019

Babies are so adorable. I’ve had two and would have had more if circumstances were different. Some companies allow new moms to bring their babies into the office for a while. If that’s what you want for your company, that’s great! But you don’t need to feel guilty for one minute about saying no to a request to bring a newborn into the office.

In Slate’s Dear Prudence column, author Daniel Mallory Ortberg answered a question from a female small business owner who faced pressure to allow an employee to bring her new baby to work. The business owner states, “I know I’m supposed to be supporting women in the workplace and the have-it-all thing, but an employee wants to bring her newborn to work.”

Ortberg gets it right when he says you don’t have to support this request. 

To keep reading, click here: You Can Support Women and Ban Babies from the Office

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth West March 26, 2019 at 4:10 pm

I’ve never worked anyplace where anyone actually brought an infant in and stayed to do actual work. New moms have paraded them around for a very short time while still on mat leave, so their coworkers could see the baby. Then they took the baby home.

I’ve had coworkers who brought older children in for a couple of hours, but they sat quietly. If the business wants to allow that, it’s fine, but they should be prepared to deal with it if the child becomes disruptive. Of course one thing that helps is good PTO and leave policies (not just for parents).

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Dorothy March 26, 2019 at 4:55 pm

You touch on an issue that I think has gotten out of hand: working from home is not a substitute for child care. How can you work and care for a child simultaneously?

I recently posted in another online column: A woman who works from home said people always understand when she says a call may be interrupted if her child cries. If I had a phone meeting with someone who told me that, I’d suggest rescheduling when the person was free. I expect people I meet with to be PRESENT for the meeting — to be focused and responsive, not distracted by trying to multitask.

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Maude March 26, 2019 at 9:33 pm

Yeah, I have a feeling that people respond that they understand just because in the moment they are taken aback and don’t know what to say. This is not good for her professional image, even if no one will tell her.

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grannybunny March 26, 2019 at 7:53 pm

A parent asking to bring a newborn to work suggests that either: (1) Paid leave is not available, and the employee cannot afford to go without pay; or (2) The business is very small, and the employee recognizes that it would be badly hurt by an extended parental leave. Obviously, taking a newborn to work is not optimal. However, in the right circumstances, it can be a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.

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Jenny Boxer March 26, 2019 at 7:59 pm

Not really. Unless the person who is bringing the child to work own business, how can this be optimal? Babies scream, babies have to be fed, babies stink. Except when they are napping there would not be 10 minutes when you wouldn’t be dealing with an infant. That means you would not be working. If you are the company owner oh, fine. Do whatever you want. Yes, Child care is expensive. Not everyone can afford children. It is enough for employers to accommodate occasional or frequent sick days for sick children and other family members. That’s reasonable. And it’s reasonable to bring a quiet child the office for a couple of hours in an emergency. But this is not bring your child to work day on a daily basis. We are being paid to do a job.

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grannybunny March 27, 2019 at 3:21 pm

It appears that you may have misread my comment. I said that “taking a newborn to work is NOT optimal” (emphasis added). Obviously, whether or not it would be in the best interests of the business is a managerial decision. In a lot of cases, it wouldn’t hurt to have a brief trial period to see whether or not it would work. Yes, babies scream, have to eat and may even “stink.” But, so do some of our so-called adult co-workers! Seriously, though, some babies sleep a lot and are quiet; some cry and scream a lot. The former might be acceptable at work; the latter, not so much. Even newborn babies don’t — normally — need to eat more often than every 2 hours, a schedule consistent with likely workplace coffee and lunch breaks. The mother of a newborn — if at work without her child — may need to, periodically, breast-pump and/or check on their child’s well-being, which also takes time away from work. Like just about everything else in life, these situations involve trade-offs. A clean, well-kept, baby only stinks following a bowel movement and the resulting diaper change. If a diaper-changing station can be set up in a restroom, the smell — along with other comparable ones — can be confined to a place where they are common and commonly dealt-with (via air fresheners, exhaust fans, etc).

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