Babe in Arms: How to Bring a Baby to Meetings

Technically, I’m on maternity leave. I’m a freelance writer and I teach part-time at a local university, so what this means is that I have not renewed my teaching contract and I currently have no writing assignments (apart from this blog). But I still have meetings I need to attend. Many of these meetings involve my son’s school–both IEP meetings and things like the Parent Teacher Student Council. I’m on the board of directors at our local Toy Lending Library, and so I need to attend board and committee meetings. iStock_000010631916XSmall-businessseminar

Since I know many other mothers are in this position, where they must attend meetings with a newborn baby, I wanted to share what I’ve done to enable me to bring my nursing babe along to these meetings while still wearing my game face.

First, wardrobe is crucial, both for me and my baby. I like to wear separate skirts and tops to facilitate faster bathroom breaks for myself and also to reveal as little skin as possible while nursing during the meetings. This fall, I’m rocking my beloved full-bust nursing tanks under various sweaters. For meetings, I put my baby in separates, too, for easier changing in the event of a diaper blowout.

I use a special diaper bag for meetings that has space for folders or papers I might need in addition to baby gear. And a pen! Don’t forget a pen. I only bring one change of clothes for baby, a few spare diapers, a travel container of wipes, a changing pad, and a blanket.

I never expect there to be a changing table for baby, because there rarely is. That’s why I have the changing pad and blanket. I’ve changed my baby on many floors in many educational offices! And hallways. Benches. Because, of course, he always has a messy poo during meetings.

Whenever possible, I try to designate someone to take notes for me. Usually, if it’s a school meeting, that person is my husband. For board meetings, someone is generally taking minutes and I make sure to get a copy of those as soon as the meeting is over. But if neither of those things is happening, I ask someone else at the meeting to be sure and take notes for me, because my hands are often full nursing the baby. Or, as I mentioned above, dealing with a diaper when there is no changing table available.

While I know I don’t need permission to take my nursing baby anywhere (except jury duty), I do like to give a head’s up that I’ll have my newborn along with me. There are many practical reasons for doing this, like giving the organizer enough notice to provide extra space or a spare seat next to me, but it’s also nice to let everyone know there will be a baby.

So far, I’ve had positive experiences attending meetings with babies. My second son never did take a bottle, and he’s come with me to client interviews as well as networking events. In many instances, a baby is a great ice breaker or tension reliever. With a little advanced planning, it can be very uneventful to bring a nursing babe along to the table.

Have any of you attended meetings with a babe in arms? Leave us a comment to share what helped it work for you.


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