Having a baby changes your whole life. You’re probably counting the days until you get to meet your little bundle of joy. But if there’s something you’re worried about, it’s maternity leave.
Not having daily adult contact for a few months can be intimidating at first. But spending time at home with your newborn is a crucial time. You’ll get to bond together and eventually, you’ll come up with a whole new maternity leave daily routine.
Think of it as an adjustment period between your old life where your main focus was your career and your new life as a mom. Eventually, you’ll get back to work when the time is right, but for now, here are 12 achievable things to do during maternity leave.
How To Get The Most Out Of Maternity Leave
1. Learn to Bathe or Shower With Your Newborn
Taking a bath with your baby will help the two of you bond. There’s no doubt about that, but it can also alleviate some of those oh-so common body aches that occur after giving birth. Showering together can be re-energizing especially when you’re operating on two hours of sleep.
2. Track Your New Mommy Accomplishments
Between figuring out things to do with your newborn and stumbling through the new mom tasks, you might forget every detail later on.
Grab a sheet of paper or buy a journal and write down all of the accomplishments you’ve achieved as a new mamma no matter how big or small they are.
Some of these milestones can include the first movie you watched with your baby, your first public diaper change, or even the first cocktail you drank since giving birth.
It’s a great way to remember your first rookie years. Believe me! Later down the line, you’ll look back on the early days and you will marvel at your baby becoming a full grown teenager or adult.
3. Plan a Romantic Meal With Your Partner
Being new parents won’t give you a whole lot of time to go out on a romantic date, but no one said you couldn’t have a romantic date night at home once your baby dozes off for the night. I get it! Motherhood makes it easy to unconsciously neglect pretty much everything and everyone in your life.
But here’s the thing. Taking care of your relationship is just as important as taking care of your baby.
Being available, open, and attentive will help you keep the flame alive. That’s why it’s so important to find time for each other.
You don’t need to find a babysitter for your newborn, of course. You don’t even have to cook, either! Keep it simple and just order a pizza or get your favorite guilty-pleasure snacks and talk to each other. Ask your partner how they’re adjusting to your new life.
4. Make a Family Time Capsule
Take some time to collect a photo of you with the baby, or one with you, your partner, and the baby. Add a newspaper, preferably one from the day your child was born. You can even write a letter to your baby.
Then place these items in a box along with a few other mementos, like souvenirs, gifts, or things that were important to you when they were born, and stow the box away in your attic or basement.
For extra dramatic effect, you could even bury it in your backyard, so your child can dig it up 10 or 20 years from now to see what the world was like when they came into it.
5. Take Swimming Classes With Your Baby
There’s no sweeter moment than watching your child swimming for the very first time. It’s a lovely activity that newborns enjoy because the warm water reminds them of their relaxing time in the womb. But it’s also great exercise for you as much as it is for them.
6. Take a Mini Spa Break
It’s important to take time for yourself. You might not be able to verbalize how stressed you are because you’re too busy running errands, cleaning, changing diapers, and squeezing in a few naps here and there.
This is why a spa day is exactly what the doctor ordered. Who could say no to a facial or a full body massage? Plus, studies show that relaxing the chest muscles improves lactation and can actually relieve chest pain.
7. Have Professional Baby Photos Taken
There’s no better time to have professional photos of your child taken than when you’re on maternity leave because you actually have the time to get them done.
Remember, your baby won’t stay this tiny forever. Blink a few times and before you know it, they’ll be celebrating their first birthday. So, capture them as they are now because now will never happen again.
But who am I kidding, I know you’ll have a ton of your own pictures saved to your phone. Grab my free baby milestone cards printable so you can document each month on your own as well!
8. Check in at Work and Start Thinking About Childcare
Although you’re on maternity leave, it’s always a good idea to check in at work every week either by phone or by e-mail. This will let your contacts know you’re still planning on coming back instead of dropping to part-time or quitting altogether.
If you are planning on returning to work, you might want to consider your child care options early! When the time comes, it will be so hard to drop your baby off. Use this time to vet daycare providers, ask questions, drop in to facilites, etc.
Keep additional caregivers on the list too for a backup plan! Returning to work is much less stressful if you’re not scrambling to look for someone else because your plan A fell through.
9. Join a Mommy Group
A mommy group is a great place to find companionship, advice, and emotional support from other mommies like yourself.
Some hospitals offer mommy groups, but you can make your own based on a particular interest like a playdate group, a stroller walking group, or even a reading group.
Plus, Facebook is a great place to find other moms who are looking to connect.
These days there are a lot of motherhood resources online, you will find something in my guide to apps for new moms that will make your life easier!
10. Start Exercising
Admit it. A part of you is anxious to lose the baby weight before you head back to work, but your body has been through quite an ordeal.
Just remember that there’s no pressure in getting back to your “old self”. Take it easy while exercising.
Start with something small like taking a walk around the block or doing yoga at home. Make sure to ask your doctor what exercise you can do after giving birth.
I have an easy guide for new moms who want to get into postpartum exercise but don’t know where to start or have never even exercised before!
11. Host a Baby Meet and Greet
Everyone’s been bugging you about wanting to meet your new baby, but the last thing you want to do is go traveling across town to introduce your child to all your family and friends. So instead, throw a baby meet and greet party and invite everyone to come to you.
12. Hang Out With Friends Before Your Baby Starts Crawling
When you’re a new mommy, making plans to meet up with friends can seem impossible, but it’s going to get a lot tougher once your baby figures out how to crawl and walk.
An active baby is very distracting. So, make sure to hang with your friends before your child makes it too difficult to spend any time with your besties.
Related: How To Shop With A New Baby
Maternity Leave Reality
The postpartum period can be a crazy, unpredictable transition for new moms. So if you’re feeling depressed on maternity leave because you didn’t know it was going to be like this, that’s okay!
It’s perfectly fine to feel that way, you’re allowed to. If you’re not enjoying maternity leave, try to ease your way into a daily maternity leave routine one step at a time. This is REALLY crucial when you’re trying to figure out how to survive the newborn stage.
There are plenty of free things to do on maternity leave. You don’t have to do all of them, you can pick and choose your activities. It’s important to not try and cram ALL OF THE THINGS in. You won’t be a failure if you don’t.
Relax and enjoy your new baby and this new mom life. Embrace this time, you got this mama!