5 Ways to Make the Most of Maternity Leave

If this is your first baby you will either be expecting a delightful few months of holiday, or feeling absolutely terrified and unprepared for life with a newborn.  Either way, here are 5 ways to make the most of your maternity leave, even with a certain amount of sleep deprivation thrown in!

Be Prepared

Before you have your baby, put together a list of movies and TV series that you want to watch.  If you want a little escapism, make a reading list and stock up on magazines and books.  You will spend a lot of time nesting at home, so get prepared now.

Invest in a breastfeeding pillow and create a nook on the sofa or in a cosy chair where you can set yourself up for the morning.

Related posts:

Breastfeeding Top Tips
The Early Days of Breastfeeding: A Husband's View
Your Pre-Birth To Do List: 12 Things You Must Do

Ask For Help

Arrange for a few days help from friends and family after your partner goes back to work.  Try to safeguard the first two weeks just for the two of you to bond with and enjoy your bundle of joy together.

After that it will be hard to go straight to being on your own with baby all day, so having some other support is helpful.  That way you can still have a shower, ask for help around the house and with preparing meals etc.

Related posts:

The First 6 Weeks After Birth: The Truth
How to Keep Your Home Clean When You Have a Newborn

Schedule in Adjustment Time

Your life has now changed (for the better) forever.  Babies are incredibly portable and adaptable but don't try to be the Yummy Mummy who shops, does lunch and keeps her mani-pedi perfect all at once!

Try not to take too much upon yourself to begin with.  Follow your baby's lead and fall into the rhythm of taking care of them before you start to think of grand ideas.

But don't worry about taking a baby on holiday or on days out, or even out to dinner or to the pub, when you feel ready.  They will fall into your world relatively easily if you are relaxed about it.

If you are worried about breastfeeding in public (don't be!!), then make some time to go to a quiet cafe with your partner and baby and just try.  It really will be easier than you think.

Related post: Positively Normal

Nap Times

Naps will help you get through the first days of having a newborn.  The best advice you’ll ever receive is to nap when your newborn naps.  Listen to it.

Everyone should be prepared to collapse under a blanket, once the baby is nodding off.  Most newborns prefer to be in your arms when they do this and will go through small cycles of sleeping and waking throughout the day and night.  This is normal.

Related post:

The Art of Sleep for Parents and Babies
The REAL Essentials for New Parents

Explore Your Local Area

This is a fantastic opportunity to really discover your local area.  Go on walks with your newborn and check out the nearby park or visit art galleries and museums you never had time for before.

The easiest way to take babies out is in a wrap or sling.  Try to go out for a walk every day to get some easy exercise for you and fresh air for both you and baby.

Our favourite slings and wraps:

Find hidden gems you never knew existed, such as a quaint book shop or a picturesque stretch of river, and try to spend some time in nature with baby every day.  Don't overlook the joy of sitting on a blanket in the garden as the weather improves.

Enjoy your maternity leave by embracing the simple things.  If you want to add in some baby groups and classes, do so, but your baby will be fine without Sign and Sing or Baby Yoga or whatever else if you really don't fancy it!

Want more baby-related content?

My Top Tips for Breastfeeding
Our Journey from Convention to Attachment Parenting
Breast Isn't 'Best'
What's So Great About Breastfeeding?
Money Saving Tips for New Parents
The Other Baby Book

This post may contain affiliate links