For most mums, maternity leave is a welcome reprieve from needing to force their tired and sore pregnant bodies to and from work every day. While any experienced mum will tell you that maternity leave is hardly a vacation, there are some things you can do to make sure that you get the most out of this special time with your family.
1. Have a loose plan in mind
Expect those first few weeks with your new little one to be a blur, so don’t plan anything significant for at least six weeks after the birth of your bubs. Once you start to get into a groove, you can use your maternity leave to accomplish things that you may not otherwise get around to doing when you return to work, like:
- Plan a holiday with the family
- Take a course
- Start your own business or a side gig
- Explore a passion like painting or writing
2. Arrange for help ahead of time
From house-cleaning and cooking meals to simply allowing you to take an uninterrupted shower, make an effort to arrange for help before the baby comes. Most friends and family members will be more than happy to head on over and help out, so don’t be afraid to take them up on their offers.
If you have a partner, look into what rights they have both with the government and at their work when it comes to taking time off once the baby arrives. Since January 2013, Australia has had a two-week payment scheme called Dad and Partner Pay which you may be able to take advantage of.
3. Get in some rest and relaxation
Take the well-recommended advice of sleeping when the baby sleeps (or at least kick up your feet and watch a little bit of Netflix). Not only are newborns quite demanding, but your body and your mind need to recover from the birth, the change in your body’s chemistry, and the lack of sleep.
4. Explore the neighbourhood
There may be times when all you want to do is curl up on the couch with your bubs and stay indoors. But even as little as 15 minutes of outside time each day can elevate your mood significantly and keep you feeling happier and healthier.
Make a point to get out there and explore your local community. Visit a park you’ve never been to, head to the library and take part in a baby-and-me class, or hit the mall and treat yourself to a new pair of shoes. Try to view your neighbourhood through the eyes of a tourist and make every outing a nice discovery for both you and baby.
5. Befriend other mums
Another nice side effect to getting out in and enjoying the fresh air is that you’ll undoubtedly run into other mums. Chatting with old friends is great, but nothing beats the camaraderie of being amongst parents of young children.
The playground, coffee shops, and the market are all easy places to find other mums and many churches and councils organise playgroups (which are really great place to form new friendships). If you’re having a hard time, consider joining a stroller walking group, a postnatal mummy and baby yoga or swim class, and you can join a local mum’s hangout group on social media.
6. Take time to visit family
There is nothing as endearing as watching the expression on the face of grandparents and great-grandparents when they gaze upon the next generation of their family.
Travelling with a baby is no walk in the park, but neither is travelling with a toddler, a boisterous “threenager” or a moody teenager. Creating bonds and precious memories with family is invaluable, and it is something you will never regret.
7. Walk into maternity leave with the right “tools”
For those first few weeks after baby arrives, there’s a slim chance you’ll have the energy to test out strollers, car seats, baby carriers, nappy bags, nappies…
You get the picture.
Carve out some time before baby arrives to gather these critical items so you can get out and enjoy yourself with your baby. Know how everything works (like opening and closing the stroller, unpacking the portable crib, etc.) so every outing will be as nice and hassle-free as possible.
Another thing that makes life easier on new mums: breastfeeding attire. Here at Peachymama, we have received loads of thank yous and glowing testimonials from new mums, from how easy our clothes make it to breastfeed privately while in public, to how our stylish pieces make them feel beautiful and confident both at home and upon returning to work.
Our Peachymama Summer Sale is on now for a limited time, so be sure to stop our specials to take advantage and put together your next new mum outfit.