You’ve waited for months for your baby to arrive, and the time has finally come!
The weeks after your baby arrives can feel crazy as you get used to night wakings, the constant need to feed, sleep deprivation, and all the other aspects of life that come with a newborn baby.
And like many new moms I’m sure you’re wondering, what do you even do on maternity leave?
Below is a list of things to do on maternity leave with baby (ya know in between all the feedings, naps, and baths).
Trust me, these are things that you’ll be glad you did!
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Things to Do on Maternity Leave with Baby
Unpack Your Hospital Bag
I know you’ve been busy.
So if your hospital bag has been taking up space in some random corner of your house, pack away the things you won’t be needing, but that you want to keep in case of future pregnancies.
Get Baby Put on The Insurance
Insurance may be the last thing on your mind, but you only have 30 days after the baby is born to enroll them.
Lots of insurance policies require you to add your baby within 30 days in order for them to be covered under your plan.
So the sooner you do it, the better.
Read Books to Baby
It may seem pointless to read to a newborn baby, but experts say reading to newborns is a wonderful way to bond and it teaches your baby (even if they don’t know what’s going on).
Reading to your baby now will help with communication, listening and memory skills, and so much more!
Spend Quality Time with Baby
You and your little one are getting to know each other!
You’re spending lots of time taking care of your baby, but you can spend quality time together in a variety of other ways.
You can get on their level during tummy time, sing to them, play peekaboo, and so much more!
Search the internet for ideas if you’re unsure of how to spend quality time with your baby.
Even with all the sleepless nights, you’re so busy taking care of your baby.
But your body and mind need rest too.
Remember that you’ve just been through some of the most intense moments of your life!
Resting will help you emotionally and physically, and it will help your baby too!
Post the News on Social Media
As excited as you are about your baby, you’ve had a million things going on and may have delayed sharing the news about your new addition on social media.
Your friends and family will be excited to see photos and details, but it can also be helpful for you in the future!
You may be surprised when information on an old social media post can come in handy.
Figure Out Your New Daily Routine
A new family member changes everything, no matter how prepared you are!
Try to figure out a new routine that works for you and your family.
If you unloaded the dishwasher every morning before you had your baby, will that still work?
If you and your spouse went on weekly dates, how can you connect regularly now?
Consider your limitations, but also try to make room for the things that are important to you.
Watch Out for Signs of Postpartum Depression & Get Emotional Support
1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression after giving birth, and about 80% of women experience a milder form of postpartum depression often termed “the baby blues.”
If you think you may be experiencing postpartum depression or the baby blues, share how you’re feeling with your spouse, a family member, or another trusted loved one.
Reach out to a professional if necessary!
Your mental health is important too and there is no shame in your emotions.
Help is available.
Show Baby the Outside World
Though your baby doesn’t understand a lot yet, they’ll be delighted to discover the world!
Take some time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
This will provide mood and energy boosts for you and your baby.
Keep your baby out of direct sunlight (newborn babies can’t wear sunscreen quite yet), and dress them in similar layers that you would dress yourself so that they don’t get overly cold or hot.
See a Professional Photographer
If possible, get professional photos taken of your baby!
Photographers generally like to capture newborns close to a week after they’re born, so if you’re up to the task, these pictures will be precious memories for you and your family.
Try Listening to Audiobooks
Sitting down to read a book may be harder than it was pre-baby, but now’s the perfect time to take up listening to audio books if you haven’t before.
You can check out digital audiobooks from your library, or buy audiobooks from multiple places online.
Start a New TV Series
You’ll definitely need some time to relax and unwind on your parental leave.
Ask friends and family what TV series they love and see if there’s one that you could watch during your spare time.
Start a Photo Album
Even if you think there’s no way you could forget the cute way your newborn smiles when they’re sleeping, it’s easy for these small memories to fade with time.
Take photos and keep track of the information that goes along with a photo (i.e. first time meeting Grandma, first smile, etc.).
Start a New Hobby
Now that your baby is here, you may have to be more intentional about doing something for yourself.
Something you could try doing during your free time is taking up a new hobby!
What kinds of things do you enjoy?
Are you creative?
Do you like to bake?
Consider what would be fulfilling and maybe relaxing for you.
Do Easy & Light Physical Activity
New moms are generally advised not to exercise for the first 6 weeks after giving birth (though your doctor may recommend something different), but it’s usually safe to go for walks if you had an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery.
So get the stroller out and take your baby for regular walks when you feel ready.
Your family is probably bursting with excitement to meet your new addition!
If you’re feeling up to it, take your baby to see family members who live nearby or have them stop by for a visit.
Remember to take care of yourself too though–don’t overdo it with trying to be an amazing hostess.
I mean you JUST had a baby and now your life is being taken up by a small human begin.
I’m sure they’ll understand and will be happy just being able to see you and the baby.
Organize Baby Clothes
You may have received or bought a variety of baby clothes and sizes when you were pregnant.
Now that baby is here, take some time to organize your baby’s wardrobe so you know what pieces you have in future sizes and for various occasions.
Get a Postpartum Massage
What could be more relaxing for a new mom than a postpartum massage?
Have baby spend some time with your partner or another family member and take some well-deserved time for a postpartum massage.
Your body will thank you for it!
Find New Recipes
Now’s the perfect time to find easy recipes you love!
Scour Pinterest for recipes that require little time and effort so that dishing up warm meals for dinner is a little easier.
You’ll be surprised by all the delicious dump-and-go recipes available.
Build Your Milk Stash
You may have a larger supply of breastmilk in your baby’s early days as your body is trying to figure things out.
If this is the case for you, try to pump a little extra breastmilk that you can stock up and freeze.
That way you can build a good stash of breastmilk for when you return to work.
Just don’t go too crazy–your body will adjust if it thinks your baby needs that much milk, and oversupply can lead to problems too.
Make Your Pumping Bag
If you plan on continuing to breastfeed once you return to work, then you’ll need a pumping bag for when you go back.
Your pumping bag will hold your breast pump, storage bags, nursing covers, and anything else you think you’ll need.
If you’re not sure what all you’ll need, you can read this list of pumping items to bring to work here.
Figure Out Childcare
If you don’t already know who will be caring for your child when you return to work, now’s the time to figure out a situation that will work for you and your family.
Interview nannies or visit various childcare centers while your baby is with you so you can make the best decision for both of you.
Take Selfies with Baby
The struggle of having someone take pictures of us with our babies is real.
But don’t let the opportunity of taking some pictures of mom and baby slip you by!
Instead, take some selfies with you and your new baby!
You can take some of the baby sleeping on you (which they’ll do ALOT), breastfeeding, or when they’re wide awake and amused.
I have so many of me and my babies that I love looking back on
Start Reading Baby Books
As a new parent, you want want to start learning more about babies.
A great way to do that is by reading a baby book.
Baby books will cover many things from developmental milestones, feeding baby, tips for new parents, and more.
Join a Mommy Group
Once you become a mom you may want to connect with other fellow moms.
You can make mommy friends by joining a mommy group near you or you can try joining one online too.
Make a Newborn Keepsake
Your baby will never be this small again.
So find a way to make a cute and memorable keepsake.
An easy one you can do is to make a hand or footprint with either ink, baby-safe paint, or salt dough.
Take Weekly Pictures of Baby
Something that I highly HIGHLY recommend that you do is take weekly and even monthly pictures of baby.
This is a great and fun way to see how much your baby has grown.
And they do grow fast!
Go to Your Postpartum Check-Up
Just like with a newborn check-up, you need to make sure that you’re good and healthy too.
Your postpartum check-up is normally scheduled 6 weeks out after you give birth.
If you notice that you don’t have one scheduled then call your doctor’s office and make an appointment now!
Take a Family Picture
Whether it’s a professional picture, one that Grandma takes, or one that you do yourselves, taking a family picture with your new member will be a special photo that you can look back on.
And it’ll make for a great start for many pictures to be hung on your wall.
Drink a Glass of Wine
You’ve spent the last 9 MONTHS making sure you ate right, took your vitamins, and of course, didn’t drink.
When the baby is laying down asleep (and you’re not breastfeeding), have a glass of wine.
You deserve it!
Get a Library Card
Libraries have TONS of things you can check out!
From movies, books, and even classes, getting a library card at your local library is a good idea for any mom.
How long is maternity leave?
This will depend on your job and the state that you live in.
Each state has its own maternity leave laws so you’ll have to look up your states.
It seems though that it can be anywhere from 4-12 weeks depending on where you live and your job.
Some jobs (if you’re lucky) are okay with going beyond what they must give you and will extend your leave a little longer if you ask.
What to do while on maternity leave before baby?
Some women start their maternity leave before the baby is here.
That way they can take some time to prep for the baby, rest, and do any other things they feel they need to do before their due date.
Below are some ideas on what to do on maternity leave before baby arrives:
- Organize the nursery
- Deep Clean
- Read up on breastfeeding
- Learn about different coping techniques for labor
- Take time to do fun things
- Pamper yourself with a spa day
How do I entertain myself on maternity leave?
Though you love your baby and spending time with them can be amazing, maternity leave can also be lonely, and well, boring.
A lot of the time it’ll just be you and the baby.
And right now, baby doesn’t hold much of a conversation.
After so long you may try to start thinking of what you can do to entertain yourself besides cooking, cleaning, and hanging out with the baby all day.
Here are some things you can do below if you find yourself struggling with boredom:
- Start a project (like art, crocheting, etc.)
- Video chat with friends and family
- Take a stroll through the park
- Meet up with a friend
- Go swimming or take swimming lessons (but be sure to wait until after you’ve healed from postpartum)
- Go to lunch with your partner during their lunch break
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What things did you do on maternity leave with baby? What things do you recommend doing while on maternity leave? Tell me below in the comments! And if you liked this post, give it a share! Thanks!