Maternity leave can be a huge blessing – you get to spend time with your new baby!
But, it can also make you feel a bit lost. If you’re a new mom, life with a newborn can quickly become overwhelming. If you are used to going to a job every day, being thrown into a life without structure as you adapt to your baby’s schedule can be difficult.
You’ll want to do your best to stay relaxed, go with the flow, and really enjoy this precious (and fleeting!) time. Here are some thoughts to help you truly cherish your time with your baby while on maternity leave.
1. Focus On You And Baby
You’ve just entered into a new relationship. It’s time to get to know one another! Maternity leave = Mama and Baby time. No work. No job. No unnecessary stress. Move slowly. Talk slowly. Do the bare minimum of household chores. Spend your time getting to know this new, tiny addition to your family. Even newborns have likes, dislikes, preferences, and fears. Maternity leave means eating, sleeping, cuddling, and slowing down.
2. Take Care of Yourself
You just did something some might call miraculous. Others might call it amazing. Either way, Mom, you gave birth! You grew an entire human being with your body in just 9 months. That was more work than you think, and your body would appreciate some rest, healing, and nourishment. Eat lots of fresh veggies and fruits, nourishing soups and teas, and consider postpartum herbs to support you through this crazy time.
3. Focus on Feeding
If you are breastfeeding, it may take a while for you and Baby to find your groove. Take time every day to gaze at your baby and hold her skin-to-skin to support all those breastfeeding hormones. Also, pay close to attention to Baby as she nurses. Is she latching properly? Are you as comfortable as possible? Now is the time to practice and really connect with one another. If you are finding breastfeeding to be really stressful, speak to a lactation consultant. They’re eager to help!
4. Accept Help
Being a new mom, especially if you’re home alone all day, can take its toll. You may need a little “me time.” Don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help. It is likely that a friend or family member would love to spend time with the new baby and give you a much-deserved break, OR let them take care of the household chores (sweeping, dishes, laundry) so you can lounge around and bask in newborn baby goodness without any stress!
5. Take Outings
This may not be needed daily, but getting outside a little with the baby can help you not feel so trapped in the house. If the weather permits, take the baby for a stroll in the driveway. And, when you are up for it, take Baby with you to the store, library, park, etc. Stay away from crowded, germy areas (like restaurants) for the first month or so. Outdoors is ideal.
What have you been wanting to read or do that you can now that you are home with Baby? You don’t want to overdo it as you adjust to mommyhood, but it can also be a great time for reading and catching up on movies while Baby naps in your arms. Be sure to enjoy your time home. It goes fast, and you’ll miss it when it’s over.
Towards the end of your maternity leave, it is a good idea to prepare for the transition back to work.
Once you’ve figured out your back-to-work childcare you may want to set aside a few days toward the end of your maternity leave for some trial runs with the nanny or day care (or your mother if she’s the one who’ll be watching your baby when you go back to work). ~WhatToExpect
Wondering when you should go on maternity leave? Read our post to learn more.
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