Today is my last day of Maternity leave. I have loved every single minute of it, and will cherish the time I had with my little man. From snuggling on the couch, to our daily coffee dates, the past 5 months with him have been amazing.
Maternity leave in the US is shamefully short. Some mothers get no paid leave at all, and most states only mandate 6 weeks of paid family leave. I’m very fortunate that my company are supportive of families, so I could take a total of 22 weeks off to bond with my baby. I’m looking forward to going back to work and catching up with my colleagues. Luckily, I love my job, so I’m excited to get back in the swing of things. I’ll miss my gorgeous boy like crazy, and I know the first couple of days will be difficult.
Today, I’m sharing my advice for making the most of your maternity leave. It’s such an important time for you and your baby, so no matter how much time you have, make the most of it.
1. Establish a Routine
Babies love routine, and it can really help you to have structure on your day. Try and establish a loose routine – we did playtime each morning, went for a walk after lunch each day and had storytime in the afternoons. It breaks up the day, and made the days seem shorter to me.
2. Go Outside
Getting out and about is so important for both mamma and baby. Being at home with a baby can be very isolating, so make a point of going for a walk or running an errand every day. Jack and I went on daily coffee dates to our local cafe!
Socializing is beneficial to you and to your babe – You get to to have adult conversation while Junior gets to meet new people. Look up local Mother & Baby Groups, meet a friend for coffee and check out mother and baby fitness classes too – I’ll be joining this class when we move home later this summer.
The first year of a babies life is huge developmentally. Nurture your babes development by mixing up activities each day. Try activities like tummy time, playing music, interactive toys, reading and so on.
5. Soak It Up
Staying busy is important for your sanity when you’re home with a newborn, but take time out to just sit with your baby and soak them up. Nothing beats baby cuddles, so hold them a little longer, and enjoy your little one.
6. Do Something for Yourself
I started this blog on maternity leave. I’d always wanted to blog, but never had the courage. I decided to take the plunge while on leave, and have loved having this creative outlet to express myself. Use your time to do something that you love, just for your own pleasure. Paint, garden, start that novel you’ve always to write – just do it!
If you can afford to, take some trips while you’re on leave. You never have enough annual leave when you’re working, so make the most of the longer stretch of time off. We took a couple of long weekend trips, a week in a Orlando and a full month in Ireland.
I’m sure I will shed some tears tomorrow when I leave for work. Wish me luck!