Your new arrival is almost here! Find out how to get the most from those first few precious months.
It’s finally time. You’ve celebrated your baby shower, said your goodbyes at work and struggled through your last commute. You’re finally ready for your maternity leave! If you’ve just started out on your leave or recently welcomed a new baby, it can all feel a little bit daunting. You have months of time stretched out before you, but how can you be sure that you will make the most of it? Remember, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed and anxious as you head off on maternity leave – particularly if this is your first baby. It’s also important not to put too much pressure on yourself to make every minute perfect. This time is going to be a little chaotic – and that’s ok.
Enjoy Some ‘Me’ Time
The last few weeks before your baby arrives are the calm before the storm. Indulge in time to focus on your needs. From lazy bubble baths to pampering trips to the salon or spa. You might even binge those box sets you have been saving up. Don’t feel guilty about spending time doing the things you love; it’s going to be much more difficult to get any alone time very soon!
Prepare for Birth
It goes without saying that going into labour is stressful. You don’t want to be running around looking for your birthing plan and slippers at the last minute. Ensure your hospital bag is ready to go, have a plan for getting to the hospital whatever time of day or night your little one decides to make their entrance, and take the time to talk to your birthing partner about your wants and needs during labour. Labour is never easy but being prepared will help the process run as smoothly as possible.
Get To Know Your Baby
Once your little one has arrived, it can feel like a whirlwind of feeding, nappies, and chores. Take the time to cherish this special time. Talk to your baby, sing to them, spend time just being with them. The dishes may stack up for a few hours, but who cares when you get to enjoy time with the most important person in your world!
Join Some Local Groups
Maternity leave can feel lonely at times and many new mums miss the structure and adult interaction that comes with heading off to work every day. This is where new parent groups can be a life saver. Not only does your baby enjoy interaction with other little ones, you can enjoy some grown-up conversation and share your questions with others who are going through the same experience. There are a huge range of groups to go to from baby yoga and massage to buggy-fitness classes. It can be daunting at first, but once you make these groups part of your weekly routine, you won’t regret it!
After your initial recovery period is over, it can be tempting to remain in hibernation mode. After all, who doesn’t love indulging in daytime TV and sweet treats? However, it’s important to get out and active every day. We are not saying you should be back at the gym a few weeks after birth (although if that’s your thing, go for it), but simply making the time to walk out with the pram can help to boost your mood and improve your overall health.
Know That it’s OK to Ask For Help
You don’t have to be superwoman. It can be mentally and physically draining to be catering for the majority of your baby’s needs, day and night. Build a supportive network around yourself, filled with family and good friends, and be prepared to use it. Even if it’s asking someone to watch your little one for an hour so you can have a shower and dry your hair in peace. If you are finding being a new mum overwhelming, speak to the people closest to you and ask for advice from your health visitor and midwife.
If you’re used to being tied to a restrictive work schedule, then now is a great time to enjoy some relaxed off-peak holidays. Travelling with a tiny baby can actually be much easier than trying to navigate train and air travel with a toddler, as they spend so much more time sleeping. You can also grab a weekend away without worrying about heading straight back into a hectic work week. An added bonus is that infants often travel or stay for free, so it’s a great way to get in a budget break.
Catch a Film
Yes, really! You may think that your trips to the cinema are temporarily on hold while your baby is tiny. But many cinemas now offer specialised mum and baby screenings that make it easier for new parents to relax and socialise outside of the house. It’s a great opportunity to connect with other new parents and catch a recent release. Just remember to grab your changing bag as well as your popcorn!