Preparing for the birth of your new child takes time, and that is what maternity leave is for. So while maternity leave is essential to your well-being, and your baby’s, it can be hard to know what to do. You have a limited amount of time and it can be overwhelming the amount of stuff you have to do. We put together a list of 9 maternity leave activities that will help you prepare, and enjoy your time with your new baby.
What is Maternity leave?
Maternity Leave is essentially a vacation period that you can take to prepare and enjoy time with your newborn. According to American Pregnancy Association, “Maternity leave is usually created from a variety of benefits that include sick leave, vacation, holiday time, personal days, short-term disability and unpaid family leave time.”
Maternity leave ensures that the mother is adequately prepared and financially stable for when the baby comes. It also gives time for the mother and child to bond and allows the mom time to recover after giving birth.
There are a variety of things that influence the amount of time you have for maternity leave, but the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected maternity leave. There are a few requirements for you to be considered “eligible” for this leave, but many people qualify. Therefore, the typical amount of time for maternity leave (in the United States) is about 12 weeks.
When to Take Maternity Leave?
It is your personal preference when you decide to take maternity leave. Some women decide to take 4 weeks off before their due date so they have time to prepare for their new baby. Other moms choose to wait until the last possible minute so they can have all their time off with their new baby. So, when you decide to take maternity leave is really up to you.
It is a good idea to involve your partner in the decision as well. That way you can both determine a good amount of time to be off and enjoying your new baby together. Financial constraints may also play a role in your decision, but in the end, it is all about your personal preference.
What to Do During Maternity Leave
So whether you decide to take your maternity leave early, or later, we put together a little list of nine things you can do during your maternity leave.
Before Baby Comes
There are a few things you can do during your maternity leave that will make life after giving birth a little easier.
- Organize your Leave from Work
Maternity leave is long, and this lengthy departure from work can leave your co-workers and boss scrambling to pick up the slack. It is important that you form a plan with your boss and co-workers so everyone can be on top of your job duties. If you have a good plan in place, when you eventually come back, you can pick up right where you left off.
- Contact Health Insurance
Maternity leave is semi-complicated when it comes to time off and what you qualify for and what you can take. You are going to want to sit down with your Human Resource manager to figure out what you can take. In addition you may want to contact your health insurance provider to make sure you know exactly what is covered in your plan.
- Food Prep Before Baby
There are a bunch of things you will have to worry about after you give birth. Make sure that preparing food isn’t one of them. There are plenty of recipes and great food prep tips that will make food prep quick and easy. Check out this article for more information on why food prepping before the baby arrives is a great idea.
- Test Out the Gear
For some reason, it always seems like baby carriers, seats, and strollers are way more complicated than they need to be. There are dozens of straps, clips, and velcro that it can be difficult to understand what goes where. Before the baby comes, it is a great idea to test out the new gear. That way when the baby does come you won’t be hopelessly confused on how to get the baby carrier out of the car.
- Arrange Some Help
Those first few weeks back from the hospital can be overwhelming. All the time spent feeding, doing laundry, and finding time for yourself can be overwhelming. And while you may not want to be away from your new baby for even a minute, you will need to step away at some point. That’s where you will need some help, maybe it is only a couple hours, or even a couple minutes, but having someone you can rely on to help is essential. Whether that be your partner, a parent, a friend, or even a babysitter.
Once Baby Comes
Once the baby comes, you will want to take full advantage of the time you have with them. Here are a few ideas to keep you sane, and enjoy time with your new baby.
- Set Aside “Me Time”
Once the baby comes, your time will be consumed with feeding, playing, sleeping, and occupying your baby’s attention. A great way to prevent becoming overwhelmed is to set aside some me-time. This doesn’t mean you have to leave the house, or spend money. You can simply take a long bath while the baby is asleep. Or read a book you have been meaning to get to. Whatever makes you happy and allows you to relax for a short amount of time.
- Join Mommy Groups
Another great way to occupy your time, and make the most of your maternity leave, is with a mommy group. These groups are found in your area and are designed to bring together new-moms and their children. These groups can be instructional – such as learning to breastfeed. Some can be fun – such as “mommy and me music time”. These groups provide a great opportunity for you to connect with your new baby, and also find some new friends.
- Take Pictures
As anyone with a child will tell you, “time flies”. Make sure you can capture the small moments and growth by taking lots and lots of pictures. A great way to announce the birth of your child is through professional newborn photos. Not only are they a great keepsake, but you can show off your beautiful baby to your friends and family.
- Get Out
Everyone knows if you are inside for an extended period of time that you can go a little stir-crazy. Couple that with the fact that your only companion is a baby, it’s no wonder that mothers enjoy time outside. A great way to exercise and escape your house is by walking the neighborhood with your baby. Not only will this help you get back into shape, but it is a great way for your baby to get some stimulation.
Maternity leave is not only about spending time with your baby, but making sure you have a good postpartum recovery. After spending hours in labor with little rest, and the sudden transitions your body has to endure, you can be left feeling sore, fatigued, and weak. Postpartum recovery is a journey, and you don’t want to have a long and painful one.
That is where Bellefit comes in. Bellefit makes the best postpartum recovery garments to experience your postpartum life with less pain. We have everything you would need for your postpartum journey – girdles, compression leggings, nursing bras, etc.
We want to make sure your postpartum journey is the easiest part of your pregnancy experience. Shop all of our garments today, and get back to feeling your most confident and strongest self.
We hope this has given you a few ideas of what to do during your maternity leave. If you have any more suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.