Maternity leave is a very special time indeed. Exhausting, exhilarating and overwhelming, but special nonetheless.
Here are five tips for making the most of those precious few months with baby…
Find some amazing new friends
Connecting with other mums is one of the best things about mat leave. Sure, you have loads of friends anyway, but there’s something special about the mummy comrades that you meet, who are at the same stage of life as you are.
Memories about sleepless nights, surprising joys that new babies bring, and overwhelming new parent panics are soon forgotten as kids grow up, so having someone to share and discuss those feelings with as they happen is so very valuable.
A recent report by Channel Mum found that, sadly, lots of new mums feel lonely and isolated when they have a baby, and 80 per cent want more mummy friends. Although walking into a room of faces can be daunting, try your best to get out to a few baby groups or coffee mornings and strike up a conversation with the other mums. Chances are they’re feeling just as scared as you..
Pregnancy takes a huge toll on your body, no matter how old you are and how active you were pre-baby. Getting out there and getting back into fitness can seem like a gargantuan task, but you’ll feel much better in no time when you’re out in the fresh air, or back in the gym.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so take your time. Walking with your buggy can be a great way to take those baby steps back into having an active life.
If you have any concerns about your postnatal fitness, speak to your health visitor or midwife who will be able to advise you on exercise, and when you can get back out there following your birth (especially if you have had a c section).
And remember, working out and getting active with a buddy will keep you accountable and make things more fun, so make fitness a regular part of your routine with your new friends.
Explore your local area
It can be so easy to overlook the amazing things that are right on your doorstep. Beautiful libraries, picturesque parks and duck ponds, coffee shops and bakeries, interesting shops and community centres. Make the most of your time off, and enjoy where you live.
Many people forget the joys of exploring these forgotten treasures, especially when work and driving from appointment to appointment takes over, so take your time, walk around, delve into that little bookshop you always planned to visit, potter around that artisan food market, or watch the world go by at a lovely cafe while baby sleeps.
You may also be pleasantly surprised by the amount that goes on in the daytime, mid-week! Storytelling sessions at the library, yogalates classes, fitness sessions in the park, coffee mornings, baby sensory at the local play centre – the list goes on. Take advantage of your free time with baby and get stuck in…
Make some beautiful memories
Maternity leave can be a whirlwind, and before you know it you’ll be planning your return to work, so remember to take the time to take loads of pictures, fill in your baby memory book, and write a diary or blog so you remember all the beautiful little details.
You can even open an email account for the little one, and send pictures, videos and funny memories as they happen. When your son or daughter is old enough, give them the password. A simple – and very special – way of treasuring those special memories together…
Chill out when you can…
Although maternity leave is short, take the time out to look after yourself. Grab 40 winks, have a pyjama day or relax with a book when the baby has a nap. You don’t have to cram a million things in, and (considering babies don’t always sleep through the night!) if you fancy a chill out day to recharge and have fun at home, do it. Playing and singing inside can be just as precious as getting out and about.
What are your top tips for making the most of mat leave?
Buump Active was created to help mums connect with each other, find like-minded local friends, and inspire and support each other to get active. Pre-register here