On my first I had to wait extra long as he was 10 days overdue. On my second I started maternity leave on a Friday and I was in the maternity ward a day later. Pregnancies can be so different.
Now that baby is here, you might be busy changing nappies, feeding, cleaning up sick, changing outfits after a poo incident, but yet you still need to keep your head clear and get out of the house. Remember babies sleep 16 hours out of 24 hours after all - or so they say! (Wasn't the case with my second)
Here are some tips how to keep yourself busy while on maternity leave:
1. Go for a walk everyday
Fresh air is important for babies. Try to aim going for a walk everyday, weather permitting of course. I didn't go outside that much when Matthew first was born but I changed this when Chloe came along and we were outside as often as we could be. Buggy Walks Ireland has lots of great buggy accessible walk locations all across Ireland on their site, perfect for finding new routes to take a stroll with your pram or buggy.
2. Meet other mums
Baby/Toddler groups are great for meeting other mums with babies/toddlers. Ask your public health nurse when they are on or look for ones online, one a week should be enough. They are normally on in the morning.
3. Go to a baby massage
Baby massages are very popular these days. Whether your baby has reflux, has trouble bringing up wind or you just want to simply do your baby something good. For most babies it is nice way to relax.
4. Book a baby swimming lesson
Obviously your baby is not going to learn how to swim that young but water is great for babies. They can build up their strength and learn so much floating in the water. Water Babies is one organisation who provide this service. You can bring your baby from birth. Have a look at their website and see if they do a session near you. We tried it with Chloe when she was only 3 months old.
5. Meet a friend for lunch
It’s nice to meet familiar faces for lunch like your friends and talk about the latest gossip. The least thing you want is to get lonely now that you have a baby. Keep in touch with your friends as regularly as possible.
6. Setup the nursery
If you haven’t done so already, start on the nursery for your baby. Sit down with your partner and decide on the colour and theme of the room. Matthew's room was finished by the time I was 22 weeks pregnant with him. I did Chloe's room while I was on maternity leave with the help of a few friends and I've shared a video of Chloe's nursery too.
If your baby is born in spring time, it’s a great opportunity to do some gardening. Put the baby in the pram and leave him/her in the garden beside you. That way she still gets fresh air and you get things done.
8. Book a photo session
It’s nice to have some baby photos hanging in the house - especially precious newborn pictures. We had photos taken by a local photographer who specializes in baby photography with both of our kids.
9. Get hand and foot prints done
This is a lovely keepsake. I recommend to get this done as early as possible. Once they are older and can move/roll around it can end up in a disaster. I’ve been there.
10. Book a place in the nursery
Find that perfect nursery for your child to start in. Both my kids started creche when they were 5/6 months old as unfortunately, in Ireland, you only get 6 months paid maternity leave.
11. Start a blog
As a parenting blogger myself, I can't stress enough to start your own blog while you are on maternity leave. I have done a monthly update on Chloe when she was a baby and I am so glad I did. I can always look back on these updates and a blog is a lovely keepsake of all yours and your family's adventures and memories together.
*This is a guest post by Janine from Janine's Little World - a full-time working mother with two young children, Matthew and Chloe. Janine is originally from Germany, but now lives in Ireland with her family. Her blog shares posts on parenting and lifestyle.