You have finished work, and have not yet had the baby. For the first time in your working life you have freedom, maybe weeks of freedom! There is the temptation to use it to simply be and do nothing, and equal temptation to jam in as much as you can. Here are my top five tips for the must-dos on maternity leave.
Read a book… or two!
This is absolutely the time to do it. Take a book and devour it! Sit in your nursing chair with a cuppa and just read. You have nowhere to be and no one will question you spending hours to yourself. You are the pregnant lady, you are untouchable, this is your time to shine!
Go to the movies
Bonus points for going on your own, and triple high score if it is Gold class. There are many reasons why this will be harder once your bundle of joy arrives in the world. Whilst you are feeling tired and fragile now, once you have a newborn you might actually turn into a pumpkin if you are out after dark! Going along to ‘mummy and me’ movie sessions sounds like fun (I can’t personally comment as I could never get my A into G to get there), but there is something magical about being completely absorbed in a story and escaping into another reality for a while. I have lonered it up on my own with both pregnancies and felt amazing afterwards. True it may have been the choc bomb, popcorn and soft drink that came with the experience but I like to think it was that little piece of ‘me time’, self care and time out.
Go out to dinner, just the two of you
It will never be just you and your partner again. Sobering thought but one I encourage you to think about. One regret I have is how busy Mr Breast Dressed and I were in our own little lives, we missed a few of the golden ‘lasts’. I was even booked for an induction the first time around, so there was no question when exactly would be our last night just as a couple. Don’t think of it so much as a ‘last supper’ but rather a planning for the future. A celebration of everything that came together to create this little person that will soon be joining your tribe. Fancy is awesome, but a pub meal at your local is just as special. It is about togetherness.
Start… and finish a project
For me this was an important part of meeting my baby. Creating something special just for him. I recommend starting and making sure you complete this before your due date. I began knitting a little comforter just after my second boy was born as the end of my maternity leave consisted of crashing at my mum’s house while hubby renovated our little piece of paradise. Young Dashiell is now 15 months old and this is still a work in progress! It doesn’t have to be craft, get outdoors, start a succulent garden (one that is easy to maintain), renovate your laundry, style your nursery. You will spend hours sitting, feeding and staring at said project longing for it to be finished, so make it something you can do now while you have the time and the motivation.
Bake, batch cook and meal plan
This will be a life saver in the inital few weeks of the newborn haze. Having pre-cooked, bang in the microwave meals will be the gift that keeps on giving. If you can make a few healthy-ish treats such as muffins and bliss balls to grab on the go that would be ideal too. One little tip is to fill up a container with trail mix – nuts, dark chocolate, dried friut and put it next to your feeding station (yes thats a thing). Grab your water bottle and trail mix and feed away. Breastfeeding makes you incredibly hungry and thirsty and once you are latched well you never want to move.
Those are my top tips for now. Do you have any exciting or helpful ones to add? I would love to hear from you!
Jessica is the creator of First in Breast Dressed a space for mums to feel supported in both their breastfeeding and motherhood journey, as well as shop for all their nursing accessory needs.