A woman's time at home with her baby is a very significant time in her life. For some, it is a blissful period of time where a mother is able to slow her usual frenetic pace and enjoy the peaceful, quiet moments of motherhood bonding with her baby. For others, it can sometimes be a monotonous, isolating time where a mother feels perhaps a loss of her own identity and a craving for adult contact. Regardless of where mothers fall on this spectrum, the time at home with their baby is still significant in its own way for every woman. It is an important time where mother and baby bond in their own way and find their new routine together.
Whether you are the type of mother who treasures every moment at home with your baby, or you're a mother who loves her baby but perhaps does not enjoy being home all day on your own, there are some wonderful ways to spend this time together. Here are 10 fun things you can do with your baby while on maternity leave.
10 Sign Up For Baby Swimming Lessons
Swimming lessons are a great activity to do with your baby once they are about 4 months old. It's a great introduction to the water, which is so important for babies to get used to. Because of their age, normally a parent will need to be in the water with them, and this can be such a fun thing to do together.
Not all babies are comfortable in the water, so this may take some time and there may be a few tears at first, but eventually, most babies get used to the water and even begin to enjoy it. Other babies absolutely love the water right from the beginning, and wiggle and giggle as soon as they see the pool! With all the singing and splashing that goes on, you can't help but have a smile on your face watching your little one enjoy their first swimming experience.
9 Mom And Tot Music Classes
Music has such a profound effect on babies, and it is something that they should be exposed to from an early age. Mom and tot music classes are lots of fun, with engaging activities that are age-appropriate, great music, fun toys, and opportunities for social interaction for both babies and moms!
It's a great way to get to know other moms in your area who have little ones the same age as yours, and often it is through these classes that lasting friendships are formed. But, even if you don't necessarily discover your mom BFF at these classes, they are still a wonderful way for you to introduce your baby to the concepts of music, while having some fun, and getting out of the house for a bit!
8 Get Outside
There is something to be said for the powerful effects of fresh air and sunshine on a cranky baby... and a cranky momma for that matter! Granted, it helps if this is during some warmer, sunnier weather, but regardless, getting outside and going for a walk with your baby is a wonderful way to spend some time together and get some physical activity in.
Use the stroller or your baby carrier, and go to your favorite park or hiking trail and just wander along. Enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature, soak in the sunshine, listen to the gentle breeze in the trees. Often, your baby will be snoring peacefully by the time you get home, and you will feel rejuvenated and relaxed as well. It's a win-win situation!
7 Take Time To Enjoy The Quiet Cuddles
Growing a tiny human is a lot of work, and it takes time for your body to heal and repair itself after such an enormous task. Be sure to give yourself permission to slow down, rest, and relax, all the while enjoying some blissful cuddles with your newborn baby.
Savor the lazy days at home, snuggling with your baby, and building that bond together. Not every moment of your maternity leave needs to be packed full of things for you and your baby to do. It is these quiet, tender moments that you will look back on fondly once you are back to the busyness of working and raising your little one.
6 Travel With Your Baby
Now, some may read that and think, "Not in a million years!", and that is completely understandable. It can be stressful, and it does require quite a bit of planning ahead of time.
However, there can also be some benefits to traveling while on maternity leave. Sometimes, it can give you the flexibility to travel at a cheaper time of year, depending on when you are off work. It can allow you to go and visit relatives that you may not have had the time to visit if you were working. This also gives those relatives a chance to meet your darling little one and for you to have some additional support in looking after your baby, so you could perhaps grab an extra moment or two for yourself. Even if you're not visiting relatives though, traveling somewhere new can be a wonderful, memorable experience for you and your new little family.
5 Start Or Join A Mommy Group
The old adage that "it takes a village to raise a child" still rings true today, although it can often be harder to find our village in today's busy, technology-driven world. Today, it's harder to find that Mom Tribe to help you in this journey, but it is still just as important. Sometimes, getting out and joining a mommy group can help to create that village for you, and often this is where lasting friendships are formed, both between the parents and the babies.
If you don't seem to have a mommy group in your area, consider starting one yourself. Even if it's just something simple like once a week someone new hosts a coffee morning, and the moms bring their babies over, have some snacks and coffee, and head home. It doesn't have to be a big hassle, but just having that social time can mean so much to both mom and baby.
4 Get Dad To Take Time Off Too
This isn't always easy or practical, especially when it comes to finances. But, if your partner is able (and willing!) to take a bit of time off and it is not too much of a stretch financially, then this is a great thing to do during your maternity leave. Having time together as a whole family, to bond with baby and find your way together, is a wonderful experience. It likely wouldn't be for the whole maternity leave, but even a week together can be so magical. If nothing else, it gives them a solid glimpse into the role that you play and the responsibility that you carry.
3 Carve Out Some "Me Time"
It is so important that moms take time to look after themselves as well during this time, and this is something that can often get overlooked. As mentioned before, growing a baby is a lot of work, and it takes time for your body and mind to heal from such an ordeal. Life with a newborn is also not a walk in the park, and there can be a lot of sleepless nights, endless walking and rocking baby, and very little time for you to take care of yourself.
So it is during this time that it is vital that moms carve out a little "me time" whenever they can. It might be calling on someone to watch baby for an hour or two so you can nap (or shower!), meeting up with a friend for a coffee while your partner looks after baby, or just having a nice, long bubble bath. But whatever makes you feel rejuvenated, make sure you find time to do that for yourself.
2 Have Some Fun Photography Sessions
Have some fun photography sessions during your time at home, and capture some of the amazing moments with your baby. It doesn't necessarily have to be a professional photo shoot, you can do your own quite easily.
Perhaps it's autumn, the leaves are turning, the sun is shining, and the sky is that beautiful October blue. Get your baby outside, grab some of those leaves and maybe a pumpkin, and snap away! Or perhaps you've taken your little one to the beach for the first time, and it's a beautiful sunny day with the water sparkling in the background. Get your baby dressed in their cutest little swimsuit and get some photos of them feeling the warm sand for the first time. These moments that you capture are ones that you'll treasure forever.
1 Enjoy The Daily Routines
This isn't a specific activity to do with your baby while on maternity leave, but more of an encouragement to find the joy in the daily life you are currently living. It isn't always going to be easy, there are going to be many times when you feel exhausted and alone, and there will be moments where you miss the old you.
Take those hard days in stride, and acknowledge your feelings of stress or isolation; talk about them with your partner, friend, or family member. But when those difficult days pass, and they always do, try to embrace the new routine you are creating with your beautiful baby.