The days leading up to the birth of your baby are very eventful, as is the birth itself. However, it is when you are coming home from the hospital with your new baby that it all suddenly becomes real that your home life is to change in a major way. You’ve got your baby’s room prepared, you’ve set up their baby bassinet and stocked their drawers full of clothes…what’s next?
Your maternity leave is the perfect time to recover, bond with your new bundle of joy, and get organized for the days ahead. Babies grow quickly, so it’s important to get your ducks in a row so that you can be prepared for every stage of their growth and development. We’ve compiled this easy-to-use checklist to help you make the most of your maternity leave.
How to Make the Most of Your Maternity Leave
- Fill in Your Baby Book
Filling out your baby book is a lot of fun and will be a cherished keepsake when your baby grows up. The first thing to add to your book after the baby is born is your birth story. It’s easiest to recall all the details when they are still fresh in your mind, so take some time to record the events in the first few days after getting home.
- Do Your Birth Admin
There are a couple of annoying admin things that are really important to get done within the first few weeks of bringing your baby. First, you should report the birth to your insurance company to get the coverage you need. Next, mail in the paperwork to get your baby’s social security card and official birth certificate. The hospital may have already helped you with some of this paperwork, but if not, it’s up to you!
- Send Out Announcements
Shortly after your baby is born, it’s time to start spreading the word. A traditional snail mail announcement will be much appreciated by family and friends, particularly those who aren’t on social media. A beautiful announcement card is also a great memento to put in your baby book, family scrapbook, or refrigerator.
- Have Baby Photos Taken During Maternity Leave
Even though staged baby photos can seem cheesy in the moment, you will love looking back on them once your baby has grown up. Newborn photos should be taken before the baby reaches two weeks of age to capture their snuggly, sleepy cuteness before they become more active. As many photographers need advance notice to book a session, it’s best to book them before the baby is born. You can also schedule them to return every month for progression photos of your little one to record them as they grow.
- Join a Parent’s Group
New parents especially will require a lot of support to get through all the challenges of caring for an infant. In addition to bringing your friends and family closer to you during your maternity leave, be sure to reach out to different communities of parents. Being a part of a group of other parents going through the same things as you can be the support system you need, particularly when it’s time to return back to work after your leave.
- Take Care of Yourself
In addition to taking care of your newborn, remember that your maternity leave is also a time for you to heal. Eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, and ease into exercise when your doctor says it’s ok to do so. You will be busy, so meal prep can save you a lot of time and keep you from snacking on unhealthy foods.
Take time to relax and remember how incredible your body is to have created a whole new life. Congratulations!
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