When you’re counting down to the start of your maternity leave, and more importantly D-Day, it’s very easy to feel down. As your bump is still expanding and you’re really feeling like you’re going to pop, you just feel tired, swollen and a little bit scared.
You may even feel panicked that things still need to be done, but try and take some deep breaths (good practice for what’s to come) and enjoy this exciting time.
Not only are you about to finish work for a while, you are also going to have a wonderful bundle of joy to keep you occupied. Babies change so fast, so prepare to savour every moment!
Getting ready for Baby
If you feel as though you’re not organised before baby’s arrival, write a list of what needs to be done. Then prioritise everything. Some things can wait.
What to put on your list:
- Somewhere for baby to sleep (e.g. Moses basket), baby blankets, sheets
- Bottles, sterilising unit, formula (even if you plan to breast feed. You may need an emergency back up)
- Your hospital bag with nightdress, nursing bras, maternity pads, big knickers, toiletries
- Baby’s hospital bag with first size sleep suits, nappies, cotton wool, hat, going home outfit
- Pram, car seat, baby basics such as baby bath
Just remember that anything else for baby can be bought after your baby is born, or you can ask family and friends for certain things.
Housework and decorating can also wait. The baby can easily sleep in your room for the first three to six months, so even their nursery can be put on hold if need be.
You may not get an awful lot of ‘me time’, but there will be times when you can make the most of those quiet moments.
Before the baby is born do lots of relaxing. This means having plenty of long baths, hanging out in your PJ’s, sleeping as much as you can and getting people to run around after you!
When baby is here and you’re at home being overwhelmed with visitors, take full advantage. Let them take the baby, change the baby’s nappy, feed them (if you are using formula or expressed breast milk) and if you have family staying over night, let them take care of baby while you sleep in.
Allow your partner to get involved and accept any help offered. Make sure you are fully prepared for when hubby is back at work and it’s just the two of you.
Baby is Growing Fast!
Each moment with your baby is special. You’ll be taking plenty of photo’s and seeing how quickly they are changing. Every few weeks they are growing out of outfits and you are noticing milestones.
You may be reading books or articles of what your baby ‘should’ be doing week by week. When they finally do things, such as smiling, rolling over, sitting up, you can enjoy these moments. You have this time off work to see what baby is up to.
You may look back and feel a bit sad that baby isn’t so teeny-tiny anymore, but buying new outfits can be exciting. Baby clothes can be bought on a shoe string too (have a look in supermarkets, or the sale racks) which is a positive when you’re not earning.
If you’re handy with a knitting needle and wool, then making your own baby clothes will save you some money, as well as keeping you occupied when baby is asleep (unless you are sleeping too!).
In fact you can go all shabby chic by making new cushion covers or painting old furniture. When you’re at home every day, you might want to freshen things up. It’s cheaper than buying new.
If you do have the time and energy, now is also a good time to start up any old hobbies once again.
Sort Out Baby’s Social Life
Have a look online or information from your local children’s centres at what there is to do with baby. They’ll be plenty of baby groups to meet other Mum’s and chat with health visitor’s about any concerns you may have.
There might be alternative ideas, depending on your baby’s age and ability. Try music and singing groups or swimming clubs. Some groups are free, but others charge termly or an entrance fee.
You could also set up a group with the other Mum’s. Invite them round for coffee, then change location to someone else’s house or a baby-friendly coffee shop.
This is not just indulging. All of these contacts will come in handy once you have returned to work and you need some quick information about something baby-related. Besides, it’s good for your baby to learn to become flexible and get used to other people, locations and babies.
Get Some Pocket Money
Getting some extra cash always comes in handy, especially with a baby to buy for. Sell off your old stuff to make space in your home and make money. Use Facebook, Ebay or Gumtree to advertise your maternity clothes, pre-pregnancy clothes and baby clothes and toys.
If you did get handy with those crafts, there’s always Etsy to sell all things handmade.
Make Your Own Baby Food
When it comes to weaning, making your own baby food can be great fun. Get an ice cube tray to freeze batches of food and try out a number of flavours. You can try out the shop bought ones and re-create them at home. This way you are saving money, and making something you know baby likes!
Have a look on the internet or at baby recipe books for ideas.
Time To Go Back To Work?
Are you dreading the return to the grindstone? If the boring 9-5 you had isn’t filling you with excitement, then use this valuable time off to check out what else is available.
Get your CV and Linked In profile up to date and have a scout about at what is out there. If you need to brush up on a new skill, then see if you can do some research.
Of course, you can also get chatting to your new Mum friends and find out the companies they work for. There could be an opportunity for a fresh new start.
Author: Emma Harvey, Emma is a working mother with a 12 year old and a 9 month old. She works in the care sector and has just returned from maternity leave as a trainer. She writes and blogs in her spare time. Read more on Emma’s own blog: HubPages