How To Have the Best Maternity Leave EVER

I’m a full-time working mom and I’m currently on maternity leave with my third baby, Alyssa Jaime.  Maternity leave is meant for bonding and that time is sacred to a new mom and baby (or in my case a seasoned mom and a new baby).  This is honestly the best maternity leave ever and it took me three tries to finally get it right!

best maternity leave ever

Here are some do’s and don’ts on how to have the best maternity leave ever:

  • Do make sure you know all about your employer’s maternity leave policies before your baby is born.  This will put your mind at ease knowing exactly how much time you’ll get off, how much is paid versus unpaid, and knowing you’ll still have a job upon your return.  It’ll be one less thing to worry about once you have everything squared away with HR and your manager.
  • Do sleep.  Get lots of sleep.  I’m sure that you’ve heard the phrase, “Sleep when your baby sleeps.”  Guess what?  The newborn babies sleep on average of 16-17 hours a day.  It might not be consecutive hours, but since you don’t have to clock-in at work, you’ll have the luxury of sleeping in or taking naps throughout the day.  Naps with the baby make the best kind of naps.
  • Don’t stress about work.  They will figure out a way to carry on without you.  If you set your emails to automatically reply that you’re out of the office, they will quickly realize that you’re not available and not bug you.
  • Don’t take on big projects.  You may think that 6-12 weeks off is a great time to take on that big reno or start working towards that masters degree.  Uh, no.  Big projects bring on big stress and there’s no room for that with a new baby.  With my first maternity leave, I planned my wedding.  On my second maternity leave, we took on the daunting task of house hunting.  This third time around, the only project on my agenda is to love and get to know this baby.
  • Do take lots of pictures of your little baby.  Their tiny faces change so much the first few months so hone in your mommarazzi skills and capture each and every squishy-faced moment.
    Alyssa Collage
  • Do take a vacation or stay-cation if your budget allows and if you’re comfortable with taking the baby out.  The maternity leave period is a good time to get away since time off may be limited once you return to work.  The kids and I went to Florida for an extended stay-cation at my parents’ house and skipped out on the brutal Chicago winter. Check out what we did here. IMG_5728

 

  • Do ask for help.  If you need help – whether it’s for someone to watch the baby for a few hours so you can run errands or if you need advice from a lactation consultant – don’t be afraid to just ask!
  • Don’t worry about chores or housework.  Those can wait.  They’ll still be around even when your maternity leave is over.  Which brings me to my last and final piece of advice…
  • Do nothing at all.  Unless it involves kissing, hugging, starting at, nursing/feeding, smelling, cuddling, admiring, snuggling and just loving on your sweet baby, then nothing else matters.  Forget about your smart phone, forget about social media, and go off the grid for a couple of days.  I don’t know if it’s just me, but the days seem to last longer when I’m unplugged.  And when it comes to maternity leave, you’ll want to stretch all the time you can get.

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What’s your advice for having the best maternity leave ever?

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Comments

  1. This is all amazing advice! I’m jealous that you’re skipping winter and hanging out in FL- that sounds like the best idea ever!
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner recently posted…Project Sweet Life- Sarah KnepperMy Profile

  2. She’s precious Gracielle! I am happy you are enjoying your maternity leave :)

  3. I’m loving the sunshine on your photos!! The first one looks like a book cover! I agree with sleeping when the baby sleeps. I super had a hard time putting Reiko to sleep when he was a newborn or it’s more of like, I didn’t know how to put him to sleep, boo! So I was a walking zombie all the time. When my husband had to go back to work after his pat leave, I was kinda on my own but I survived it! So glad you finally did it right this time! Seize the moment, xx.
    Rea recently posted…UnwrittenMy Profile

  4. I’m so inspired by your maternity leave. It’s my idea of heaven. I’m in Florida right now, I can’t imagine having a baby in the cold winter. Both of my kids were born in the summer.
    If I ever have a third, I’m going to read this over and over again.
    Tamara recently posted…A Post From a Beach House.My Profile

    • Arielle and Zavier were both born in the spring, so having a winter baby made me a bit nervous. It worked out well because I was off for the holidays and I’m lucky enough to have parents that live in Florida!!

  5. These are perfect tips!! I want your maternity leave, can I have a do-over, but without the labor part, and we’re good with three?
    Your mommarazzi skills are on point!! Alyssa has changed SO much in such a small amount of time. She is precious. Wishing you and your beautiful family all the best, always!
    XOXO
    Mrs.AOK recently posted…Thank You Notes: Lego, Love, and Texas PrideMy Profile

  6. My friend in Canada did this but they get 9 months off up there so they went to Europe-talk about a vacation!
    I’d only be afraid to take them on the plane that small because of their immune system is still premature but once they are there that is PERFECT weather. Babies catch colds easily in the winter :-(
    Good advice here-when I went on maternity leave I didn’t sleep when she did and I tried cooking at 10 pm some nights can you believe it? Next time I’m totally resting up! And I may consider going to Florida myself if I have a baby in the winter time, that’s a smart idea! Glad you are enjoying your time off with the family!
    Deanna recently posted…Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Chi City Mom!My Profile

    • I hope America does something about the maternity leave – we’re the only developed country that does not have paid time off! I should add to my tips, “DO move to a country that has at least 3 years paid maternity leave!” I was hesitant about traveling with the baby, but she was tucked inside my moby wrap the entire time. :)

  7. Excellent advice! My maternity leave ended up becoming permanent, but I think your advice is good for every mom. Time passes so quickly, and newborns change just as fast!
    Dana recently posted…What movies taught me about loveMy Profile

  8. All such great tips. I remember how exhausted I was and it sure went by too fast, but I would not change it for the world. Very good point about knowing what you employer offers as there are so many different policies depending on the industry. I love how you are travelling with your kids!
    Raquel recently posted…SNICKERS Bar Cookies & A Big Bowl Game PartyMy Profile

  9. Oh cuteness overload! These are all sounds advice for all moms to be to enjoy and love their maternity leave. I never really experience one but I sure could use these tips way back then 😀
    Maureen recently posted…Bukan PilihanMy Profile

    • You’re right! I guess all moms could use this advice for spending time with their new babies. I just associate this newborn period with maternity leave since it’s such a limited time where I get to spend all day with my baby.

  10. Congrats and love the tips! the tackling new projects is a good one!

Trackbacks

  1. […] so much that I’m still discovering and learning as a mother.  For one, I finally figured out how to have the best maternity leave ever.  Also, I recently started learning about babywearing and all its wonderful […]

  2. […] all happening so fast! After having the best maternity leave ever, we talked about taking the leap to leave Illinois and move to Florida to enjoy beautiful weather, […]

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