Let's get the assumptions out of the way so we don't make donkeys of ourselves...heehaw.
* I am not pregnant (I knew you would ask!)
* This is what I do while I'm on maternity leave after having a new baby, it is not what everybody needs to do or wants to do, but it's helped me immensely. I get totally turned off by posts that try and tell me how to be my kid's mom, so you go be your kid's mom and take what I say with a huge chunk of salt.
* Being on maternity leave implies that you work outside the home, and will be returning to work outside the home, and therefore leaving your baby in someone else's care. So this post might upset moms who are all about attachment parenting and exclusive breastfeeding and co-sleeping, but working moms can't do those things.
Alrighty...let's make like a party and get started...
Do as little to nothing as possible.
|Just nursing and nursing and nursing.|
When I'm at work and dreaming about maternity leave, I always have these grand plans to clean the house, rearrange bedrooms and cook elaborate dinners. Then I have the baby and remember it's not the time for that. Giving birth is a huge feat and our bodies need time to rest and recover. There's no shame in that!! My midwife always tells me to just sit and nurse the baby for three weeks, then I can think about doing something else. I find it hard to do nothing, but binge watching Netflix helps me get over that :)
Let friends and family visit. And let them help.
OK, now that you're doing nothing and your house is probably a mess, you think "I don't want anyone to see this!" But guess what? You are holding the cutest little distraction in the world, and when friends and family come over to visit, they are staring at the baby, not the heaps of laundry.
And if for some reason, they do notice the laundry or dishes and offer to help...say YES! It makes them feel good for helping you out, and it makes you feel good to receive that help. When people say "Let me know what I can do..." I am getting better and better at giving them an answer. "You can come hold the baby while I shower!" "Could you pick up some diapers while you're at the store?" "I could use help picking up my kids from school today." Whatever you need, people are usually very glad to help in a tangible and specific way. I know I am.
Don't hold a sleeping baby.
|Night night, sweet one.|
Sure that baby is darn cute and you want to snuggle him all the time. But when he is about to fall asleep, lay him down in his bassinet/crib. First of all, it gives you a break to go to the bathroom, eat, shower (see next point), breathe in the fresh air, whatever you need. Secondly, it teaches your baby that it's ok to sleep on their own. I am sort of a crazy mom about this one, and when people come over to hold the baby, I only let them do it if the baby is awake. Let sleeping babies lie. Lay? You get my point. Babies can get used to anything, and starting them off as good sleepers on their own will help not only you but your daycare provider as well.
Shower every day.
|Oh, you think YOU had a rough night?|
Hygiene is wicked important. If you breastfeed like I do, you know that waking up every morning with bed head, a sleep-deprived face, sweaty pajamas, leaky chesticles, and a healing "bottom" is not the best way to start the day. Go shower, put on clothes, brush your hair and greet the day with an "I totally got this" attitude. Fake it til ya make it. And while you're at it, get a haircut!
Give baby a bottle.
|Gimme all the milk.|
Oh the lactation consultants will tell you that a breastfeeding baby shouldn't have anything but the breast...but when you know that baby will be getting bottles as soon as you head back to work, you have to change the rules.
So go ahead and breastfeed exclusively for about 3 weeks. Then start pumping enough to give one bottle of breastmilk a day from that point on. Baby gets used to eating from a bottle, and if you time that bottle right, mom can get an extra hour of sleep or two while dad bonds with the baby. Winning!
When I was a stay-at-home mom, one of my babies ended up never taking a bottle because I didn't introduce it until 5 months. I learned quickly with the last four that if you introduce it early enough, there's less chance of refusal. Even if you do stay at home and breastfeed on demand, introducing a bottle can be great for the times when you want to go out when baby is 6 months old.
My friend who is a nurse and breastfeeding advocate once told me "A bottle a day keeps depression away" and I think she was onto something. For some of us (like me) there is a feeling of being trapped when the baby won't take a bottle, like you can't ever go anywhere until baby is fully weaned. Just knowing they can eat if something happens to me makes me feel better.
Keep the other kid's routines normal.
|What's more exciting, getting picked up from school early or getting a new brother?|
When I had my 6th baby, my oldest four were in school and my toddler was at a home daycare. The day the baby was born, my husband picked everyone up early and they came to the hospital to meet their little brother. It was a special and exciting day, and we loved it.
But the next day, it was back to normal...school and daycare until I got out of the hospital. Then once I was home, I still sent the toddler to daycare for a couple more days (due to lots of appointments the baby needed for jaundice) and I think it really helped. The toddler knew life was different now, but it didn't affect him too much. Once we settled back home and Phil went back to work, I kept the toddler home with me for the rest of my maternity leave so that we could enjoy our time together before he had to go back to daycare. He bonded with his baby brother, and only having two at home (while the older four were in school) felt super easy!
Go on a date.
|Feeding the baby before feeding the momma.|
Try and go on a date with that Baby Daddy of yours at least once before work starts up again. It makes you feel like you're *almost* ready to be back amongst adults in the workplace, and newborn babies are super easy to take to restaurants, they just eat and sleep. Leave the older kids at home with a babysitter and enjoy your marriage and babymoon.
What else am I missing? Linking up with Kelly because it's Friday and that's how I roll. Happy Weekend everybody!