Get ready: your life is about to become all about a tiny but very loud human being who needs you around the clock!
If you’re a first-time mum, it can be difficult to fully comprehend the intensity of that need before your bub makes their grand entrance into the world, but trust experienced mums when they encourage you to make the most of any time off work you have before bub arrives.
Once bub has arrived, the months can really slide by quickly and before you know it, it’s time to return to work. There are all kinds of ways you can maximise this time, depending on your priorities and interests. Some parents like to get out walking with their baby and enjoy the fresh air as much as possible. Others use it as an opportunity to learn something new for themselves or alongside their little one. The possibilities will of course depend on your postnatal recovery, bub’s temperament and any particular needs they may have. So do keep an open mind about the kinds of activities you might enjoy while on maternity leave, and certainly don’t put pressure on yourself if you don’t achieve it all!
Before your baby arrives
- There’s a good chance in the late weeks of your pregnancy you’ll feel tired … very tired. Lie in bed with a good book and allow yourself to doze off. Get to bed early when possible. You’ll need your rest.
- Get your hair cut, coloured, any waxing or any other beauty treatments you like to do regularly.
- Pamper yourself! Go for a massage, facial, salt float or whatever will help you to relax.
- Take a warm bath, light a candle and soak up the peace and quiet. While a long warm bath or shower is entirely possible after your baby arrives, you’ll likely be on alert for their cry, which usually happens at the least convenient of times!
- Prepare a pot of your favourite tea or coffee and enjoy it all, warm. You’ll be amazed at how many cups of tea and coffee go cold and neglected once your baby is with you!
- Schedule some quality time with your partner or close friends. If you’re looking for ideas, you might like to check out these ideas.
- Enjoy a movie at night-time. Make it Gold Class! Whilst you may be able to make it to some Babes in Arms movie sessions during the daytime, you’ll soon discover the evenings are a whole other story!
- Hang in a cafe. Read a book, magazine or newspaper and indulge in some tasty food without juggling a bub and pram!
- Have a leisurely long lunch at a restaurant or an extravagant picnic. While away the afternoon in a scenic spot without worrying about bub’s next feed or nap.
- If you love the water, go to your favourite ocean bath or pool and enjoy the opportunity of doing laps or just floating by yourself. This is not easily accomplished once you have a little one on your hands.
- On a pleasant day, lie on the beach. Feel the sun’s warmth, the gentle sea breeze. Let yourself doze off.
- Get cooking! Prepare batches of some of your favourite nutritious soups, sauces, dishes and even snacks to pop in the freezer to consume after bub’s arrival.
- Buy some nice-smelling handwash and hand cream, a candle or essential oils. You’ll be spending a lot of time at home from now on and these little things can really help to lift your mood.
- Sit on the toilet and appreciate the serenity. Very soon you’ll discover that toileting alone is an opportunity to be relished!
- Give your pet extra cuddles. The arrival of a new family member can be a difficult transition for them too. If you have an active dog and your budget allows, consider engaging a dog walker for those busy early weeks or months.
- Do some spontaneous things. Jump on a bus, train or ferry and go check out that art or museum exhibition you heard about. Browse your favourite shops without worrying about how the pram will fit. Head out for a stroll with no particular destination or return time in mind. Grab a gelato from Tramsheds and go take in the scenery at Blackwattle Bay. Got a craving for dumplings? Go directly to Din Tai Fung!
- Get away for a special night or a weekend with your partner, bestie or a couple of girlfriends. You’ll find some beautiful hotels and guesthouses in this popular piece from our blog.
- Do those pelvic floor exercises! (Trust us on this one!)
- Read some books on what to expect after baby arrives. Many parents focus so much on the birth but have little understanding of postnatal recovery and baby care essentials.
- Consider what you might need for yourself in the early months. If your bub is due to arrive during the cooler seasons, invest in a dressing-gown and slippers if you don’t already own these.
- Remember that baby could make his or her appearance at any time – don’t leave everything to the last minute! Got your bag packed for your delivery and hospital stay? If not, here is some inspiration!
After Your Baby Arrives
- Invest in a large quality picnic rug. Explore the picturesque locations of the Inner West and beyond with your bub and take in the fresh air and scenery. Some of our favourite local spots are Camperdown Park, the Glebe Foreshore Park, Mort Bay Park, Petersham Park and Sydney Park. You can find more details on these stunning spots and more in this piece.
- When the weather permits, you’ll want to discover these family-friendly beaches.
- Many of the cinemas host Babes in Arms movie sessions where you can feel comfortable taking bub and feeding and settling them as required.
- Check out the baby programs at the libraries in your area, such as Storytime or Wiggle ‘n’ Jiggle. These are a wonderful way to support your little one’s development and meet other local parents. You’ll find the Inner West Council’s Little Library Lovers program here.
- Join a playgroup. These provide a relaxed, friendly setting in which babies and young children may explore and develop their skills through play. And parents and carers get to unwind and chat with other adults too. You’ll find a list of the Inner West Mums’ favourite playgroups here.
- Take a class with your baby. There are many to choose from, such as Gymbaroo, focusing on the fundamentals of your baby’s development. Some even enable you to learn simultaneously with your child, like the Bonjour Babies program teaching French to little ones and their parent or carer.
- A number of local galleries and museums run programs for babies and their carers. One example is the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Art Baby program, which includes a gallery tour and tummy time session.
- Pursue a personal interest or learn a new skill. Now, this one will very much depend on your baby’s requirements, your headspace and budget. But if you do want to develop a hobby or learn something new, there are numerous local day and night-time classes to choose from. Discover some of them here.
- As bub grows older, let them have a splash at the free water play areas on warm summer days.
- Once your baby is on the move, fenced playgrounds will become your new favourite places. There’s a list of great local ones to contain your little Houdini here.
- Follow the Inner West Mums- Sydney Facebook page. We publish articles regularly on great family-friendly activities in and around the area.
Image © 123rf.com / Asawin Klabma