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What to do on maternity leave?(27 Posts)
I am currently on maternity leave and while I am enjoying all of the lovely time with my baby, we are both pretty bored! I am used to being out of the house at work all day and often being busy at the weekends and evenings so finding the adjustment really difficult. Baby is sleeping through the night which is great but this does mean she doesn’t nap much during the day and needs constant stimulation. I do all of the usual things with her, but as a first time mum I am struggling to come up with enough ways to keep her entertained and wondering if any more experienced mums have any creative suggestions.
Baby is much happier on days I can get her out of the house but the weather we have had lately is not conducive to most outdoor activities.
Does anyone have any suggestions for the following please?
1. Things I can do when baby is asleep once housework is done that aren’t likely to disturb baby and allow me to keep an eye on her too. I do read but tend to that before I go to sleep at night so don’t really want to do more during the day.
2. Ways to entertain a very active but non-sitting baby other than the usual books, toys, tummy time etc. We already go to baby groups.
Hi Steeley, she is 4 months old. Sorry, it would have been helpful to put that in OP!
I wouldn’t worry too much with a 4 month old. As long as they’re being interacted with, then all the rest is just extra. Do housework with her in a bouncer/on playmat next to you and chat away, just have a wander with the pram. Enjoy having a portable baby and go and do things you enjoy like meeting up with friends. As for when she’s napping, exercise, chill out, find a ‘project’ you can work on like decorating or sewing.
I found that some babies will sleep through, regardless of noise so once LO is asleep, I wouldn't worry about having to be quiet.
I was bored senseless during ML. LIke you I'm used to being busy and all my friends/sisters were at work, so I put ds in a sling where he was warm regardless of the weather, and walked canal paths, re-decorated rooms, wandered around towns I'd never been to before.
As they get bigger it can be tiring but it got rid of any remaining baby belly. The local leisure centre had a creche so I swam a couple of times a week. I tried Aquababes but ds hated it.
Sounds like you are doing everything you could do, life will start getting busier once you start weaning....making and cleaning up after food constantly. In the mean time, read a book, go visit people, go for walks now the weather is nice- just talking to your baby is stimulation.
I’m off mat leave in 3 wks time and dreading it, honestly enjoy what you can as it flys by in a heartbeat.
Are there any playgroups near you? Most churches seem to run one. Also classes like baby sensory. Our local surestart centre has a sensory room which is great. Failing that, look at local art galleries and museums, some have baby classes or messy play for when she's a bit older.
I went to lots of baby groups so I could drink coffee in a different setting and chat to people. Made a really good group of local friends doing this. I’m on maternity leave with my second and on days the eldest is at preschool we go for long walks, I go for coffee or I watch movies and while he naps or potters around (he’s now 11 months so will play).
I took up knitting and crochet to do something for myself during naptime, or the rare 15 minutes that DS is happily playing in the playmat.
Do, do whatever you fancy and she tags along at that age. Go shopping, lunch with friends, eat cake, wander round museums/art galleries if that's your thing, take up a new hobby.
Agree with Pp. you have a good few months before baby needs any more entertainment than looking at stuff. I used to pop my DD in a sling and go to galleries or for long walks not accessible by prams.
When baby is sleeping you could always look into doing some online courses. There's ones on infant nutrition for example that'll prep you for weaning!
Enjoy the next few months op!
I went to loads of groups . Children’s centre are great as cheap sessions .
One thing I did when DD (now 10 months) was a bit younger was to try to recreate some of the experience of baby sensory class at home - I made a Spotify playlist with different sections (sea-themed songs, mountain-themed songs and desert-themed songs) and would waft blue, white or yellow scarves respectively around her and take out (vaguely) appropriate toy animals for each 'location' e.g. teddy bear for the mountain, elephant for the desert, etc. God knows what she made of it all but it passed the time and at least I felt that I could then have a bit of a rest and let her play in the baby gym guilt-free.
If there is an aquarium or city farm anywhere near you, that might make for a fun trip for her as well.
Also, naptime is great for listening to a podcast on headphones. These days I spend all DD's naps cooking her next meal, so make the most of it!
This is very similar to my situation as my DS is 5 months. Finding it a struggle to fill the days when weather is rubbish too.
The only other suggestion I have to what everyone else has said is that I am trying to learn how to code. There are plenty of free websites with tutorials and finding it fairly interesting so far and is easy to do just do a few minutes everyday or more when I have extra time.
Your 4 month old sleeps through? I would spend a good part of your bored time thanking your lucky stars. DD2 is taking after her big sister and is still up constantly at 13 months. I’m too tired to be bored.... I’m jealous.
Invest in rocker and jumperoo if you haven't - these kept my babe occupied for hours.
Relax/ watch good films/ read when the baby is asleep! - They might go through sleep regression later so make most of it
I loved taking my baby to swimming lessons, although the private ones were intense and expensive, I think at this age still too young for public pools.
Don’t know if it appeals to many people but during nap times I learnt to sew and it’s become a seriously useful skill as I now make nearly all my dds clothes. It’s also a hobby I love and find really relaxing.
I went to so many art exhibitions on maternity leave that by the end of the year off I was doing freelance art criticism. (I did have some experience and years of interest in it before, but still - would not have made this leap if it wasn't for maternity leave!)
Baby cinema also an absolute godsend. It's Oscar Season. See everything!
But genuinely, do what YOU enjoy. See your friends. You have more freedom now than in 2 years time when the baby wants to watch Peppa Pig or play football constantly. And babies are potentially stimulated by anything at that age. Walking round the supermarket with you telling them the names of different fruits or listening to Taylor Swift while you dance around is as exciting to them as some random class leader doing Wind A Bobbin Up or whatever. Think of it as a little lifehack.
Totally agree with Pistachio , this is a good time to do the things you want to do with baby tagging along. So I went on a walking tour of the city I’d lived in for a few years but didn’t know the history. I did try and see if there was any volunteering I could do but none would take the baby too (not even visiting people in care homes).
I also found a mums walking group that met once a week.
Might be an idea to look at some local boards to see what's running near you. I joined a walking group and went with dc3 in the sling while others were at school. I did some online courses too. Otherwise sat with friends and drank too much coffee
I basically spent my maternity leave in coffee shops, going to baby groups, running with the running buggy and shopping. I just couldn't stay at home when she was little. It drove me nuts. I think she was about 12 months before I learnt to just enjoy chilling at home with her. Actually it probably coincided with when I went back to work and had a better life balance of being mummy and being me.
I always think first babies miss out a bit because they love nothing more than people watching in a busy place! And we sit around and try to entertain them with "activities"
I agree, do things that you want to do which you're allowed to take the baby to as well. Use a sling - they love to watch humans be humans.
As others have said, at 4 months you can definitely still get away with doing stuff for you, and she will be happy enough just to go along for the ride!
I went back to work when DS was 4 months, but before that managed to squeeze in lots of lunches with friends etc. I also used to make a whole day out of doing errands. So for example, going to the mall to get a birthday present for someone would become a lazy wander around the shops, a stop for a coffee etc.
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