Updated at: 08-11-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Pregnancy leave: what to do with your time off? Like me, you might not have given this much thought until after the birth of your child because you value a more conventional work-life balance.

In all likelihood, you didn’t give any thought to maternity leave before you gave birth. But now that you are ready to relax and enjoy your new baby, what are some activities that I can engage in during my upcoming time off?

The Ultimate List of Things To Do on Maternity Leave

1. Get your baby insured

It’s important to get the basics in order first. In order to get your newborn baby covered by insurance, you must contact your provider within the first 30 days after giving birth.

You read that right; the hospital will charge you for the newborn’s care. However, this is something that they regularly encounter. You have roughly two weeks to go through with this since I’m quite sure you need their Social Security number (SSN). Her Social Security number (SSN) and birth certificate both came directly from our hospital.

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I suggest you put a reminder on your phone for each of those items, as well as the deadline for including the baby on your insurance.

2. Have professional photos taken ASAP

In no more than 10 days at the absolute most. Why? The old adage holds true; they mature at a rapid rate.

Around the 10-day mark (along with the first predicted round of cluster feeding), they undergo a noticeable shift in facial structure as a result of this initial growth surge.

Not many hospitals provide photographers to visit with new mothers; while I appreciated having one at my hospital, I wasn’t overly impressed with the quality or service. I would solicit recommendations and then check their availability via phone call. Get the photo shoot over with quickly so you can cross that task off your list.

3. Get familiar with your baby book

The task of filling out a baby book can seem daunting. Most of them feature sections for recording important pregnancy milestones and details like food cravings, weight growth, feeling your baby kick for the first time, etc. Since this is a lengthy process, it is preferable to begin it before the arrival of the kid.

Baby’s birth weight, length, time of delivery, and the names of the first guests can all be recorded right away. Just in case you forgot! Nonetheless, that’s not all you should accomplish.

Now is the time to begin leafing through the book and making mental or digital notes on the holes that will need to be filled in the near future. I say this because there were times when I failed to jot down important information since I didn’t have a dedicated space for it in my notebook. Please don’t make the same mistakes I did… The emptiness of baby books saddens me.

Keep in mind the milestones you want to cover in your book, such as learning to speak, rolling over, taking their first trip, etc., and add them as they occur.

4. Realize a new routine

A baby’s schedule will fluctuate like the weather because change is constant. Something new appears each week, yet you still need to be true to yourself. While on maternity leave, it’s a good idea to prioritize the things that truly matter to you.

You must place a premium on developing and maintaining a routine. Although it seems like everyone is preoccupied with baby preparations, I feel it’s important to stress the importance of self-care for mothers. There’s no clear order here, but contented mothers typically have contented infants. Chicken or egg?

Seriously. I need a friend’s help.

5. Start journaling

Keeping a journal is a wonderful method to remember the events of the day and reflect on their significance. Even though they are embarrassing, I enjoy reading over old diaries (and they definitely are).

Writing in a journal doesn’t have to be a time-consuming activity. This line a day journal is ideal for new mothers. Also, you’ll be glad you took the time to record the best, worst, and most stressful moments of each day.

6. Reach out to work

The last thing on my list was to do this, but I suppose it’s mandatory…

The HR representative I spoke with while enrolling my daughter in health insurance advised me that, generally speaking, new mothers are required to “check-in” once a week while on maternity leave.

However, in my opinion, a generalization isn’t nearly as binding as a rule. Even so, it’s critical to open channels of interaction. From the standpoint of the employer, the best course of action is to not call her at all; she will call you.

I think one email will do the work.

7. Solidify care plans

When you return to work, what do you expect to happen? Have you been on a waiting list for months? Is your mother-in-law planning to act as a nanny or grandparent? Trying to work it out still?

What do you anticipate happening upon your return to the workplace? Have you been put on hold for quite some time? Do you plan on having your mother-in-law care for your children? To what extent are you still pondering this?

Make it official, even if you “thought” you knew the answer a few weeks or months ago. First, make sure they are available, and then discuss a schedule that works for both of you. Get to the heart of the matter by asking the big questions and making the tough judgments.

8. Arrange back-up care (x2)

Being a working mother is challenging in many ways, but taking time off for illness is one of the most difficult. Both you and the person caring for your baby will benefit.

Where will baby be cared for if the nanny gets sick and requires a day off? Should you plan on taking time off of work? Do you think you’re up to the task? If you suddenly needed a caretaker, do you have the funds on hand to pay for one?

If you don’t have somebody in mind who fits that description, I would suggest recruiting a close friend or relative who might be available. Firstly, it may be economically feasible (or nonexistent). Even so, it’s important to get your backup ready and let them know they’re needed, as well as to lay out your goals and establish any boundaries.

9. Get involved in a mommy group

A part of me wishes that I had done this. My husband stayed at home with our baby for my whole maternity leave, so I didn’t have to. Both sides of the coin (everyone pitching in) (wahhh no one understands me).

I really regret not attending the new mom and baby group that is offered at our local hospitals. The only people who could benefit from it, in my mind, were moms who stayed at home. Even if I’m correct, I still regret not reaching out to other women in my situation.

10. Postpartum check up

You might expect to wait around 6 weeks for an appointment with a regular OBGYN. In the event that they don’t, you should force the issue.

Mothers require unique attention, too. You hold far too much weight to be ignored. Moreover, you are given the green light to return to your job. My employer needed a note from the doctor confirming that I was healthy enough to return to work.

11. Ease into exercise

You can begin exercising as soon as your physician gives you the all-clear. It’s safe to assume you can (and probably should be) on the move throughout your time off from work, which is a fantastic opportunity to establish some new healthy routines. Your ability will deteriorate if you don’t put it to good use.

I’m not suggesting you join a CrossFit gym, but I do want to reaffirm your appreciation for physical activity. It’s torture, no joke.

In all seriousness, though, you need to take in some calories because your body simply can’t handle much more right now. It’s acceptable to engage in sedentary physical activity like strolling or kegels. Do what you want!

The key is to plan ahead and set out dedicated time. I know how badly you want to get rid of the baby weight by now.

12. Scope out the local parks

Having a specific destination in mind makes it much easier to fit in those strolls. A newborn is too little to enjoy a playground or even those hip baby swings, but you can begin to form opinions about the playgrounds in your area.

For the most part, I try to see both sides of a situation.

Lots of tall trees to provide shade? PLUS! Do we have any teenage nicotine addicts in the house? Those are some useful nuggets of information. There is *absolutely* no chance in hell of that happening.

13. Take progression pictures

Those people aren’t a secret to you. Take pictures of your baby as they develop to receive social media praise. Your loved ones (and fans) will appreciate it.

I know very little, but at least I’m trying. Since I had to go back to work after 12 weeks, I realized I had to create a straightforward setup that could be repeated again and over.

14. Treat yo’self

Take care of YOURSELF. The time when babies can be held and cuddled constantly is coming to an end. The return to work once maternity leave is over is more difficult than any of the challenges of caring for a newborn.

To put it bluntly, I don’t want you to give this idea a passing thought. I encourage you to indulge in some self-care, be it a massage, facial, hair appointment, shopping trip, or whatever else makes you happy.

Fresh highlights in my hair helped deflect attention away from my postpartum belly when I returned to the office. PLUS, the salon experience felt great after a long week. (I used it as a dry run for my eventual return to the workforce.)

15. Get a haircut


With regards to Mom Haircuts, I feel very strongly. Here you will find extensive information on them.

however haircuts should be included because

  • Your hair is generally always in a messy bun or top knot.
  • A trim is necessary every three months; if you haven’t had one since giving birth, it’s time.

If I’m being honest, I try to avoid getting my hair chopped. They’re expensive, and I like to let my hair grow out instead.

Your hair will be much more manageable and professional-looking after a trim. You require this.

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16. Pack your pumping bag

Can you tell me if you’re planning on pumping at the office?

When I first went on maternity leave, I struggled to pump, so I didn’t fully grasp the notion.

Despite not having a huge supply of breast milk in the freezer, I was committed to breastfeeding while working full-time (and I did).

You’ll be surprised to learn that pumping is far less of a hassle when you’re not around the infant. Additionally, it’s a great pretext for taking a short break from your duties. Definitely a win-win situation.

So that you don’t forget anything, I’ve outlined a pumping bag packing list; please save the link.

17. Build a baby capsule wardrobe

The most valuable use of my time has been spent creating a capsule wardrobe for my baby. Baby clothes are ridiculously gorgeous, but the baby himself or herself is more than enough of a sight to behold. Unfortunately, my busy schedule leaves little room for the task of assembling a thousand miniature clothes.

All of my baby’s “sizes,” I’ve maintained the same foundational practices. Just a handful of staples—tried-and-true pieces that are soft, washable, and versatile. This is what I do because it’s convenient to be able to remove soiled shorts without ruining the rest of my ensemble.

LOL JK. No, really. My daughter’s clothes and style reflect me as a mother, and how DARE I exhibit her to the world in mismatched ensembles, yet that doesn’t cause me undue concern. Whoa, the fantasies we allow ourselves to entertain…

In a separate article, I will detail the things I absolutely cannot do without. It’s been a while since I started working on this post, and I still have a long way to go before it’s finished. To be honest, I haven’t given it much thought because baby clothes are well down on my list of priorities.

18. Host a Baby-Q

I’ve seen it referred to as a “drink and see,” but I prefer the more endearing “Baby-Q.” A friend of mine in Chicago tossed one, and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

During her brief maternity leave, she returned to her hometown and hosted a party for all of her old friends and relatives to see her new baby. Absolutely wonderful, right?

There will be no frantic attempts to tick off names and addresses by visiting everyone and their mother. When you just sit back, relax, eat, drink, and be a parent, people, well-wishers, and gifts will flock to YOU.

Truth be told, one of the main reasons I want another child is so that I may have an excuse to host a Baby-Q with a fun theme.

19. Baby proofing prep

That’s why I recommend getting ready in advance; newborns are completely helpless (but poop and sleep and eat). A shocking number of people inquired during my pregnancy if I had baby proofed the house. In the beginning, when a baby’s safety needs are minimal, the concept of baby proofing may seem absurd.

You shouldn’t use plastic clamps to secure the toilet seat or drawers just yet. On the other hand, while on maternity leave, you can get a head start on those preparations. You still have time to baby proof your home before your little one learns to crawl.

I started making mental notes of potentially hazardous areas, including those with unstable furniture or readily available chemicals. Those things need to be addressed as quickly as possible, but baby proofing is really just a way of life shift. It’s important enough to warrant its own thread!

Without being frightened, you should begin looking for potential dangers around your home and always keep them in mind. Doing things like putting a pot’s handle above the stove top prevents a child from accidentally pouring boiling water over themself.

To give you a sense of things to look out for, I found this fantastic, comprehensive website. Many ingenious devices exist to prevent infants from getting into trouble, but a determined youngster can always figure out a way in. Modifying regular practices is the most effective method of baby proofing.

How do you take maternity pictures by yourself?

Pregnancy announcements often include a photo of the expectant mother, and I personally find doing maternity shots to be even more enjoyable than family portraits. See below for instructions on how to do this task independently.

You will need:

You need either a camera with a timer or a remote control to take decent pictures. As a backdrop, a tripod In your stomach! Additionally, you can have some embellishments if you like! If you’re not sure what type of images you want to take, a quick search on Pinterest will give you some ideas, or you can even use it as inspiration to come up with something completely new!

There may not be enough time in between positions; once a model’s hands get fatigued from holding their body in place, we’re done.

What is the best colour to wear for maternity pictures?

You should try to scout the venue at least once before the shoot so that you can estimate how much time will be needed for setting up and getting the kids ready to shoot. Give yourself ample time to recover between sets; 30 minutes is ideal.

How do I plan a maternity photoshoot?

Having your baby belly captured in photos is a joyful way to mark the passage of time. To help you and your spouse organize a stunning maternity photo shoot, we offer the following suggestions:

Pick a location for the photo session. Which do you prefer, indoors or outdoors? If you must be outside, pick a spot where you won’t be disturbed by a lot of passers-by. Parks, gardens, or even in front of your house, provided there is nice landscape there, are all acceptable options.

If you must do this at night, make sure all lights and cameras with flashes are fully charged. Because we photograph all across London frequently, we’re pleased to offer suggestions whenever asked. We have shot mummies on Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill, and Richmond Park.

A word to the wise: Wear something that flatters your figure and makes you feel good. We want the moms and dads to look their best in the photos, so guys, try not to wear anything too flashy or distracting.

To wit: Get dressed! Wear something that flatters your figure and your taste in style. It’s important for the mothers and fathers to look their best in the photographs, therefore it’s best if the men don’t wear anything too flashy or distracting.

Maternity photoshoot ideas

— Get dressed! Wear something that flatters your figure and makes you feel amazing. When taking photos, it’s best if the parents look their best, thus it’s best if the men don’t wear anything too flashy or distracting.

Have mom sit on a chair with one leg up and her elbow on her knee for the traditional photo. Put it where you can see how different clothes look on the bump without putting too much pressure on yourself or the baby.

16 questions you should ask your employer before going on maternity leave

1. What forms do I need to fill out to request my maternity leave?

Instead of metal frameworks, lightweight, durable materials should be used for seats, such as wooden panels (or even plastic); this provides more support than standard beanbags while still being easy to move around.

2. Do I get paid by my company while on maternity leave?

Some businesses go above and beyond what is provided by the government and provide their employees with paid maternity, parental, or paternity leave. These benefits can either be configured to cover a specific percentage of your income for a certain number of weeks during your maternity leave (yay!) or cover your complete salary for the duration of your leave. Do your research and find out whether your company offers any of these perks. Insist on having the specifics of the payments, including when they will begin and end, and how much they will be, put in writing.

3. Am I entitled to benefits when on maternity leave?

Payroll deductions may be used to cover the cost of some or all of your benefits, depending on the plan’s design. Find out how your company handles leave-related benefits and if any preparations need to be made. You might, for instance, submit cheques with future dates for your benefits contributions throughout your absence.

4. Am I still eligible for my full bonus, or is it a prorated?

Pension payments and matching contributions to RRSPs are also valuable perks to consider.

5. How do I add my baby to my health insurance benefits?

While you are expecting, inquire about the company’s procedure for this. It’s likely that you’ll need to submit a form in order to proceed. Get a copy of the form, the address where you may mail it, and an estimate of when your new cards will arrive. This is just one of several forms you’ll have to fill out after giving birth.

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6. How can I contribute to a successful onboarding of my replacement?

Take part in your replacement’s onboarding to ensure a smooth transition for your team. Follow your supervisor’s example to ensure that you are participating in the onboarding process in a productive way.

7. How can I stay connected to the company through my maternity leave?

Keeping in touch with the office may be necessary (but not required). If you need help figuring out how to handle this situation effectively, consult your manager or the HR department. Have a think about this and be ready to make suggestions as well.

8. Can I keep company assets while on maternity leave?

Consider the resources you frequently rely on from the company. I’m thinking specifically of your laptop and mobile device. If you’d like, you can ask your employer to store these goods for the duration of your absence. Assume a negative response if business policy prohibits it. Still, there’s no harm in inquiring.

9. Will the company continue to pay for my professional designation or licensing fees during my maternity leave?

Check to see if the company’s payment of your professional designation or license will continue while you’re on leave if you work in a field that requires such credentials. When you’re on maternity leave and getting paid, the last thing you need is a bill for hundreds of dollars.

10. Will the company continue to pay for my education through maternity leave?

It’s important to know the company’s rules if you’re currently enrolled in a training program and want to keep going while on maternity leave.

11. Can we set up a ‘keep in touch’ schedule?

Maintaining contact with your employer is highly encouraged. Before taking time off, you should arrange how often you’ll stay in touch with the appropriate coworker. Depending on how you’re feeling at the time, this could alter. You should only agree to a timetable that you feel comfortable keeping.

12. What’s the best way to stay informed of ongoing organizational change and opportunities for career progression?

Before you take maternity leave, have a conversation with your boss about your plans for the future. There are two outcomes to mentioning this. For one, it keeps you abreast of what’s happening. Two, it shows that you are serious about your professional development.

13. When will my performance review be administered?

This is a constant reminder of your dedication to your profession. Before taking time off, make sure you’ve closed the loop on any projects you’ll be passing off by requesting an assessment of your performance.

14. How will I return to work after maternity leave?

Planning for your eventual return to work should begin as soon as possible. Plan your return to work with your boss after discussing the best time to resume contact. Plan ahead for any and all complications (childcare, parking, morning routine, meals, etc.).

15. Will I be returning to the same role after my maternity leave?

Learn the company’s standard operating procedure for easing new mothers back into their jobs following maternity leave. It’s crucial that you learn how they deal with alterations to roles, as they may have occurred while you were away from the workplace.