To anyone that has been on maternity leave, I don’t know about you, but I’m finding that having to stay home during this Covid-19 pandemic to be quite similar to my first maternity leave. When I had my first baby, maternity leave wasn’t what I expected it to be. I spent so many days at home with the baby and the days felt very long. It wasn’t until I got comfortable with this new lifestyle that I was able to venture out and start to enjoy being on leave.
I now have 4 children and actually enjoy maternity leave a lot more. I extended my leave with my third child, whereas, with the first two, I went back to work at the one year mark. Throughout these maternity leaves, I’ve figured out what to do with a baby so that the days don’t feel as long. I found that on the days where we went out for playdates, trips to the mall or to baby groups, the days would fly by. But now, we have to stay home, so the days definitely feel a lot longer.
I’ve figured out some strategies to help make the time pass more quickly. Here are some of the things that I did with my kids when they were babies and we were home all day. I also plan on doing some of these things with Lara once she's past the newborn stage:
It’s so important to have your baby on a schedule and it really helps make the day flow a lot better. There are lots of sample schedules online that will help you determine an appropriate schedule for your baby depending on their age. Keep in mind that these are only guides, babies don't always follow schedules perfectly, so try not to get frustrated when developing a schedule. However, the more consistent you are, the greater the likelihood that your baby will follow a schedule.
Three of my maternity leaves were in the city of Toronto and we really enjoyed going on walks since there was always lots to see and it was nice to get some fresh air. Most of the streets are pretty much empty now, so it should be fairly easy for you to go out and still practice social distancing. I usually enjoy my coffee and listen to music or an audiobook during this time since my children all enjoyed sitting quietly and looking around during walks or they'd fall asleep.
During the newborn stage, I do take naps with Lara when I feel like I need one because she isn't sleeping through the night yet and I do have interrupted sleep at night. However, around 4 months of age, my babies started to sleep longer at night and eventually we established a consistent nap schedule too. I found that being productive during their naps and in the evening once they've gone to bed, made me feel a lot better.
Some of the things I like to do during this time is cook, clean, organize or create digital content. I’ve also spent many hours watching movies and shows on Netflix, but I find that I feel so much better when I do something that’s more productive. There will be times when you will just want to shut your brain off, grab a glass of wine and watch some TV or scroll on social media, which is perfectly fine. Just don’t spend most of your time doing this. For many of us, this is a great opportunity to get things done around the house that we normally don’t have time for. So try to make the most of your time.
There are always chores that need to get done around the house. Laundry is a big one for us since we're a family of six. I'll also start using cloth diapers on Lara very soon, so this adds even more laundry for us to do. Though it's more work, I'm so glad that I opted for cloth diapers since I ended up having 4 kids and was able to use the same diapers on all of them. If you’re interested in learning more about cloth diapers, I’ve shared all about the pros and cons and my entire cloth diapering system in this video:
It helps to have a list of activities that both you and your baby enjoy doing together. Then every day, choose some activities from that list to help pass the time. Here’s a list of things that you can do with a baby at home:
It’s not easy being trapped at home all day, especially with a baby. Hopefully, some of these suggestions will help make things a little easier.
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