Two women walking with a baby stroller.

20 Activities to Do During Maternity Leave

Expecting mothers everywhere look forward to those first few months of bonding with their newborns during maternity leave. This time away from your career gives you a chance to adjust to changes in familial structure, bond with your newborn, and familiarize yourself with your baby’s developing personality. However, the break from career-related responsibilities often comes and goes in the blink of an eye, making this time precious. To help you get the most out of your newborn’s first few weeks of life, here are 20 activities to do during maternity leave.

Preparing for Maternity Leave

Depending on your career, you may need to do some preparations to take full advantage of your time away from the office with your newborn. Always review your company’s maternity leave policy in advance and reach out to HR if you have any questions. Familiarize yourself with the maternity leave rights and laws on both the state and federal level and slowly begin to formulate a transition plan. Your work-related responsibilities should be transferred to someone else while you’re still in the office, so you won’t leave your team with problems while you’re unreachable. Make note of any key dates, upcoming deadlines, project leads, and communication preferences for while you’re away. Doing these things will help ensure that you have a stress-free maternity leave so you can make the most out of your time with your newborn.

20 Must Do Activities for Maternity Leave

Your maternity leave will come and go quickly, so try to fill it with activities you’ll enjoy. We’ve created a list of 20 activities to do during maternity leave, but don’t feel like you need to tackle them all. Do the things that bring you joy. If you don’t finish everything on your list, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll still have plenty of time to make memories and bond with your newborn once you return to the office.


  1. Rest and Bond

    One of the most important things to do during your maternity leave is to rest and bond with your newborn. Never feel guilty for resting, it’s exactly what maternity leave is for. Whether you do everything on this list, or none of them, doesn’t matter—simply spending time with your newborn is enough.


  2. Keep a Baby Journal

    The idea of starting a baby book is often abandoned, especially if it’s not started during the first few months of your baby’s life. During your maternity leave, try to stay up to date with your entries. Making it a habit early on will increase the likelihood that you stick with it once returning to work. You can make your own scrapbook or buy a more structured baby book online. Include information from your baby’s first doctor visit.


  3. Hire a Professional Photographer

    While you’re going to be taking pictures with your phone’s camera non-stop, you may want to consider hiring a professional photographer to capture your newborn’s very first months of life. There are some beautiful backdrops and positions used by baby photographers today, so it’s worth looking into.


  4. Create a Routine

    It’s easy to feel like you’re floating in time during your maternity leave, so try to create at least a basic routine that allows you to retain some sense of normalcy. Even if this just means getting up, washing your face, and brushing your teeth, you’ll feel better when you take care of yourself.


  5. Record Hand and Footprints

    There are hundreds of options for DIY handprint kits online and maternity leave is the perfect time to document your child’s journey. Record your baby’s handprints and footprints so you can look back and reminisce on how tiny they once were.

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  6. Find a New Hobby

    Many new mothers can’t imagine having the time to find a hobby during maternity leave, but it’s not impossible. Depending on your baby’s sleep schedule, you may find yourself with plenty of free time. If you do, try exploring new hobbies you can do at home. You’ll feel productive and may even uncover a new passion.


  7. Socialize with Friends

    While you’ll likely be tired and feeling like you’re in a transitional phase, don’t neglect your friendships. Socializing is an important part of mental health, so make it a point to see your friends a few times during your maternity leave. You can have a baby-friendly experience or have your partner watch your baby while you take some time for yourself.


  8. Join a Mommy Friends Group

    If you feel like you’re the only person in your friend-group with a baby, don’t worry. There are thousands of mommy friend groups available for you to join. Check local resources, your health club, or other community centers to see what’s available in your area.


  9. Visit Your Family

    If you live far away from your family, consider making a trip to see them and introduce them to your newborn. The earlier you expose your baby to flying or traveling, the faster they’ll acclimate to it. If you’re not up for the journey, ask your family to come to you instead.


  10. Explore with Your Baby

    Now is a great time to start boosting your baby’s development with fun, sensory activities. Just because they can’t communicate doesn’t mean their brains aren’t taking in the stimuli around them, so try some of these great activities to explore in the comfort of your own home.


  11. Take a Social Media Hiatus

    Social media is draining and takes away our immediate attention. Try taking a break from using your social media platforms and instead, focus on the new life in front of you. Chances are, you won’t miss it anyway.


  12. Walk Daily

    Walking is a great exercise that can be done easily within the vicinity of your home. Try to go on a daily walk and if you have access to shops or stores by foot, take the time to explore the neighborhoods. Getting out of the house and enjoying the fresh air is important for both mom and baby during this time.


  13. Try Baby Swim Classes

    One of the best activities to try with your newborn is swim lessons. It’s never too early to start and it’s a great way to meet other moms in your community. As an added bonus, swimming is a great exercise and helps boost your post-delivery recovery.


  14. Go on a Date with Your Partner

    Keep the romance alive by scheduling a date night with your partner. If you have someone you trust to watch your baby, try going out. If you’d rather keep your newborn close, have a date night at home filled with candles, take out, and your favorite film.


  15. Plan a Weekend Getaway

    After the first few weeks of adjustments and recovery, consider taking a long weekend away with your new family. Find a place you can drive to and see if there are any deals available in peaceful areas or somewhere near the water. Take advantage of not having any career responsibilities. Just because you’re on maternity leave doesn’t mean you need to sit at home all the time.


  16. Prepare Meals

    During your maternity leave, try to prepare frozen meals that are easy to reheat when you return to work. This will help you manage your time more efficiently once you’re back in the office.


  17. Enjoy a Postpartum Massage

    Treat yourself with a postpartum massage to help alleviate the strain pregnancy had on your body. Make sure that you’re fully recovered and then find a deal at your local massage parlor online.


  18. Pamper Yourself

    At some point during your maternity leave, have your partner watch your baby and spend some time pampering yourself. Have an at-home spa day complete with a long, hot bath, face mask, manicure, and a glass of wine.


  19. Create a Time Capsule

    A time capsule is a box or binder to keep all of your baby’s important documents, favorite toys, or most treasured items. Start one now so you can slowly add to it as your baby grows.


  20. Binge Watch Your Favorite Shows

Don’t feel guilty if you spend a lot of your maternity leave binge watching your favorite shows. This is the time for you to rest and recover and watching television while snuggling up with your newborn is completely acceptable. Doing so allows you to recuperate and gives your baby plenty of time for skin-to-skin contact.


The time you spend with your newborn during maternity leave is something that you’ll cherish forever, but eventually you’ll need to return to the office. To continue providing your baby with essential nutrients and vitamins for a healthy development, use your maternity leave to start a freezer stash of breast milk. You can incorporate breast pumping into your daily schedule without taking away quality time with your baby. For some of the best insurance covered breast pumps, head over to our home page and browse our selection today.