Aaah, maternity leave. Those days or weeks before your first baby arrives are really special. And, with hindsight, they’re even more special.

Towards the end of your pregnancy you can feel quite impatient and fed up – especially when rolling over in bed becomes as tricky as attempting a three-point turn down a dimly-lit, narrow road. So, to help you make the most of the lead up to birth-day I met up with some other mum friends of mine to pick the best and most useful things we did. Here’s our top five:

1. Stock up on rest

Yes we know you’ll have been told by many people how you should ‘make the most of sleep, because there won’t be much sleep when baby arrives’, but I can highly recommend spending the first morning of maternity leave lazing in bed. A colleague of mine gave me this great advice. She asked me what I had planned for my first day off – when I shrugged my shoulders she smiled a knowing smile and told me that she got up, made breakfast, grabbed some magazines, a book and laptop plus dvds and went back to bed. So I took her tip and lazed in bed listening to my hypnobirthing music and tracks and it was, amazing.

2. Date night

Some friends went on a mini-break, others to a posh restaurant and one couple went to the cinema – simply put, it’s lovely to spend time with your partner before you become mum and dad, doing things you won’t be able to do much when you are mum and dad (at least in the first few months anyway).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Essentials

You’ve probably got everything you need for the new arrival – but what about you? An occupational therapist friend of mine suggests going shopping for some nice and practical underwear, lavender oil for soothing baths post-birth and new pjs so that you can feel comfortable, as well as breast pads and nipple cream – which doubles up as a fab lip salve by the way. Enjoy shopping midweek, when town centres are much quieter and stop off in a cafe to read for a bit too.

4. Fill the Freezer

 

 

 

 

 

This, my friends and I agreed, was the most practical thing we did. Making soups, stews and curries in batches and freezing them with the radio on in the background was pretty fun but ended up being a life-saver during those first few weeks as new parents. Plus, it made me feel a bit like a domestic goddess, even when I was getting the fourth batch of bolognese out to defrost. Only downside? It’s quite tricky not to eat everything before the baby arrives, as, you know, it’s just there…

5. Treat yourself

 

 

 

 

 

Being calm and relaxed is good for baby – all those extra endorphins – so it’s a great excuse to treat yourself, especially as your body has been and will continue to be working hard. So choose something that makes you feel special: whether that’s a massage, a pedicure or a vajazzle (yes, really. A community midwife told me that one of her mums had this done in preparation for her labour).

These were our top five – what did you do?

Images courtesy of FrameAngel, Witthaya Phonsawat and Craftyjoe at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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