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25 Things to Do on Maternity Leave with Baby: From Ho-Hum to Fun

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What do you do with a baby while on maternity leave?

Ok, so you’re either having a baby soon and making a to-do list for your maternity leave. Or you’re here because you’re on maternity leave and have no idea what to do with your baby all day.

Either way, you’re in the right place. While you can plan for it ahead of time, it’s not until you’re in the middle of it that you really know how you’re going to spend that time away from work.

That’s why we have this list of things to do on maternity leave with baby that are essential and a lot of fun as well.

You don’t have to do all of the things or even the most productive things. The most important thing is that you heal and bond with your baby.

Congratulations! It’s going to be amazing.

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pregnant woman holding her belly
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

What to do while on maternity leave before baby?

1. Continue nesting

If you haven’t been put on bed rest prior to delivery, continue getting your home ready for your little bundle of joy.

2. Set a schedule for visitors after baby arrives

While you may not know what days you will have available until after you give birth, you can set up a basic schedule for visitors.

Do you want visitors the day or two after you come home from the hospital? What about the following week? Will you have family members staying with you? Are you okay with people just popping in?

Once you are home from the hospital and have a daily routine, you can create a more clearly defined schedule.

mother kissing newborn baby
Photo by Letticia Massari

What must I do when on maternity leave?

3. Update your medical insurance

This is one of the most important things you must do while you’re on maternity leave.

Your baby has to be added to your medical insurance within 30 days of his birth.

They will more than likely require your baby’s new social security number. You fill out this information in the hospital and the hospital will send it to be processed. You should get a social security number within two weeks.

Set a reminder to call your insurance company with this information, so you make sure your baby is covered.

4. Have professional photos taken

This is high on the list of things to do on maternity leave with baby because you want to get these photos taken before your little one grows too much, usually in the first week or two.

Newborn babies between 5 to 14 days old are much easier to pose, stay in the curled-up position better, keep asleep better while working with them, and are generally less fussy.

Worried about looking put together before you go out with a new baby? Not a problem. You don’t have to be included in the photos if you don’t want to be. This can be all about capturing your precious baby.

5. Take care of your baby

This seems like a no brainer. I mean that’s your sole purpose right now.

But this is really the time to get to know your baby. Learn their cues, get comfortable with breastfeeding (if that’s your thing), and just settle into being a mom.

This may actually mean you have to kick people out of your house. People love to visit the new baby, but it can be difficult for new parents to adjust to this change. So do what you need to make the most of this crucial time to bond and learn about your little one.

6. Have some quality time with your baby

You only get six to twelve weeks of maternity leave (in the US). That’s a very limited time to spend with your new arrival.

Take some of that time to be alone as a family and even just you and baby. Get to know them and their cues.

And take time for snuggles. My little guy didn’t like to sleep on his own for quite a while, so my husband and I split the night shift to get him (and us) enough sleep.

Even after we got the nights straightened out, he still wanted me to hold him for his naps. And I wouldn’t trade that time I got to spend with him for anything.

Yes, the housework can wait. Get the snuggles, do skin-to-skin, breathe in the newborn smell and enjoy the moment.

7. Keep your baby book up to date

Oh, this was an epic fail for me! I mean, how do I know what my two-month-old’s favorite book is? It’s probably the one I just read to him, right?

Do the best you can with this one because the first baby is the easiest.

8. Take lots of photos

I know I told you to schedule a professional photo shoot. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take lots of photos on your own.

Babies grow so quickly in those first few weeks and months, so take all the pictures. Pictures of them sleeping, their first big trip, things you do around town, and all the big milestones.

You can also take monthly milestone photos at home. Get a milestone blanket or a stuffed animal to show how big your baby has grown during the first year.

9. Make handprint and footprint memories

Another baby first I totally failed at during my maternity leave.

I got the footprints in the baby book, but I never did any special hand or footprint crafts. Use this to capture those memories or try different crafts for each holiday during baby’s first year.

Parenting tip: Take your baby book to the hospital with to get those tiny hand and footprints logged on day one.

Related: Everything You Need in Your Hospital Bag

10. Pamper yourself

Having a baby is a joyous occasion. But man can it take a toll!

Between many sleepless nights, constant crying, learning to breastfeed, healing properly, and a possible case of baby blues or even postpartum depression, new moms have a lot going on.

Yes, you have someone who completely depends on you for everything. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a little time for yourself. Enlist the help of your husband or family members to get some alone time.

Use this precious time to work on your mental health. Stay off of social media. Get out of the house and get some fresh air. Even a simple afternoon nap can help with symptoms of sleep deprivation.

11. Go for your postpartum checkup

Again, don’t neglect your own health while taking care of your baby.

You will have a six-week checkup while you’re on maternity leave. It is important that you go to this appointment. They will check to make sure you are healing properly, have no abnormal bleeding or swelling, and check for signs of postpartum depression.

Of course, if you have any problems before the six weeks, call your doctor to make an appointment immediately.

woman having a coffee watching her baby in a stroller
Photo by RODNAE Productions

What to do when bored on maternity leave?

12. Binge watch your favorite shows and movies

Between long days, sleepless nights, and learning how to take care of your baby, there is a lot of time spent on your couch while you’re on maternity leave.

It actually makes the perfect opportunity to binge watch some of your favorite shows or catch up on the movies you missed while you were pregnant.

The best thing is when you have a newborn you don’t have to worry about the language in the shows you’re watching. So go through your to-be watched list before you’re watching Baby Shark on repeat.

things to do on maternity leave with baby: mom holding her baby

13. Listen to a podcast

Maternity leave is the perfect time to find a new parenting podcast. Or binge your favorite true crime podcast.

The best part of listening to a podcast is being able to put in ear buds and not bothering your newborn while they sleep, especially if they are sleeping on you.

14. Listen to audio books or read

Another option besides podcasts is listening to audio books. Or you could opt to read.

Audio books are nice when you are doing a million things and don’t have any extra time.

But since my little one wanted held at nap time, I got a few books crossed off my to be read pile while I was on maternity leave.

15. Join a baby group

Baby groups are a great way to get a change of scenery and meet other new mothers. You might have a mommy and me group in your local area.

If you can’t find one, you could always start one. Local mom or baby groups can be found online in your area. You can meet up with a few fellow moms from there and make some local mom friends.

Other fun things to go to get baby accustomed to the outside world:

  • Take baby swimming
  • Join a stroller walking group
  • Participate in music classes
  • Go to library story time
  • Visit the zoo
  • Check out a children’s museum

16. Go to a coffee shop

With all the things to do on maternity leave with baby, one of them needs to be taking time for yourself.

Head out to your local coffee shop and order the most deluxe item you can think of. Make it an extra special treat just for you.

Of course, you can always take your little one on this adventure for a change of scenery.

17. Visit relatives

While you’ll probably have many visitors while you’re home, it’s a great time to get out of your house and visit family.

Maybe it’s family that couldn’t make the trip to visit you or even a mini vacation.

Just make sure to make frequent stops, if you’re driving. Little ones shouldn’t be in their car seat for longer than two hours at a time (source). And you should stretch your legs often to ward off circulation problems.

18. Have a date night

It might be hard during those first days to even think about leaving your little one for a date night. But it is so important for you and your spouse to reconnect during this time.

It’s also good for you to have a little time away from your baby, even if for an hour or two.

If you don’t want to be away that long or don’t have anyone you can trust to watch your baby, plan a date night at home.

There are so many things you can do after your baby is in bed: watch a movie, have an indoor picnic, share a glass of wine and talk about something besides the baby.

19. Create a photo album

All those photos you’ve been taking should be on display.

With the free time you have while you’re on maternity leave, you can make a beautiful photo album.

If you have enough time, you may even try your hand at scrapbooking.

20. Create a time capsule

If you want memories that are more than just pictures, consider creating a time capsule of these first few weeks of your baby’s life.

The little things like your baby’s hospital bracelet and hat, their coming home outfit, their locks of hair, their first lovey, their first pair of shoes. Anything that won’t fit in their baby book or a scrapbook can easily be held in one of these.

21. Start a new hobby

While you only have a limited time while you’re on maternity leave, you may find it hard to be at home all day.

And if nothing else on this list of things to do on maternity leave with baby has spoken to you, it may be time to start a new hobby.

You could journal, start a blog, draw, create a craft, bake, work out, or start a side hustle. This is the perfect time to find something you can do for yourself that is not all about motherhood.

Enjoy this special time with your baby, but don’t lose who you are.

woman holding her baby while working on laptop
Photo by Sarah Chai

What to do to prepare for going back to work?

22. Talk to HR

Human resources vary by company. So be sure to discuss your maternity leave with your HR representative before leaving to deliver your baby.

They may need you to check-in weekly to give updates, they may need you to send in payment for your insurance while you’re out, or they may just have you call the week before you return.

Know what is expected of you well before your due date, so you don’t forget if you have to leave in a rush.

23. Set up childcare

The closer you get to the end of your maternity leave, the more important daytime childcare becomes.

You have a few options: daycare, friends or family, a nanny, or even becoming a SAHM.

Just don’t wait until it’s too late to plan for this, as it’s going to be harder to find the option that you love.

You should also consider a backup plan, in case your little one is sick, or your childcare provider is sick.

Related: Benefits of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

24. Stockpile breastmilk and learn to use your breast pump

You don’t need a huge stockpile of breastmilk before returning to work. But you should have enough to feed your baby for a couple of days. And it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Whoever is watching your baby during the day may not ration the milk properly. You may not be able to pump as much at work due to stress or anxiety. And your supply may decrease once you are away from your baby.

So, it’s always good to have that stockpile to fall back on.

Related: Best Pumping Schedule for Working Moms

You also want to make sure you are familiar with your pump before heading back to work.

It’s stressful enough being away from your baby for the first time. You want to have your first day back to work go as smoothly as possible.

Related: Everything You Need in Your Breast Pump Bag

25. Babyproof your home

Your new baby won’t be mobile for quite a while. But if you haven’t done anything to baby proof your home, spending time doing so before you go back to work is going to be one less thing on your to-do list.

Things to consider when babyproofing your home:

  • Think about where your cleaning supplies are kept, and move or secure them
  • Purchase cabinet locks and drawer locks
  • Purchase outlet plugs for any empty wall sockets
  • Re-route electronic cords (from teething babies)
  • Secure furniture in the nursery
  • Think about storage of pet foods and placement of litter boxes
  • Remove dangerous houseplants
  • Consider baby gates or a play space


There you have it: the essential things to do on maternity leave with baby. While there’s a lot of things you can do on maternity leave, the most important is looking after your little one and yourself. Spend the time getting to know your baby and who you are as a new mom and new parents.

Let us know all the fun things you are planning during your maternity leave in the comments below.

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things to do on maternity leave with baby: woman feeding her baby

25 Things to Do on Maternity Leave with Baby: From Ho-Hum to Fun

things to do on maternity leave with baby: pregnant woman on her tablet


things to do on maternity leave with baby: pregnant woman using her tablet and woman feeding her baby

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