Things To Do On Maternity Leave to Enjoy Bonding


You should enjoy your maternity leave and use it as an opportunity to physically heal as well as bond with your new baby. It’s a precious time for new mothers to bond with their newborns and adjust to the new realities and experiences of motherhood. While it can be overwhelming at times, there are plenty of activities and strategies for what to do on maternity leave to make it more enjoyable.

Keep reading to learn things to do on maternity leave to enjoy bonding and maximize the time with your new baby. We’re giving you ideas to try plus dispelling certain myths to help you along your new journey into motherhood.

Prepare Early For What To Do on Maternity Leave

Choosing the best things to do on maternity leave starts before you take your first day off. From putting together nursery room ideas to choosing a nursing chair for feeding times and more, there are lots of ways to plan ahead in order to enjoy your maternity leave. Creating a relaxing and calming space in your home can greatly enhance your maternity leave experience and facilitate bonding with your newborn.

Some suggestions to prepare for maternity leave and get your home ready are:

  • Choose a quiet corner: Select a quiet corner or room in your home where you can retreat with your baby for moments of bonding and relaxation. This space should be away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, so ideally not in one of your main living spaces.
  • Soft lighting: Incorporate soft, diffused lighting into your space to create a soothing atmosphere. Consider using a Himalayan salt lamp or a dimmable bedside lamp to provide gentle illumination during late-night feedings or soothing sessions with your baby.
  • Comfortable seating: Invest in a comfortable nursing chair. Gliders or zero gravity recliners help you comfortably nurse, cuddle, and bond with your newborn. Look for chairs with supportive cushions and an ergonomic design to prevent pain from sitting too long.
  • Cozy textiles: Add plush rugs, throw blankets, and soft cushions to your environment to enhance the comfort and coziness of your space. Go with natural, breathable fabrics like cotton or wool that are gentle on your baby's skin.
  • Personal touches: Infuse your space with personal touches and meaningful decor that brings you joy and comfort. Display family photos, inspirational quotes, or sentimental items that evoke positive emotions and create a sense of warmth and connection while you enjoy your maternity leave bonding time.

Taking the time to plan ahead maximizes opportunities for things to do on maternity leave to bond with your new baby. It can also minimize any additional stressors that accompany becoming a new parent.

Things to Do on Maternity Leave for Bonding

When you take time off with your new baby, there are numerous things to do on maternity leave to bond with your newborn and strengthen the connection between you and your child. Engaging in bonding activities not only fosters emotional attachment but also promotes cognitive development and enhances communication skills in infants. 

Wondering what to do on maternity leave to bond with your baby? We’ve got you covered with ideas like:

  • Reading together
  • Singing lullabies to your baby
  • Playing music together
  • Practicing infant massage techniques
  • Joining a new mom group
  • Going for walks outside
  • Participating in baby yoga classes
  • Creating memory books or other keepsakes

1. Reading Together

Reading to your baby is one of the most popular things to do on maternity leave to bond with your new baby. Board books with vibrant colors, simple illustrations, and rhythmic language can capture your baby's attention even if they won’t fully understand what’s happening.

Snuggle up together and read aloud in a soothing voice, making eye contact and pointing out different objects on the pages. Even though your baby may not understand the words yet, the sound of your voice and the warmth of your presence create a comforting and nurturing environment.

2. Singing Lullabies

Singing lullabies is a timeless tradition that has been used for generations to soothe babies and promote bonding between parents and infants. It’s a sweet bonding activity that should make every new parent’s list of what to do on maternity leave!

Whether you're singing traditional lullabies or making up your own songs, the melody and rhythm of your voice have a calming effect on your baby's nervous system. Experiment with different songs and melodies to find ones that resonate with your baby. Don't worry about having a perfect voice — your baby will cherish the sound of your voice no matter what.

3. Playing Music Together

Music can captivate and delight babies of all ages, making it the perfect activity for what to do on maternity leave. Create a playlist of gentle, soothing music to play in the background during quiet moments with your baby. You can also explore interactive musical toys, such as rattles, tambourines, or other baby-friendly instruments to engage your baby's senses and encourage sensory exploration.

You might also dance with your baby in your arms or gently sway to the music together. Allow the rhythm to guide your movements and deepen your connection in the moment.

4. Practicing Infant Massage Techniques

Touch is a powerful form of communication that can strengthen the bond between parent and child. Infant massage is a gentle and therapeutic way to nurture your baby's physical and emotional well-being while promoting relaxation and bonding.

Use a natural, hypoallergenic baby oil or lotion to gently massage your baby's delicate skin. Start with gentle strokes on their arms, legs, and back. Pay attention to your baby's cues and adjust the pressure and speed of your strokes accordingly. Not only does baby massage provide numerous health benefits, but it also creates a sense of closeness and security between you both.

5. Joining a New Mom Group

Another of the best things to do on maternity leave is to connect with other new mothers in a group. This can be in-person or online. New mom groups provide invaluable support, camaraderie, and advice during the journey into new motherhood.

Finding a group where you can share experiences, ask questions, and seek guidance from women who are navigating similar experiences will help you enjoy your maternity leave and learn a lot in the process. Whether you attend weekly meet-ups, participate in virtual chats, or join social media groups, surrounding yourself with a supportive network of fellow mothers can alleviate feelings of isolation some feel during the first months alone with their baby.

6. Going for Walks Outside

Spending time outdoors with your baby is not only refreshing for both of you but also offers numerous health benefits and opportunities for bonding. In the past, it was questioned whether babies should be taken outside before they’ve had their initial shots, but healthcare professionals today agree there are typically no major risks for taking your newborn out in the fresh air even in the first weeks after birth.

Take advantage of the nice weather by going for leisurely strolls in your neighborhood, local park, or nature reserve. The gentle motion of the stroller or baby carrier combined with the sights and sounds of the outdoors can soothe your baby and stimulate their senses.

Be sure to dress your baby appropriately for the weather and avoid crowded areas for the first few months to minimize exposure to germs while their immune system continues to develop.

7. Participating in Baby Yoga Classes:

Attending baby yoga classes is another fun way to enjoy your maternity leave and bond with your baby. These classes typically involve gentle stretches, movements, and massage techniques tailored to infants' needs and abilities. Not only do these activities strengthen the bond between parent and child, but they also provide opportunities for social interaction with other moms and babies.

8. Creating Memory Books or Other Keepsakes

Documenting your baby's milestones and special moments lets you preserve memories and reflect on the joys of parenthood for years to come. Consider creating keepsakes and memory books filled with photos, handprints, footprints, and mementos from your baby's first year. Get creative with scrapbooking, journaling, or digital photo albums to capture these fleeting moments.

You can also involve other family members in this process to create a collaborative keepsake that celebrates your baby's journey and the love shared within your family.

Most Importantly…Enjoy Your Maternity Leave

Thinking about what to do on maternity leave should always focus around enjoying the time with your new baby. Don’t worry about what you think you should be doing unless it resonates with you and how you want your growing family to be. Take the time to bond with your baby in ways that are personal and special to you. Not only will this help you enjoy your maternity leave to the fullest, but it’ll create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Having an idea of things to do on maternity leave provides a unique opportunity for mothers to bond with their newborns and create lasting memories together. By engaging in gentle activities, creating a calming environment, connecting with other moms, taking baby-friendly outings, and more, you can make the most out of this special time and enjoy your new motherhood journey to its fullest.

Disclaimer: This content is not medical advice. Please consult with your health care professional when considering implementing changes to your health or workout routines to ensure it’s compatible with your needs.