Baby rocks the family world. She changes it in the most incredible ways. The house becomes a home, the marriage becomes a family, and the hearts make a room for the new love. This change is also overwhelming. New mums say good bye to the old life and need to adjust to the new role. The maternity leave starts, and it is all about bonding and looking after your baby. Also, it is an opportunity to do a lot of things that mum and baby would enjoy!
Today I'd like to share with you 9 ways to to make the most of maternity leave in Birmingham.
1. Spend time outdoors
Spending time outdoors is the most important part of the maternity leave routine. No matter if it's raining or shining or you are dressed or not. Go out, and you will thank me later. Daily walks during maternity leave have plenty of benefits. They help getting rid of extra pounds after pregnancy and boost your confidence as a new mum. There is a reason why spending time outdoors is at the top of my list of 9 ways to make the most of maternity leave in Birmingham. There is no excuse - you can walk alone, with your partner, family member or your friend. Put your shoes on and let the energy flow!
There are plenty of beautiful parks in Birmingham that have a decent path and a lot of green. The best parks for stroller walking are:
Cannon Hill Park
Malvern & Brueton Park
2. Meet other mums
Despite the fact your baby is with you all the times, new mums tend to feel lonely. We miss hairdresser, cinema or going out alone anywhere for longer periods of time. We miss the presence of people we could have an actual conversation with. And now comes the exciting prospect of making new mum friends. I know it's not a piece of cake to be sociable while adjusting to the new life with the baby, however, it's worth it!
Best ways to meet other mums from Birmingham area are:
Facebook Group - Birmingham Mums
Facebook Group - Birmingham and Solihull Mums and Dads UK
Facebook Group - Outdoor Mums West Midlands
3. Attend baby classes
Baby classes are such an awesome thing! If Maja would speak, she would definitely agree with me. Not only it stimulates and challenges our tots, but also it helps us feel like we are part of the world again. There is a wide range of baby classes in Birmingham. I am sure you will find the most suitable class for you and your loved one.
Rhytm time - fun, developmental music classes for under-fives.
Baby sensory - creative play, massage, tummy time, movement, visual development, textures, scents and music for babies under 13 months.
Tumble tots - designed to develop children’s physical skills of agility, balance, co-ordination and climbing.
Water babies - baby swimming classes.
Mama Baby Bliss - baby massage and yoga.
Sweaty Mama - effective, fun workouts with your child.
Baby ballet - dancing classes.
Well fit mums - an outdoor fitness class for parents to do exercise alongside their babies in a buggy.
Bilingua sing - languages learning classes.
Also, there is a great search engine - HAPPITY that finds baby classes near you.
4. Go for a lunch/coffee
Exploring new lunch/brunch places is such a great opportunity to go out and drink WARM coffee! I am sure I already convinced you, mama! Also, as your baby is becoming more inquisitive, a new place like a cafe or restaurant will help to fuel his thirst for new experiences. In Birmingham, there are a lot of cosy cafes/restaurants that mum and baby will like. You need to check these out:
The Plough, Harborne
Boo Boo Coffee Company, Harborne
Boston Tea Party, Harborne
Yorks Café, Birmingham city centre
Medicine Bakery, Birmingham city centre
Tamu Café, Smetwick
The Early Bird Bakery, King's Heath
5. Engage in a mental workout
Momnesia is real. I am sure all of mums have experienced the fog that obscured the brain. Hence, it's so important to exercise your brain and be opened to the world instead of focusing only on the baby stuff. Obviously, the most important thing is to have plenty of sleep. Except that you can:
have fun with a jigsaw puzzle
draw maps from memory
learn a foreign language
learn how to cook a new cuisine
eat a meal using chopsticks (if you haven't done it before)
increase personal vocabulary by reading a book or watching a TV program
take up an engaging hobby: knitting, embroidery, drawing, painting, dancing, and learning a musical instrument
try online gym for your brain
6. Open yourself to the world
Even though you are on maternity leave, it doesn't mean you need to talk/read/write just about the baby. I know a lot of people who focus only on the child, and they lose their identity. You became a mum, your life revolves around a kid, but you are still a human being living in society. Don't get me wrong. I love talking about Maja and I would tell the world about her new skills, the funny things she does and how cute she is. However, I like to talk about other things too and I understand the importance of this for my mental health. Here are a few things you can do to open yourself to the world and keep your identity:
call/facetime your family and friends
get dressed every morning
stay updated on world news
don’t neglect the things that used to bring you pleasure
reconnect with your partner
meet your friends
ask for help
don't compare yourself to other mums
explore going back to work
take a break
Apart from being a Mother, I am also a Woman. I want to be the best mother possible, so I don't give up on the things that make me happy in everyday life.
7. Get back into shape
It is easy to get back into shape after being pregnant (as long as you are healthy). It is even easier if you breastfeed (your body needs extra fuel to make breast milk - about 500 or so additional calories a day). You don't need to be part of magical programmes. All of them are based on the same thing - calories deficit. Excuses and lack of engagement are the only bottlenecks that lead you away from your dreamed body. Also, don't put so much pressure on yourself. It took nine months to put that weight on, so give yourself another nine to get your body back.
8. Take home photoshoot
The first months of a child's life are certainly the most beautiful time in the life of most parents. Not only they are filled with love and care, but also with carelessness and joy. Hence, it's so important to catch these moments to remember them forever. A decent organisation is essential as a photoshoot of your baby is not a piece of cake. Find some inspiration, get the camera ready, make sure your baby is content and start taking photos.
9. Enjoy every single minute
Try to enjoy every single minute with your baby as time flies and these precious moments will never be back. Stop feeling guilty about taking care of yourself, so you can enjoy moments with your baby even more.
I hope you like this blog post! Please let me know what are your thoughts and if there are any other ways to make the most of maternity leave in Birmingham or other place.