Making the most of Maternity Leave
Updated: Jun 18, 2022
After I’d emerged from my own postpartum hibernation with my little ones, I realised I was facing a new normal. A time of my life that would be full of new experiences and adaptations and also a time where I needed to nurture my own sanity and well-being.
Here are a few things I really enjoyed during my own maternity leave or in hindsight wish I’d signed up for!
1. Baby Cinema – This was one of my favourite treats – Winchester’s Everyman Cinema hosts a Baby Club every Tuesday morning, with a softly lit (but lit!) theatre, lowered volume and absolutely ZERO dirty looks if your baby makes a noise whilst enjoying the latest releases with a good coffee and slice of cake. Follow with lunch with a mummy friend on one of Winchester’s many gorgeous offerings.
2. Baby Sensory – I really struggled to decide on exactly what it was I should be doing baby class wise. Music, singing, signing – the options felt a bit overwhelming until a friend mentioned Baby Sensory which looked like the perfect balance of everything to enjoy with my little boy. Yes, you become that version of yourself, you could never have imagined pre child and will probably still keep under wraps from your child free friends but it’s a lovely opportunity to both connect with your baby and meet other mummies with babies of a similar age.
3. Alice Holt – Have sling/pram, will walk. Alice Holt became a firm favourite for meeting up with friends for a good stroll and takeaway coffee. This will last for many more years as your littles one grow up and start to enjoy Julia Donaldson themed sculptures and trails, playgrounds, den building and swinging through trees.
4. Sleep – Ha, thought I’d slip this one in here. It’s unlikely you’ve existed on such little sleep before so for the love of God, if you feel like going to be at 7pm or having a nap at 10am – DO IT.
5. Mum & Baby Yoga – I couldn’t find anyone locally offering this when it was my turn but there are some fantastic teachers operating in the local area now including Holly Hood Yoga and Yoga with Rosanna. It’s a great way to relax, connect and a brilliant opportunity to share with other new parents.
6. Cake – I’m all up for good nutrition to help nurture our recovering bodies in the post-partum period but for me that’s alongside, rather than instead of, a good slice of cake with a fellow mummy friend. My tops spots include: The Long Barn, Party at the Mill, The Yard, The Street Bakeshop, Tree House Coffee Shop, & Nosh.
7. National Trust – Getting out and about, meeting friends, going for walks, entertaining visiting grandparents. I spent a lot of time in the grounds of Hinton Ampner & The Vyne during my maternity leaves and then when we were away we ended up visiting places we’d never had ventured to before – because we could (and wanted to make the most of the membership!)
8. Exercise class – Now this is a personal thing. If you’re up for it great – but suss out what it is you want to do and achieve. There are loads of options out there and making sure you’re being taught by someone who’s company you enjoy is going to make it something to look forward to rather than grit your teeth and bear. My personal favourite is Pilates with Octavia Hamilton in Alresford.
9. RHS Wisley – Having left London during my first pregnancy, I still had a lot of friends in town and this was a brilliant ‘meeting half way’ point. Now only was it perfect for good stroll in eye wateringly beautiful surroundings, there are plenty of options for cake as well as adopting some green fingered inspiration – honestly – I never gave a stuff about gardening until I had children – I believe it has something to do with becoming a nurturer and want to see something thrive.
10. Postnatal Support & Baby Massage Course with Sara Wood from Natural Balance – Again, this was not something I was aware of locally when I was on maternity leave but it’s definitely one I would have signed up for! Lots of my clients tell me of their bedtime routines incorporating a little massage and this course will not only teach you how to do this, it’s also equipped with a special colic routine and baby reflexology as well as a lovely mother’s circle to give you the space to focus on your own wellbeing. Sara is lovely and offers classes in Alton and Petersfield.
p.s. – I haven’t forgotten baby swimming but this was something my husband took the opportunity to do at the weekend. At the time we went with Water Babies which is a nationwide program available in various venues but there are lots of other local options available including the especially lovely School of Dolphins (where my boys are now, fantastic small lessons in a private and very warm pool) near Bighton or Swim Club at Energique in Alton.