Get tips from the trenches with this information-packed blog from the authors of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know, Heather Flett and Whitney Moss.

Maternity Leave Outings with Baby That Are Fun for You, Too

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When I have a long stretch of unstructured time, I just about lose my mind. My first maternity leave was like that, but compounded with hormones, a little one, and a lot of self-doubt. To find my new normal, I made tiny goals to leave the house every day.

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I like to have goals and a to-do list, even if it’s someone else’s list. Maternity leave–whether for six weeks or six years–is a tremendous bonding opportunity with a new baby (plus, it can be a fun time off from work, too!). My best tip for maximizing your own enjoyment with this beautiful gift of time is to set your to-do list aside and create a new set of goals.

(And yes, I realize I just asked you to make a new list in exchange for your old list.)

Here are some baby-friendly outings to work into your week:

  1. Walk around the block. Sounds easy, right? And yet I personally know some moms with five-month-olds who haven’t managed to tackle this feat yet. (Let alone, solo.) Come on, you can do it!
  2. Enjoy a pot of tea or a latte. Once you’ve mastered the easy round-trip, try to sit and relax in a cafe. Pretend you’re in Paris, with your little bébé.
  3. Do some reconnaissance. Scout your old favorite places for the perfect baby comfort zones (places to change, feed, calm) and build your intel.
  4. Create a memento. Are these to-dos too easy for you? How about painting some baby footprints on a ceramic tile? Or getting a hand-print squished into clay?
  5. Hit the grocery store for one thing. If the whole shopping trip has you freaked out — as it should — start slow and aim for one or two items.
  6. Find a yoga class you can do together. Search for post-natal classes that offer a supportive environment.
  7. Wheel through the farmers’ market. Push your stroller around and find a healthy treat for both of you to munch on.
  8. Enjoy a movie. Weekday matinees are pretty friendly to babies if there are no dedicated showtimes in your area.
  9. Take your sidekick shopping. Window shopping with a restless baby can be a money-saver if your hands are full.
  10. Visit someone at work. Interrupt Daddy’s workday and then go to lunch or show off your little one at your office.
  11. Bonus: start a Ladies Night or Moms’ Night Out. Every month if possible. You deserve it.

Want more ideas? Here are 25 great activities to try during maternity leave with (or without!) your baby or 52 weekly challenges for new moms and babies.

About Heather

Heather Gibbs Flett co-founded RookieMoms.com to inspire moms to have more fun after her own challenges with rookie motherhood. Together with her BFF Whitney Moss, she also wrote "The Rookie Moms Handbook" and created a local site for parents in the Bay Area (510families.com).

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