Preparing for your maternity leave allows you to spend as many moments as possible with your newborn while you take the time needed to recover from childbirth. It can also help with new-mom jitters and the worrying that comes with having a baby and leaving work all at the same time. To make your pregnancy and maternity leave less stressful, here’s a checklist of five things you can do to get organized before you go on leave.
1. Look at Your Finances and Start Saving Now
Once you have a baby, the way you spend money changes. You either start spending more money, or cut back on other spending to compensate for the baby’s expenses. If you don’t want to sacrifice things you’re used to spending on, make sure you’re saving up money that goes to the baby. Get clear on whether or not your maternity leave is paid, and for how long. You want to look at your finances before you go on leave and make sure you can afford to go on leave for as long as you want to. While financial planning can feel stressful, it’s far less stressful than going broke while you’re on maternity leave.
2. Sort Out Childcare in Advance
Finding the right daycare for when you go back to work can take a lot of research. To ensure you have time to find the perfect one, try to get it done before your baby arrives. If you’re choosing a nanny instead, interview potential nannies in advance. Knowing who’s going to be taking care of your child once you go back to work can relieve a lot of the stress and worry that comes with taking time off. If you plan on breastfeeding (which you should!) be sure to get a high-quality breast pump too. Most people can get one for free through their insurance company, just ask your midwife or OBGYN for the form.
3. Get Your Health Insurance in Order
Don’t let medical bills create stress while you’re on maternity leave. Make sure you’re set up with affordable health insurance that gives you cost-effective coverage for you and your newborn baby, before you take your leave. Let your insurance company know you’re expecting as early as possible, and ask for information about the extent of your newborn’s care coverage under your policy. You may need to change to a family plan after yougive birth. Stay up to date on your insurance’s policies so you can avoid lapses in coverage.
4. Set Rules About Contacting You While You’re Away
Hearing from work when you’re not expecting to can be a cause of stress when you’re on maternity leave. Before you go on leave, take the time to set rules about who can reach out to you, what matters warrant contact, and how they should contact you while you’re gone. Note any critical events you’d like to receive updates on while you’re on leave, and make sure you have a boundary in place regarding all other issues. One way to help set boundaries for your maternity leave is to set up out-of-office automated responses for email and voicemail. Direct people to someone they can contact in lieu of you and let them know when you’ll be back.
5. Create a List of Resources
When it comes to having a baby, as the saying goes — it takes a village. Figure out what resources you’ll need during your leave and when you go back to work, and keep their contact information on one list. These might include people like house cleaners, dog walkers or emergency babysitters. Once you’ve found a pediatrician, make sure you have their number on the list.
Getting Organized Before Maternity Leave
If you take these steps one at a time to prepare for maternity leave, you’ll get started as a new mom on a more organized — and less stressed — note. These preparations can help reduce hangups and hiccups that arise while you’re welcoming a new family member into the world. Also, less stress means better bonding with your baby and a higher chance of getting a full night’s sleep. If you and your baby’s health and happiness is your top priority, you will both be better off for it!