Wish We'd Known: 19 Things No One Told Us About Maternity Leave

From the day you're back at home with your newborn to the day you head back to work, here's how to make the most of your maternity leave (19 Photos)

Kelly Grant on Nov 2, 2011 at 2:20PM

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Time at Home With Your Newborn

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a Kelly Grant on Sep 27, 2011 at 10:35AM

When you're pregnant, there are few things that sound more amazing than the work-free, all-baby days of maternity leave. It's easy to imagine long walks, catching up with old friends, snuggling with your newborn and finally cleaning out all the closets. But then your precious little one arrives and all of a sudden you're sleep-deprived, focused on around-the-clock feedings and on a huge learning curve, not to mention completely hormonal. Those weeks at home are a crazy whirlwind that's almost never what you expect it to be -- and it's still pretty great. Here are the 19 things we wish we'd known before maternity leave.

Maternity Leave Isn't Really Time Off
The idea of six weeks off (or more if you're lucky!) can seem like an outright sabbatical compared to the one- or two-week getaways from work that you're used to. And it’s incredibly tempting to make a long list of to-dos you’d love to tick off. But this isn't a vacation, so let go of any "big project" plans. Some new moms will be able to pull off scrapbooking or baking banana muffins while their newbie snoozes, but others may find taking a shower or making scrambled eggs to be challenging enough on four hours of sleep. Take a step back, assess your energy level and then decide what's realistic.

Get advice and support from other working moms here.

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