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15 Fall Maternity Leave Tips For All You Autumn Moms

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Being pregnant in the summer is horrible. Yes, you get an adorable, beloved child at the end of it, but OMG it's the worst. There is one silver lining, though: fall maternity leave. So I have a few fall maternity leave tips to share with the rest of you diehard queens who just survived a summer pregnancy, because it truly is the best. And while maternity leave isn't the vacation that annoying AF coworker keeps saying it is (even if this is a joke, it's a horrible one), it can be wonderful, especially this time of year.

My son was born in September and I went back to work after Thanksgiving. So, give or take a couple of weeks on either end, my maternity leave ran throughout the fall. In other words, I know what I'm talking about here. This isn't just some unfounded bias, my friend: it really is the best time to have a newborn. There's no snow or sweltering heat or summer plans or holiday get-togethers keeping people from coming over to visit and help, the weather is lovely, and, of course, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are now on the Starbucks menu (and God knows you're going to need a ton of caffeine to get you through this period of learning and healing and never, ever sleeping).

A summer pregnancy might be the pits, but fall with a newborn is the best us new moms can ask for. So with that in mind, here are some tips and tricks to help you maximize an autumn maternity leave:

Don't Put The Air Conditioner Away Just Yet

People get so excited for fall that they forget that it's not uncommon, in a lot of places, for it to get well into the 80s in October. I know that we're all throwing on sweaters and high boots and sipping our teas, but just make sure you're keeping everything available that you might need for an extended spate of summer weather, for both you and your new baby.

(Remember, a baby's ideal sleep temperature is between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, according to experts at SleepAdvisor.org.)

Layers, Layers, Layers

It's a great way to cover all your bases! Get your baby in a onesie, pants, a sweatshirt, and hat (PS: stock up on cute hats, because your baby will outgrow the one they got in the hospital before you know it) and shed as needed. You can go ahead and do the same, only replace "onesie" with "nursing and/or comfortable tank top."

This only applies to venturing outdoors, of course. If you're staying inside feel free to lounge around in your diapers... yes, diapers plural. The first six weeks you're going to be rocking a pad so big you might as well be wearing a diaper.

Recover By Walking Outside

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After I had my Cesarean section, my doctor insisted that while walking around seemed like the worst thing I could possibly do, it would actually help me recover. It's also a great excuse to get out of the house once a day so you can see something other than your four walls and your baby (even if your baby is an awesome view). With the weather no longer sweltering and not yet frigid, this is a great time of year to be out in the fresh air.

Enjoy *All* The Baby Sweaters

They are so stinking adorable! Look, all baby clothes are precious, but sweaters hold a special place in my heart because there's a dichotomy there. Sweaters are stodgy. You picture them on old people. They're an "adult" garment. So seeing them on tiny little people with arms that aren't even as long as your hand? OMG it's the best. You're in the best season for this, so do it up.

Wear All The Leggings

During your summer pregnancy, you couldn't really rock leggings — it's very hot and the swamp crotch is strong — but now they're back and extremely forgiving of postpartum tummies and C-section scars if you have one (just be sure to get high-waisted ones in that case).

Between weight gain and loss, a body that's changed and still changing, needing to be comfortable getting on the floor and playing with a baby or toddler, and the fact that you do not have the time or desire to go shopping for new, more constrictive clothing, these pants are going to get you through the next few years.

Halloween Candy Makes For Great Snacking

Being on maternity leave basically means catching food whenever you can, which isn't often. Fortunately, for the mom on the go (or, more accurately, the mom trapped under a sleeping baby who is trying hard not to move a muscle because she does not want to risk waking the baby up and throwing off their mood for the rest of the day), there are fun-sized candy bars. Now, is it healthy to live on candy alone? No. If you can get a good meal in you, do that. But if you're in dire need of some sustenance, those candy bars are at your disposal. (And even if you're not, treat yourself.)

Accept That You May Miss Out On Some Traditional Fall Merriment

This point will completely depend on you, your baby, your support system, and your preferences, but I think it bears mentioning: you may not get to do all the fun stuff you normally associate with fall — pumpkin and apple picking, Oktoberfest festivals, Halloween parties, big family Thanksgiving, etc. — because you have a newborn on your hands.

Your baby might not be up for it just yet, or you may not be up for it. It sucks, but it's going to be OK. You're not going to miss everything forever, just maybe this year. The most important thing is that you're rested, healing, and feeling OK and finding the best way to navigate life with a new baby.

Enjoy Your Last Carefree Fall Merriment

Again, this will entirely depend on the person, but some people luck out with a baby who is happy to be anywhere and can easily be transported place to place without even noticing. And then they are additionally lucky ones in that they are OK with traveling different places with a baby.

If this is the case, be sure to acknowledge your good fortune and then enjoy what will almost certainly be the last time you enjoy these things as you've enjoyed them in the past. Because once that kid is mobile, let me just tell you, pumpkin patches and corn mazes and outdoor festivals are no longer relaxing.

Skip The Hayride

You're recovering and your baby is still learning to control their neck muscles, so no one will do well with all that bouncing.

Also there's a very decent chance you'll pee yourself.

Stock Up On Cozy Blankets

Since putting babies in car seats with big coats is not safe, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your best bet when bringing the baby out in their car, stroller, or wearing them around in a carrier is to bring a warm blanket. They're versatile and sufficient! Fortunately, they're also popular baby shower gifts, so you may already have a bunch.

Forget Shoes, But Up Your Socks Game

I know they're really cute, but babies just don't need shoes. Like, at all. Besides, they can get stupid expensive and your baby will grow out of them in about five minutes.

Instead, get nice thick socks and just rely on those. As long as you're also including a blanket over them, the socks will be enough to keep those little toes warm. (So you can go on nibbling on them as soon as you get back inside. We all do that, right?).

Find Yourself A Nice, Big, Warm Wrap

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This is an especially useful bit of advice if you prefer wearing your baby. A wrap will allow you to wear (or carry) your baby comfortably (no bulky or cumbersome coat sleeves) and wrap them up against you to keep you both warm. It may not be quite enough in the winter, but in the fall it's super convenient and nice.

Have Fun Planning Halloween Costumes

Because before you know it they're going to start having opinions and you will never get your daughter to join you in going as Rapunzel and her witchy mother no matter now nicely you ask or how much you bribe and no I'm not bitter or anything why do you ask?!

So enjoy dressing up your child while you still can.

Enjoy It

Seriously! You picked a hell of a time to give birth, so enjoy this time with your new baby. Well done.

Remember That It's OK If You're Not Enjoying It

Even in this, the best and most beautiful time of the year, maternity leave isn't a vacation. This isn't some trip to the beach, my friends. Oh no, it's so, so hard and it's easy to miss what's going on around you, including fall, and get mired down in the day to day exhaustion that is raising an infant. But you're doing it! Courage, mama. We see you.