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Nurturing Yourself and Your Baby: A Maternity Leave Bucket List

Reviewed by Dr. Katherine Cheng

The importance of maternity leave cannot be overstated, as it provides new mothers with an invaluable opportunity to bond with their baby, recover from childbirth, and adjust to their new role. Making the most of this period is essential, and creating a bucket list can help ensure a fulfilling and enriching experience. 

This blog will explore various activities and strategies to help you maximise your maternity leave. From self-care and personal growth to healthcare and wellness, bonding with your baby, building a support network, and planning for the future, our comprehensive bucket list will guide you through this crucial time. We aim to empower you to take ownership of your maternity leave while highlighting the importance of choosing the right healthcare providers, like OT&P Healthcare, to ensure the best care for you and your baby.

How long is maternity leave in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, new mothers are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave, an extension to support the transition into motherhood better. This provision applies to employees who have worked under a continuous contract for at least 40 weeks before taking their maternity leave. The extension from the previous 10-week period allows for more time dedicated to recovery and bonding with the newborn, reflecting the city's commitment to the well-being of families. To ensure a smooth transition into this new chapter, it's important for you to discuss your maternity leave plans with your employers.

Bonding with your baby

Establishing a Daily Routine for Bonding with Your Baby 

Developing a daily routine with your baby is essential for fostering a strong bond and creating a sense of security. Consistent feeding, sleeping, and play schedules can help establish trust and make the transition to parenthood smoother for you and your newborn. 

Age-Appropriate Activities

Engaging in age-appropriate activities is another way to strengthen the connection with your baby and support their development. Incorporate sensory play by introducing different textures, sounds, and colours to stimulate their senses. Music and movement, such as singing lullabies or dancing gently with your baby, can also promote emotional bonding and enhance their cognitive skills. Furthermore, reading and storytelling from an early age can foster language development and instil a lifelong love for learning. 

Documenting Milestones and Memories 

Documenting milestones and memories is a valuable part of the bonding process. Create a scrapbook or memory book to capture your baby's growth and development or maintain a photo journal or video diary to chronicle special moments. You may even consider writing letters to your child, sharing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences during this period. These keepsakes strengthen your connection with your baby and serve as cherished mementos for years. 


Building a support network

Connecting with Other Parents for Support

Connecting with other new parents is valuable for building a support network during maternity leave. Joining parenting groups or classes can offer camaraderie and a platform to share experiences, tips, and advice. Participating in playdates and social events can also help you make new friends and provide your baby with early socialization opportunities.


Strengthening Relationships with Loved Ones 

Strengthening relationships with loved ones is another essential aspect of building a support network. Involve your partner, family, and close friends in your journey, sharing joys and challenges. Establish family traditions and outings to create lasting memories and foster a sense of unity. Additionally, schedule date nights or special moments with your partner to maintain a strong connection and support each other during this new phase in life.


Seeking Professional Support When Needed

Seeking professional support when needed is crucial for navigating the challenges of parenthood. Don't hesitate to consult your obstetrician or gynaecologist if you encounter breastfeeding difficulties, or your psychologist if you're struggling emotionally. Recognizing when you need help and reaching out to experts is a sign of strength and can greatly benefit you and your baby. 

Building a robust support network during maternity leave can alleviate stress, create a sense of belonging, and contribute to a healthier family life. 



Exercise is essential for new mothers during their maternity leave, as it can help to improve mood, reduce stress, and strengthen the body after childbirth. Remember to consult your GP or Obstetrician before starting any exercise program, especially after giving birth. 
Here are some exercise ideas for new moms: 
Walking: One of the most straightforward and accessible forms of exercise is walking. Start with short walks and gradually increase the distance and pace as you feel comfortable. You can even take your baby in a stroller or carrier. 
Postnatal yoga: Postnatal yoga classes help new mothers gently regain strength and flexibility. They often focus on rebuilding core strength, opening tight shoulders, and releasing tension in the lower back. 
Low-impact aerobic exercises: Low-impact aerobics activities, such as swimming or cycling, can help increase cardiovascular fitness without putting too much strain on the joints. 
Stretching: Incorporate daily stretching into your routine to release tension and improve flexibility. Stretching can be beneficial for areas that tend to get tight during pregnancy and breastfeeding, like the chest, shoulders, and hips.

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Planning for the future

Exploring Work-Life Balance Options

Evaluating work-life balance options is essential to planning for the future during maternity leave. Consider transitioning back to work and explore flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or part-time schedules, to balance your career and family life. Open communication about your employer's needs and preferences can help create a supportive and accommodating work environment.

Establishing Routines for Childcare and Family Life 

As you prepare for the next phase, establishing childcare and family life routines is crucial. Select a caregiver or daycare that aligns with your values and preferences to ensure your baby receives the best possible care while you're working. Additionally, create family rituals and routines, such as shared mealtimes or bedtime stories, to maintain a sense of connection and stability as your family grows. 

Setting Long-Term Goals

Setting long-term goals for your family's well-being is vital for a prosperous future. Develop health and wellness plans to keep your family active and engaged and consider educational and financial planning to provide your child with a strong foundation for success. Proactively planning for the future can help alleviate stress and ensure a smooth transition from maternity leave to the next stage of your family's journey. 

By focusing on these aspects, you can create a solid foundation for your family's future and navigate the challenges of parenthood with confidence and ease. 


Achieving a fulfilling maternity leave experience

In summary, making the most of your maternity leave is essential for nurturing yourself and your baby during this critical period. Our comprehensive bucket list has covered essential aspects of maternity leave, including self-care and personal growth, bonding with your baby, prioritising healthcare and wellness, building a support network, and planning for the future. Focusing on these areas can create a fulfilling and enriching experience that will benefit your entire family. 

We encourage new mothers to take ownership of their maternity leave journey and adapt this bucket list to suit their needs and preferences. Remember that regular check-up with your obstetrician and paediatrician, plays a crucial role in ensuring the best care for you and your baby. By following this guide and seeking your support, you can create an empowering and memorable maternity leave experience that lays the foundation for a happy, healthy family life. 

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Chatterji, P., & Markowitz, S. (2012). Family leave after childbirth and the mental health of new mothers. Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, 15(2), 61-76.  

Dagher, R. K., McGovern, P. M., & Dowd, B. E. (2014). Maternity leave duration and postpartum mental and physical health: implications for leave policies. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 39(2), 369-416. 

Feldman, R. (2015). Sensitive periods in human social development: New insights from research on oxytocin, synchrony, and high-risk parenting. Development and Psychopathology, 27(2), 369-395.  

Goodman, S. H., Rouse, M. H., Connell, A. M., Broth, M. R., Hall, C. M., & Heyward, D. (2011). Maternal depression and child psychopathology: a meta-analytic review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 14(1), 1-27.  

Staehelin, K., Bertea, P. C., & Stutz, E. Z. (2007). Length of maternity leave and health of mother and child: a review. International Journal of Public Health, 52(4), 202-209. 


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Topics: Pregnancy, Hong Kong Kids, Paediatrics

Dr Katherine Cheng

Dr Katherine Cheng

Gynaecologist, Obstetrics