If you're working through your pregnancy, you've probably spent some time dreaming about what maternity leave will look like. Leisurely trips to the art gallery, coffee with friends, a chance to brush up on your cooking skills....However, for many working women, the transition to being a stay at home mum of a newborn (especially if it's your first time) can be a shock. Here are some tips to help guide you through.

1. You'll spend a lot of time on the couch nursing.

This may sound blissful, but if you are used to being busy in an office can come as a shock. However the reality is that the newborn will need lots of feeds - approximately every 3 hours, which means a lot of time sitting down. Make sure you have a comfy chair and keep a bottle of water and some healthy snacks near by. You'll spend the first little while just gazing at your newborn, but after a while you may want to have a good show to watch (or maybe try investing in a new series or film on Stan or Netflix); an audio book to listen to etc. Keep any entertainment light as you'll be tired. Lots of sitting also allows your body time to recover after the birth so be gentle on yourself. You will probably spend a lot of time being bored and feeling like those early weeks are like some endless Groundhog Day, but remember it's exactly what you are supposed to be doing.

2. Ask friends for help

Whether it's with the housework or just looking after the baby for an hour. You will crave adult conversation. You may not be able to make it out for lunches or coffee so invite friends around to your house. Your housework will probably slide in the first few months, so just learn to relax about it. The most important thing is to look after yourself and your baby!

3. Park guilt at the door

It's part of the deal - you're going to feel guilty at some stage being a new mum. Whether it's because the house is a mess or you are missing work or about some other aspect of motherhood. Try using a meditation app if you can to relax and sleep when your baby sleeps. Getting enough sleep is a great way to safe guard against feelings of anxiety and guilt.

4. Remember each stage of your baby's development doesn't last.

Your fantasies about going on excursions to the art museum or showing off your baby with friends or popping into work can become a reality. Just not in the first few months. So be patient and know that you will become more mobile with your little one eventually.

5. Do try to exercise and get out of the house at least once a day.

Some days you won't make it, but you will feel so much better if you can manage to walk outside with your little one and get some fresh air. Think about going to mums and bubs yoga or even just for a short walk. Walking with your baby can often soothe them to sleep and it's great for helping you get in shape again.

We'd love to hear about what your maternity leave was like? What surprised you? What did you enjoy or not enjoy so much?