14/08/2014 12:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

15 Ways To Get The Most From Your Maternity Leave

Three young mothers holding babies in overalls

From that first blissful moment of skin-on-skin contact and the unrivalled joy of witnessing your baby's first smile to that awkward moment when you realise you've been sitting in a café weeping, with your right breast hanging out – maternity leave is a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows.

In fact, when Charles Dickens wrote that immortal opening line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" he could just as easily have been talking about those early months of parenting.

Here are a few tried-and-tested tricks to help you embrace the highs and weather the lows of being a mum to a new baby.