You’ve set up the nursery, prepped your birth plan and packed your go-bag, but there’s one more thing that working mamas-to-be need to think about before the big day: crafting the perfect maternity leave out-of-office message. A thought-out auto-reply message that informs co-workers and clients about your status helps you put work on hold so you can focus on bonding with your precious newborn.

What to Write in Your Out-of-Office Maternity Leave Message

The people emailing you at work during your maternity leave want to know four things:

  1. Where are you?

  2. When are you back?

  3. Who can they contact while you are out?

  4. How available (or unavailable) will you be during your leave?

Pretty simple, right? Let’s break it down:

1. Where are you?

It is perfectly acceptable to explain that you are on maternity leave. “Maternity leave” tells your work universe that you are fine, that there’s no mystery around your absence, and that you intend to return.

If you wish to retain some privacy around your personal life, you could consider saying that you are “on medical leave,” “on extended leave” or simply “out of the office,” but keep in mind that these options may raise more questions than they answer. Do whatever makes you more comfortable.

2. When are leaving and when are you back?

If you’re not working up until the moment your water breaks and you know the date your maternity leave will begin, consider posting your out-of-office message a week or two in advance. That way your impending absence will not come as a surprise to your work contacts. You could write, “I am going on maternity leave beginning [date].”

People will want to know when you’re planning to return to work, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily know the answer right now! If you have a specific date of return in mind, offer it. If you don’t know exactly, it’s okay to estimate. Use language like “I expect to be back in July” or “I will be returning to work in the fall.” Another option is to omit the date and just say, “I am out on maternity leave.”

3. Who can they contact while you are out?

This one’s important! Provide one or more contacts who can handle inquiries while you are on leave. Offer names, roles and phone/email information. For example, “For immediate assistance, contact my colleague [name] at [phone/email].”

Depending on your job, it may be necessary to provide numerous contacts:

“To submit a proposal, contact [name/info]. For information about the conference, contact [name/info]. For all other matters, you can speak to [name/info].”

4. How available are you?

This is completely up to you. If you don’t want to hear from work for three months, there’s a polite way to say that. If you want to stay in the loop, you can set different boundaries. Here are some examples:

  • “I will not be checking email.”

  • “I will be checking email infrequently.”

  • “For time sensitive matters, please contact my assistant. Otherwise, I will reply upon my return.”

  • “Please mark time sensitive matters URGENT so I can attend to them first.”

  • “I will be archiving all of the emails I receive during maternity leave, so if your message requires action, please follow up with me after [date].”

How to Word your Maternity Leave Out-of-Office Email:

Below you’ll find several maternity leave out-of-office email examples. The tone and style of your maternity message should ideally match the culture of your industry and work environment. If you work in a conservative, corporate business, keep your message straightforward and professional:

“I am out on maternity leave until May 1. For immediate assistance, please contact regional manager [name] at [email/phone]. I will not be checking email but look forward to connecting upon my return.”

If you work in a less formal environment or have a warm and friendly relationship with your business contacts, consider using some humor and personality:

“I am out on maternity leave until I can get this baby sleeping through the night (around June 10, we hope!). Until then, please hit up my fantastic colleague [name] at [email/phone]. I will not be checking email, but if you miss me, my Instagram [link] will be full of cute baby pictures.”

More Maternity Leave Out-of-Office Email Samples

Ultra-professional maternity leave out-of-office auto-reply messages:

Example 1: Thank you for your email. I am currently on maternity leave until October. I will be checking email sporadically. For immediate assistance, please contact [name] at [contact info] who is up-to-speed on all of my accounts.

Example 2: Hello. I am on maternity leave and plan to return on [date]. Though I am checking email, urgent matters should be directed to HR manager [name] at [contact info]. 

Lighthearted maternity leave out-of-office messages:

Example 1: I am on maternity leave until [date]. The good news for you is that I will soon be a working mother, and everyone knows we kick butt. In the meantime, please contact [name] at [contact info]. (And feel free to include a link, like this one, about just how amazing and productive working mums are.)

Example 2: Greetings! I am on maternity leave. As much as I’m enjoying changing diapers and staying up all night, I look forward to getting back to work on or around [date]. Until then, you can contact [name/info] for all urgent matters.

Funny maternity leave out-of-office messages:

Example 1: I had a baby! I’ll be home on maternity leave until January 15 or until I get to take a shower, whichever comes first. Please email me only with parenting advice or funny cat videos. All other matters can be directed to [name] at [contact info]. Wish me luck!

 Example 2:

I am out of the office on:

[ ]  A tropical vacation

[ ]  The Bachelor

[x] Maternity leave 

I will be back

[ ] Tomorrow

[ ] Next year

[x] As soon this little guy starts taking a bottle, hopefully by November

Your emails will be returned

[  ] While I’m breastfeeding

[  ] When the baby starts college

[ x] About once a week, please be patient with me!

Once you've drafted the perfect maternity leave out-of-office message, you can turn your thoughts to your actual maternity leave, and start thinking about how to make the most of that special baby-bonding time. And if you're worried about catching enough Zzz's on leave, consider SNOO—a responsive baby bassinet that's been proven to add 1-2+ hours of sleep a night for babies...and their tired mamas! Learn more about SNOO here.