The first few months after bringing your squishy baby home is now known as the ‘Fourth Trimester’.
Pregnancy is split up into 3 trimesters, with the fourth being the first 3 months of newborn life.
The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as she adjusts to life outside the womb.
Think of it this way –
Babies cry when they are hungry, tired, cold, hot, in pain.
None of this would be an issue when inside the womb.
They would be so used to being cosy, snuggly being fed and being rocked to sleep by your movements. Now all of a sudden they are introduced to this whole new world of stimuli, and experiences will be a real shock to your baby.
Now, the fourth trimester isn’t just about baby. It’s also about the mother’s too.
This trimester it is time for mothers to recover from the mammoth task of giving birth.
It is time for them to relax, get to know their baby, and recover their tired bodies.
I know this period of time is a mixed bag of emotions and a crazy rollercoaster ride, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful time.
There are steps you can take now to ensure you help yourself survive and thrive through the fourth trimester.
1. Accept Your Body Changes
After giving birth your body is going to feel different of course it is.
There was a baby growing inside for 9 months! Your boobs will feel rock hard, your belly will feel empty, and you will feel sore.
Your body needs plenty of time to recover. Be kind to yourself.
2. Accept Support
If you get offered help, or have family and friends that are willing to give you support, then take it.
Don’t feel ashamed. In fact, dive headfirst into this chance, and allow yourself to take a step back for 5 mins.
3. Be Kind To Yourself
Make sure you take it easy during the fourth trimester. It is a crucial part of recovery, rest to ensure you recover fully and properly. Take it easy, try not to worry too much about things like housework.
4. Minimize Your Responsibilities
Keep all your responsibilities and tasks to a minimum during the first few weeks especially. You have gone through just as much as your baby, so you need just as much rest.
5. Drop The Pressure
Whether you feel pressured with your feeding choices or sleeping choices, you know what’s right and what works best for you.
If baby will only settle on yourself, then that is fine! These days will soon be over. Just go with the flow and let baby lead the way.
One piece of information I have always gone by is the 5 S’s.
Babies have a calming reflex that is triggered by mimicking the sounds/motions of the womb.
‘All babies are born 3 months early. A virtual 4th trimester of womb sensations (soft touch, jiggly movements, snug holding etc) may just be what they need’ – Dr Harvey Karp
If you are finding it hard to settle your baby. Try giving the 5 S’s a go.
The 5 S’s for New Moms
Swaddle – Swaddling will help mimic the soft packed feeling of being in the womb. This will give baby a sense of security and also help if your baby has the startle reflex. Baby will stay soothed longer as their arms will not fly about.
Side or Stomach – Sometimes babies seem more content on their sides or stomach. Especially if they suffer from reflux/colic. But remember, when baby is asleep you MUST put them back onto their backs to reduce the risks of SIDS. This is the only recommended way for baby to safe sleep.
Shush – White noise will help mimic the sounds of the womb and also block out any unwanted background noise disturbing your baby.
Swing – Fast tiny movements will help settle a screaming baby. Life in the womb was very very jiggly!
Suck – Sucking is the golden way to comfort a fussy screaming baby. Sucking is a babies natural reflex that helps to comfort them into a calm state. Dummy’s will be great for this.
‘Your baby doesn’t magically transform into a different life form at the moment of birth. He/she is the same person he/she was just a minute before. So, the first three months of life are like a fourth trimester, and should be treated Gently entry into this world – with respect and loving care’ – Elizabeth Pantley
Prepare Yourself for babies arrival using this Ultimate Checklist of everything you will need.
There are so many lists it can feel very overwhelming. Especially when they are filled with things you don’t really need to begin with.
Remember, mother’s need mothering too, so check out this Self Care Guide and take some time out for yourself.