Four Tips for the “Fourth Trimester”
We know about the first trimester and, of course, the second trimester; can’t forget about the all-too-long third trimester. Did you know there is also a fourth? Yup, the fourth trimester is the concept that for the first three months, you and your newborn are just getting used to life outside the womb. When we think about it, our babies really didn’t experience hunger or the new and the strange; they were put gently to sleep by us in the dark womb and constantly nourished through their physical connection with us. With that in mind, it seems pretty difficult for them to just adjust to life ‘Earth-side’, doesn’t it?
It might seem daunting at first, but as a new parent, chances are you already want to spend your whole day staring lovingly at your newborn! This is the best way for you and baby to get through the Fourth Trimester happily and hopefully a little less sleep deprived. As parents in the early stages of babyhood, it can be incredibly hard to let go of some of the “advice” we are given. What exactly can we expect to be doing in the “Fourth Trimester”?
- Hugs, hugs, and more hugs – Don’t worry about the “myth” of spoiling your newborn. Be sure to shower your new bundle with lots of love and kisses. Before being in your arms they were able to be close to you whenever they wanted. Whether its mommy’s or daddy’s warmth, the easiest way to soothe a newborn is with skin-to-skin contact.
- Take care of yourself – It can be so hard for a new mom to remember to take care of herself. But when we catch a few minutes to grab a shower, or even when someone makes dinner for us, we should definitely take advantage of these opportunities for all-important recharge and refresh time.
- Don’t get too caught up in routine – Lots of families really prefer routine, and so do lots of babies. But for the first few months it’s just better to drop it, this need for routine, that is. Instead of focusing on what you should be doing, stay in the moment and cherish what you are doing (even if it’s cleaning spit-up off a new shirt).
- Enlist the family – Whether you’ve had a vaginal or C-section birth, you might be hurting a little, so gather siblings, friends, or grandparents to help you out when you need some extra TLC.
The “Fourth Trimester” can be a difficult time as baby and family learn what works for them and as mom heals and gets into a post-partum rhythm. It should be filled with patience and of course lots of love and adoration for your new bundle. Remember that New Mom should be taking care of herself in any way she knows how, but also keep in mind your newborn needs a lot of care the first few months of development, and that is completely normal (and even encouraged). Don’t get too caught up in routines, and allow yourself some you-time whenever possible by asking for help when you need it. Raising a baby can be hard, but we all know how rewarding it really is. With a few of these tips you can take the Fourth Trimester head on and enjoy every minute with the newest member of your family.