Thrive in the Fourth Trimester…
‘Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment they are born and lasts until they are 3 months old.’
During the first 3 months of life your baby is adjusting to life outside of the womb. They will rely on you for absolutely everything. Your baby’s senses will continue to develop, and they will be getting used to all the different lights, sounds and sensations of the outside.
The Fourth trimester is also a period for your recovery and to adjust to your new role as a mother.
A lot of people do not feel fully recovered until the 3/4 month mark, so this time is all about you and your baby and learning how to respond to each other.
By the end of this trimester you will see a dramatic change in your baby and the way they interact. They will more than likely be awake for longer periods of time, and showing an interest when looking at colourful toys. There will be a change in sleep patterns, feeding patterns and they will more likely cry the most during this trimester than any other time in their life.
I thought I would share some ways with you on getting the most out of the fourth trimester.
Remember…. thrive it don’t survive it
1) Be Kind To Yourself
You have just gone through one of life’s most biggest tasks. You have grown and birthed a baby. Take it easy during the fourth trimester, don’t be too hard on yourself and try not to worry too much about things such as housework. That stuff can wait.
2) Accept Your Body Changes
After birth your body will feel different. Of course it would, there was a baby inside there growing for 9 months. Your belly may feel empty, your boobs will be rock hard and you will feel sore. Do not drop into all the expectations of ‘Body bounces right back’. Your body needs time to recover, be kind to yourself.
3) Accept Help
If people offer help don’t feel ashamed to accept it. In fact, dive headfirst into this chance because you more than likely won’t get all the offerings you get when you have a newborn.
4) Drop The Pressure
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If baby will not settle anywhere but you, then that is fine! Don’t feel like you are doing wrong by co-sleeping, these days will soon be over. Just go with the flow and let baby lead the way.
Try and minimise all your tasks and responsibilities during this time. After all you have gone through just as much as baby has and need just as much time to recover.
During the fourth trimester babies will have a calming reflex which can be triggered by mimicking the sounds of a womb.
‘ All babies are born 3 months early. A virtual 4th trimester of womb sensations ( soft touch, jiggly motion, snug holding etc) may just be what they need’ – Dr Harvey Karp.
I could not agree with this anymore. The 5 S’s can come into play if your finding it hard to settle your bay during this time.
SWADDLE – Swaddling will help your baby feel safe. It will mimic the soft packed feeling of being in the womb. This will also help with the startle reflex. Babies will stay soothed longer because their arms can’t wriggle around.
SIDE OR STOMACH – You may find your baby is more content and happy when laying on their stomach or side to fall to sleep. Remember once they are asleep to always put them on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS. This is the only recommended way for a baby to safe sleep.
SHUSH – Babies don’t need total silence to fall asleep. White noise will help mimic the sounds of the womb and help your baby feel safe.
SWING – Fast, tiny motions will help you calm a screeching baby. Life in the womb was very jiggly.
SUCK – Sucking is the golden way to help calm a fussy baby. Their natural reflex will help them soothe into a calm state. Dummy’s can 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 as gentle entry into this world- with respect and loving care”. Elizabeth Pantley