The fourth trimester is the 12 weeks after your baby is born.
It’s time for your newborn to adjust to their new surroundings and time for you to get to know them. There used to be this idea that a baby pops out and we should all just crack on like nothing happened but now we know that’s not realistic.
Both you and your baby need time to get used to a whole new world. Your baby is still developing outside of you with their brain, body and nervous system changing every day. And in those first three months, you have to deal with crazy hormones and sleep deprivation. All while meeting every single need of your baby.
Imagine your fourth trimester as your probation period at work, it’s a chance for everyone to get to know each other and get used to the job. The only difference is that you definitely won’t get fired from this role.
You can do a few things in this 12 week period to help yourself and your baby and make the transition from safe inside you to the big bad world a little easier.
- Skin-to-skin contact
Holding your baby to your naked skin calms, warms, and soothes them. Your baby will get to know you and the sound of your heartbeat, helping to regulate theirs too. Skin-to-skin also helps with your latch when you’re breastfeeding.
- Feed on demand
It’s best to feed when your baby asks for it, even if that’s little and often. Look out for cues that they want a feed like licking lips, turning their head and sticking out their tongue. Read: Top 10 breastfeeding tips
Give baby slings a try to recreate the comfort, security, and gentle movement your baby had during the 9 months they were inside you.
Swaddling helps your baby feel safe and secure. It can also help (some, not all!) babies sleep longer. Make sure you follow safe swaddling guidance.
When your baby was inside you they were constantly rocked and soothed as you moved around. Swaying and swinging gently can give that same comfort. You can either do this in your arms or buy or borrow a swing.
The fourth trimester is probably the toughest period you’ll go through as a parent but you don’t have to do it alone. Lean on friends, family or mums from your antenatal group. And if you’re struggling speak to your health visitor or GP.
Found this helpful? Read How Do I Prepare for My Baby?
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Imagine your fourth trimester as your probation period at work, it’s a chance for everyone to get to know each other and get used to the job. The only difference is that you definitely won’t get fired from this role. It can be exhausting and exhilerating all at the same time.
You can do a few things in this 12 week period to help yourself and your baby and make the transition from safe inside you to the big bad world a little easier including skin-to-skin contact, feeding on demand and babywearing.