The Fourth Trimester- What is it, should I know??
Have you heard the term Fourth Trimester banded around by others and wondered if you have missed something? Don’t worry! not a lot of people have heard of the it.
The Fourth Trimester is the 12 weeks immediately after your baby is born. It is the trimester of transition and one that every mum and baby will go through.
During the first three months there is a vast amount of change that happens: both physically and emotionally. Your baby is adapting from womb to world and you are adjusting to a new way of life.
Imagine moving away from your familiar dark, warm and cosy surroundings and bursting into this bright, light and loud world, it is a big adjustment.
This aside from the developmental changes that they go through is big, and requires a lot of support. For mums it is going from single life to motherhood or transitioning to being a mum of multiple babies... both of which we get little guidance on before they happen.
SO WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING DURING THIS TIME???
We all know of the three trimesters of pregnancy. You have probably downloaded every pregnancy app, joined every facebook page and read all the books, so feel like you know what to expect during each one. However very little is mentioned, if any at all about the fourth trimester - the one where you bring baby home!
So here are some of my top tips as a mother who has been through this trimester and as an early years practitioner.
1 - Take the help!
Whether it be from your partner, friends, parents or professionals. If you need help in any way accept it as these three months can be a challenge!
This help doesn’t have to mean leaving your baby with others, but accepting a hot meal or food shopping delivered. You may be feeling like you need to talk to someone about your emotions, or the changes that are taking place. If you do reach out, gain the support from the professionals around you whilst you can.
2 - Be Still!
You have just given birth, this is not something you and your body does everyday! You need time to heal. Do you really need to hang that washing out or “pop to the shop” NO! what you and your baby needs is time to connect, get to know one another and to start your new and exciting journey together. No one cares if your still in your pjs or haven’t yet jumped in the shower but your body will thank you for the rest and so will your baby.
Babies don’t need lots of stimulation in these early weeks, being exposed to busy environments can cause them to be quickly overstimulated so enjoy those sleepy cuddles and the quiet time.
3 - Sleep!
Yes I said it and I know the phrase “sleep when baby sleeps” can seem impossible when all you seem to be doing is feeding and changing them. But, take time to have a cat nap when you can, allow your partner to get involved more. If that’s doing the early evening bath and wind down whilst you grab an hour, you going to bed a little earlier or having a lie in where you can. Do whatever works for you. You cannot function on empty no matter how much you think that you can!
4 - Stop feeling guilty!
Don’t feel guilty for saying no or going against what others want. Your baby isn’t theirs and you know best! Others don’t need to feed your baby, take over nor look after your them unless this is what you want. There is plenty of time for this and you should not be made to feel bad for wanting your little one close to you in these early weeks.
5 - Eat and drink!
Sounds obvious doesn’t it?, yet we so often neglect ourselves of the things that should be the norm. Drinking water and eating a balanced diet helps to restore the body of vital nutrients that diminish during pregnancy and helps to restore the hormonal imbalances that your body goes through after labour. That being said, don’t get hooked on the idea that you need to bounce back after birth and be your old self straight away. If you want a takeaway because your craving it or you cannot be bothered to cook, then have the take away!. It is all about balance and looking after yourself.
Most of all don’t compare you or your baby to anyone. Find your rhythm and do what works for you. Remember each baby is different and every mother is too! You are what your baby needs, your love and connection. They don’t need you to be perfect, they just need you!
You can find out more ways to bond with and help you and baby by joining my fourth trimester classes. They are also a great way to meet others. Visit my facebook page today!