Wait, what? There’s a FOURTH trimester?
No, women aren’t actually pregnant for an additional 12 weeks. That would be horrible – imagine the stitches… distasteful ? Sorry. This comes after the birth.
The idea is that you act like your uterus did for the past 9 months, (I have images of a giant, walking womb rocking my child to sleep…) so that baby can adjust to life outside the womb.
There are a number of ways in which you can help the little one adjust to these changes. It’s not just your world that’s turned upside down after all, so it’s important to make the transition as easy as possible for the both of you.
The baby experts recommend the following:
Swaddling – it helps the baby to feel protected, and (sort of) mimics the womb environment. At least the lack of space, anyway. You can get swaddling blankets that help with this, if you’re anything like me and your baby looks like a messy baby burrito after about 9 attempts.
Movement – you’ll probably find that if you take baby for a walk in the pram, or put them in the car, they will almost always fall asleep (they’re genius inventions!) Babies also like being rocked from side to side. I’m assuming this is because the moment is similar to what they’d have felt when mum was walking around during pregnancy.
Wear your baby – not literally. That would be quite horrendous. But use a sling and wear your baby around the house, or when you’re out. It helps bubba feel close to mum, just like the last 9 months. Careful though, it can get toasty for the both of you!
Sounds – white noise in particular. You can buy all sorts of toys that do this, they play noises that they would hear in the womb, such as their mothers heartbeat. One of the most popular, is good old Ewan the Sheep.
Bath time – not all babies will appreciate it, but the warm water in the bath should feel nice on the babies skin, and help them to relax. You can also incorporate skin to skin here, which if you’re talking to a health visitor, will always earn you some gold stars.
This is also advice to myself, as I quite often find myself trying to be superwoman, when I could really just do with a nap.
If you find yourself running round the house like a mad woman when your little bundle is snoozing, stop. Lay down and take a nap, relax. Remember, you’ve just had a baby.
When you’re feeling stressed, tired, or an emotional wreck, don’t worry, it’s normal. Remember, you’ve just had a baby.
Everyone gets things wrong, most are probably winging it (I know I am!). Lower your expectations of yourself, use this time to help you to adjust too.
If you’re going to treat the first 12 weeks as another trimester, why not treat yourself like you (hopefully) did while you were pregnant? Make the most of it while you’re still in those early stages, and help is still offered on a silver platter.
Some of this is probably stating the obvious, but you never know. Some of us need reminding sometimes (i.e. me).
Just enjoy the early weeks of slobbing it in your jammies, not leaving the house, and endless cuddles!