Explanation of the 4th trimester and it’s importance. Learn what it is and why the 4th trimester is so important for your baby!
I remember bringing little Miss M home and being so happy. I just had an amazing natural birth bringing a beautiful happy and healthy little girl into this world. My heart was full for this sweet, precious little baby. As soon as I seen her, I knew everything happened for all the right reasons, despite how unusual my birth was. (She was here in only 2 hours!!)
But that love struck feeling quickly turned to panic as I just felt I had no idea what I was doing. I was very detached with Mister K due to being so young and not knowing what to do. I wanted to be sure not to mess up with my little girl.
Before she was born, I researched alot regarding positive parenting. Most of this “research” was done accidentally between the 4 years I had my kids. I came across the theory of the 4th trimester.
I stuck to the guidelines and still do to some degree. It’s so important and I want to share with you about what it is and why it’s important. Being a mom is stressful, but the 4th trimester helps not only your baby, but you too.
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What is the 4th trimester?
I’ve seen all kinds of ways of explaining the 4th trimester, but I like to think of it as the transition period. Your sweet little baby just spent 9 months in your womb where it is dark, quiet, close, and warm. They’ve become used to it and enjoy it and it’s their safe place.
Then you give birth. All of a sudden it’s bright, noisy, and there are all kinds of smells and they’re suddenly on their own. Imagine how scary this can be for them! They’re being ripped away from what they know into this new way of life. Can you just imagine how scared they must be? They’re so little that they cannot ask for help, only expect someone to welcome and transition them into this world.
The 4th trimester is the time that we welcome our babies into the world and transition them into this new way of doing things. We help them feel safe, warm and loved. We help them make the transition without feeling scared, worried or alone.
But if you don’t know how to do that, it can be overwhelming to try and help your little baby. Let me help! I’m about to introduce you to some amazing products that are great to have on hand. I’ve used them all and they come highly recommended. I’ll also share some important tips for surviving the nex few months.
Items needed during the 4th trimester
Muslin Baby Swaddle BlanketsErgobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier GreyGraco Simple Sway Baby Swing, AbbingtonPhilips AVENT BPA Free Translucent Orthodontic Infant Pacifier, 0-6 Months, Color May Vary, 2-PackHALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Bassinet – Essentia Series, HoneycombHoMedics SS-2000G/F-AMZ Sound Spa Relaxation Machine with 6 Nature Sounds, Silver
1 | Keep your baby close
Your sweet little baby just spent a long nine months up close to you inside your belly. Naturally, they’re going to want to continue that as they get adjusted to this new big and scary world. When Miss M was born, we spent lots of time real close together. She would lay on my chest while I worked and I almost never put her down.
Wear your baby: Like I previously mentioned, little Miss M almost never got put down. While this worked very well for us, it doesn’t always. Some families are on the go quite a bit, have older children to care for, and lots of housework to get done (I usually did that when she slept). There were times that I needed free hands but Miss M really wanted me, so I put her in a carrier. She was happy and I could still be getting things done while making sure my little girl had her needs met.
Sleep near your baby: It’s also important to sleep near your baby. Personally, we like to safely bedshare with Miss M and it’s what works for us. But if you’re scared or just don’t want to, have her sleep close by. There are bassinets, cosleepers, and other things that can be right next to you so you can still reach over and touch your baby. Sleeping close helps you both sleep better as it regulates body temperatures and heartbeats. I’ve even heard about sleep cycles synching up when sleeping close together.
2| Respond to your baby
When your baby cries, they need something. You can’t spoil them and they aren’t crying just because of it. It’s important to respond when they cry. No matter if that’s talking to them, picking them up, comforting them, feeding them, or changing them. Just respond to the needs they have at that moment.
You can’t spoil a baby: When I had Mister K, I listened to anybody and everybody because I had no idea what I was doing yet. Looking back, the most insane advice I got was to put them on a schedule and don’t pick them up or they’ll be spoiled. Babies are just babies – you can’t spoil them. They cry because they need you. They need you to care for them and love them. That’s not spoiling them.
Don’t let them cry it out: My heart hurts so bad when i still see this outdated practice being done. Letting a baby sit and scream and cry all by themselves is the worst thing you can do. They’re crying because they want you. Crying it out stresses them out, stresses you out, and can lead them to believe they can’t trust you because you just leave them alone to cry until they pass out. Have you ever cried yourself to sleep? It’s absolutely horrible. I could never do it to my baby and I was happy to hear that was okay. My sweet babies need me to care for them, protect them, and love them.
Nurse your baby: Many health professionals will tell you to follow a schedule. I myself never did that. I would follow her cues. If she seemed hungry, I would feed her. I can’t hold out because she’s “eating too much” or force her to eat because “it’s been too long”. I’ll always offer her to nurse if I feel necessary, but in the end, I followed her lead. It helps her feel safe and comfortable and that’s exactly what I want.
3| Comfort your baby
Lastly, always always always comfort your baby. We already know to hold them close and respond to their cues. But it’s important to just comfort them. Sometimes babies are upset because they can’t tell you that thier tummy hurts or they’re gassy. Hold your baby and comfort them.
Swaddle your baby: Swaddling your baby can oftentimes calm them down if they like being confined closely. It closely replicates what it’s like in the womb and can help to calm them. If you’re not sure how, you can buy special blankets or look it up on youtube for the ones you already have.
Put them in a swing: My baby absolutely loves swing and rock motions and always have. Early on, we got her a swing and she’d even fall asleep there sometimes. It’s a very calming motion for babies.
Offer a paci: I don’t recommend this in the first 6 weeks of life as it can cause nipple confusion if you are nursing. If that’s not an issue for you, offer a pacifier to your baby. It’s a nice sucking motion that they enjoy.
Play music and sounds: Some babies like soft music, others like white noise or nature sounds. Either way, find a youtube video, a noise machine, or another way to play this. We liked to make spotify playlist for Miss M on our phones and rock her to sleep. To this day she still loves this if nothing else works.
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