We have all heard of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimester but have you heard of the 4th?
That's right, it's not over at birth. After having my little girl, it was a serious crash course into motherhood, especially the first few weeks. I joined some parenting groups on Facebook and the same thing kept coming up, the 4th trimester. Apparently, it is a big deal.
After 9 months in a 5 star hotel getting room service night and day and chilling in the dark, it is a massive adjustment for babies when they enter the big bad world. Those first three months after baby or babies have been born is a massive change for them. They go from being in motion and constantly connected to their mother, to being expected to being all alone in a big crib by themselves for long periods of times. Plus, they are pretty much experiencing everything for the first time; hunger, cold, noises and are not sure how to cope.
This is a tough time for both baby AND mother, but there are some ways to help ease the transition:
No, you can't spoil a baby. As a newborn, they crave being held close and cuddled a lot, which can be difficult when you need to feed yourself, use the toilet or shower. So to help with this, I was introduced to babywearing and it became one of my favourite parenting tools, especially in the early weeks. Whether it's a sling, buckle carrier or wrap, find which one is right for you and your baby. You will thank me for this, it allows you to have two free hands and a baby snuggled close. I also swear that baby carriers are sprinkled with sleepy dust.
2. Skin to Skin
Back to those newborn cuddles. If you find baby upset, skin to skin is another great tool to help calm a baby and regulate their temperature. It is also a great way for you and your partner to bond with the baby. I found after bath time a really good time to do it as our little girl hated to get dressed and undressed so this limited the crying sessions a great deal.
3. Let it Go
Try to forget all those expectations you had about newborns. They may not actually sleep between 16-18 hours a day and the public health nurses isn't always right. visit. Let it go. As a parent, you will be bombarded with advice and rules and you will be constantly questioning yourself whether you're doing it 'right'. The feeling of not doing it right is the last thing you need when trying to navigate the minefield of parenthood. Every baby is different, and every parenting style is different, follow your instincts as a parent and follow your babies cues and you will become more empowered in your decisions and in your parenting.
Though it can be tough, enjoy this time, they don't stay this small forever, embrace the small victories.