I MADE IT Y’ALL!!! We have officially made it out of the 4th trimester!!
I knew NOTHING about this prior to pregnancy. I stumbled upon references of the 4th trimester while reading maternity books to help me know what to expect at each stage. However, just like nothing can really prepare you for motherhood except for motherhood, nothing prepares you for the 4th trimester.
The 4th trimester is the 12 week period following the birth of a child. There are soooooo many changes for mommy and baby! Mommy has to balance healing and taking care of herself with caring for a newborn and other responsibilities like additional children and a household. Baby has to adjust to life in a brand new environment. Here are the lessons I’ve learned along the way:
- SLEEP: Figure out what helps you sleep. Do you need to define a schedule with your partner and family members? Do you need monitoring devices like the Owlet sleep sock or video baby monitors that track baby’s breathing and heart rate? Do what you can to transition your body to getting short sleep stretches in when baby is sleeping.
- EAT and HYDRATE: Keep some water in a cup nearby so that you can sip all day Bc dehydration is real when you’re worried about feeding baby every 3 hours or less plus diaper changes and such. Do what you need to do to eat something nutritious! The one thing I was reminded of during pregnancy was to make a meal and eat it. It didn’t have to be the traditional sense of a meal, but rather focus on some sort of veggie, a carb and protein no matter what that combination looked like on my plate.
- BABY FEEDINGS: Feed baby when baby wants to eat! But in the beginning that may mean waking baby up for feedings AND THAT IS OK BECAUSE IT WON’T LAST LONG! Especially if you have a late preterm baby who may be borderline jaundiced like my boy — feed baby on a schedule if needed! However, if baby’s weight is fine and there are no other issues, then feed baby on feeding cues. Baby will let you know when baby is hungry!!
- GROWTH/DEVELOPMENT: IT GOES SO FAST! Stop and take in every sight and sound that you can because it goes fast. During the times when I felt the sleep deprivation and baby was extra fussy, instead of getting frustrated I remembered that this season is short. My boy is already discovering more about the world around him and looking about so much more rather than solely staring into my eyes.
- BABY WEARING: It will help you be able to move around more and get things done. At least it has for me! Some people talk about not holding the baby much or putting baby into the crib to sleep, but my boy will have years of being away from me and in the blink of an eye the day will come where he doesn’t want to be next to me so I will take advantage of ALL THE SNUGGLES while I can.
- EXERCISE: I try to get some movement in as much as possible, but it’s hard with caring for baby and working full time plus home stuff. Tucking him away in the stroller and walking for 20 minutes is a great way to go! It can be slow but any movement helps (I’m really telling myself this because I need to do it more). I have also done some bodyweight exercises like squats and lounges while baby wearing. It was like holding a 12lb dumbbell! lol Yoga and stretching has been a huge help for me during these last 12 weeks.
These are just some of the things that have kept me sane and functional during these first 3 months. I still can’t believe I’m someone’s mommy who appears to be a healthy, happy, flourishing baby. It is definitely a hope and a prayer that is guiding us day by day!