If you’re questioning the rightness of your desire to pick up your baby when he cries, or lie beside him as he falls to sleep, read this.
“He’s got you wrapped around his little finger.” “She’ll never learn if you do whatever she demands.” “He needs to learn to self-settle.”
These are phrases every new parent is inundated with by well-meaning strangers. Despite the journey to becoming parents being one filled with much anticipation and joyful excitement, we live in a world that seemingly undervalues normal physiological behaviour in babies, and places way too much emphasis on the quest for them to be independent in their own entities. We are warned of creating “bad habits” with our children by being there for them when they need us, and we are chastised for wanting our babies in our beds near us at night time or for feeding overnight.
Creating a new life is not an overnight process, as we all know. Women’s bodies work hard to provide a safe and nurturing environment in order to grow a baby. The nine-plus months, or 40(ish) weeks, of pregnancy are split into three trimesters, each about 12-14 weeks long. Many women will track the milestones of their unborn babies in the womb as the weeks and trimesters go by, as well as the seemingly endless changes to their own bodies as their little one grows. Less talked about—and planned for—are the few months following the birth of your baby, often referred to as the fourth trimester, which is an important part of your pregnancy experience for both you and your baby. While you might be preoccupied figuring out how to care for your in-the-flesh newborn or getting your birth plan in place, it’s just as important to understand what your body will go through after the delivery and how you will need to care for it. To help address this special (and intense) 12 weeks post-delivery, we’ve rounded up some must-read tips to help a new mom navigate the beautiful and brutal fourth trimester.
A few of my friends had new babies this spring, and while looking into their wide, shell-shocked eyes, I remember what it’s like to have a wriggly tiny life in your arms. Everything seems chaotic and hazy and wonderful and exhausting. Here’s what I’d tell those new mothers…
First off, the first thing I would say — which is 10,000% true — is, IT GETS EASIER.
A reader left the loveliest comment years ago: “Bless you, new moms. If you’re trying, you’re doing a great job.”
Here are a few posts that may help during the first year:
7. 8 questions to ask a new babysitter. Friends have sometimes lamented that they can’t leave their baby with a stranger. But this person is only a stranger until you meet them. At least in our experience, a nanny will soon feel like a beloved new member of the family.
“Why will my baby only sleep in my arms, what am I doing wrong?”. A question so frequently asked by exhausted new parents.
The first three months of parenting are often the hardest. A quarter of all babies in this age group are diagnosed as suffering from colic, a diagnosis given when doctors don’t know why a baby is so unhappy and parents are unable to stop their tears.
There is hope though, understanding the enormous transition that babies make from ‘womb to world’, a concept commonly referred to as ‘The Fourth Trimester’, can prove ground-breaking for sleep deprived new parents. When babies are born they are incredibly ill prepared for life outside of the uterus. There are theories that due to our large head size human babies are born prematurely development wise, else they would be too large to be born naturally. While this is good news for mothers, it’s not such good news for the babies who could really do with another three months gestation. Understanding this and treating newborns as if they were still ‘in utero’ for their first three months of life can make life much easier for new families.
(click link at the top to read on huffingtonpost.co.uk)
Other mothers have gone before you. Other mothers will come after you. There is a sisterhood in our postpartum experience. If we allow it, our lives will be forever changed. You are not alone. You are never alone.
When the balloons have deflated. When the flowers have died. When everyone has gone home. Then what?
Postpartum. It’s sometimes called the fourth trimester, but if you’ve never had a baby, or you’ve never been in my social circle, you might not know that.