Congratulations, your baby has finally arrived! The next few months are going to be very special. You and your partner will lay the foundations of a beautiful and strong bond with your little one.
The “fourth trimester” isn’t a technical term. It’s more of a concept that describes the three month period after the birth of your baby, when they are still very dependent on you.
Supporters of the fourth trimester say that babies need to be cared for in a gentle, soothing and calm way, particularly for the first 12 weeks when they are still very immature.
The concept can help new parents understand how best to comfort their newborn.
It is a huge change for such a little person to go from a warm, dark and secure place to the outside world.
Calming tips for the fourth trimester
One of the most challenging aspects of the fourth trimester may be getting your little one to sleep.
Below are some common calming techniques to experiment with. However, it’s important to remember that every new family is different. Whatever technique works for you and your own little baby is the best option.
Try out some of these helpful tips to help calm your baby during this early stage:
- Keep moving. Your newborn is used to moving with you from their time in the womb. Try taking your little one for a walk in the pram, in a pouch or a drive and see if that helps them settle.
- Get in the bath together. Skin to skin contact is heaven for a newborn. Not only can it help settle them but it can help with emotional connection and bonding. It may also help your baby to relax and calm.
- Swaddle your baby. Your little one is used to being curled up securely in your womb so having lots of room to move may sometimes be distressing. Ask a midwife, child health nurse or another mum to show you a good swaddling technique for helping your baby settle. But remember, don’t swaddle too tightly. Your baby still needs some room to move their legs freely.
- Create some noise. Babies and even toddlers generally love noise. Since their hearing has developed in the womb they will be used to a muffled version of all the noises around you. Experiment with playing white noise on loop from a CD or Smartphone app while your baby sleeps. This may help them to stay calm.
Helpful equipment for the fourth trimester
Breastfeeding can be a challenging experience for mums and newborns. With a bit of patience, good support and guidance and a few handy pieces of equipment, there are ways to make things a little bit easier.
If breastfeeding is proving to be a little more difficult than you imagined, try to have these three helpful items on hand when you feed:
- Breastfeeding bra. A maternity bra will allow you to easily breastfeed without removing your bra entirely. A good breastfeeding bra needs to be supportive, comfortable but also allow some extra room for when your milk comes in. Your breasts should not be constricted either.
- Tops with buttons or zips. Easy access to your breasts will make breastfeeding easier. It may be tricky to get your newborn attached to your breast while you are fully clothed and only have one spare hand.
- Breastfeeding pads. These can help absorb milk leakage and prevent embarrassment. Some women find they need to wear breastpads all the time and others don’t.