Postpartum Tips for Surviving the Fourth Trimester

Postpartum tips for surviving the fourth trimester

As a new mom of three, I've been around the motherhood block twice before, so I knew what to expect the third time around.

The fourth trimester is a term I came across recently, and made total sense. The fourth trimester is known as the first three months after childbirth. There's a ton of changes during these first three months postpartum, just like there are changes in each trimester of pregnancy.

It's where you get to know baby, and the baby gets to know you. These first three months is when they need you the most, as this world is completely new and different from their life in the womb. Babies aren't born knowing what to do, so it's our job to show them and transition them into this world.

Most importantly, the fourth trimester is a transition for mom as much as it is for baby. We're adjusting and adapting to a newborn that doesn't come with a manual. Most importantly, they're completely relying on you for their survival and well being, which can sometimes take a toll on you.

So you don't feel completely overwhelmed like I did when I had my first child, here are a few tips for the fourth trimester that you may want to hold onto coming from a mom of three littles:

Prepare: They call it the nesting phase for a reason. The nesting phase came through strong this time around. I was cleaning, washing clothes, and just preparing for Riley's arrival like a mad woman. Now you don't have to go to the extremes I went, but make sure you have the essentials covered: wash clothes (you and baby - if you plan to breastfeed, you'll be covered in spit up and breastmilk for a good three weeks after baby), clean all the bottles, have sufficient diapers and wipes handy.

Take it Easy: You just pushed out a whole human. You're gonna want to take it easy, as you may not be able to hop right back into your normal day to day things. Your body needs time to heal, so you'll need some time before you can hit the ground running again. If you have littles at home, see if you can have someone help you out during the day. It's okay if the laundry hasn't been done, if you have to order out a few times a week, and if the dishes are piled up in the kitchen sink. Give your self much grace during the postpartum stage, mama!

Lean on Your Village: This time around, my husband was home with us for 10 weeks, thanks to paid family leave for dads! This has been a God-send, and it's taken such a load off of me, as he's been able to fill in the gaps where I haven't been able to. 

Also, don't be afraid to give family members a call or text with some questions you may have.  Over the years, my husband I have reached out to both our mothers asking questions and just looking for a word of advice on how to raise these tiny humans. When they say it takes a village, it really does. 

Sleep as much as possible: No, seriously. This may sound like a bit of an oxymoron because newborns and sleep just don't mix. But, sleep deprivation is real. Trust me, I was so sleep deprived with my first child and suffered a bout of postpartum depression & anxiety. Sleep sis, even if it's at 5  in the evening. With my husband being home, I was able to steal a few morning or afternoon naps while he tended to our two toddlers. Just a little bit of extra sleep can make a difference for your mental and emotional well being. When and if you can, try to take advantage of those opportunities you have to get some extra sleep.

Baby Wearing: One of the easiest ways for me to get stuff done postpartum was to wear my baby. If there were times where she just wouldn't stay asleep in her bed, I'd wear her in my Moby Wrap so I can tend to other things, like my two rambunctious toddlers, or trying to tidy up around the house. Some folks may say all the baby wearing will create a spoiled child. Looka here, judge ya mama, not me.

Be Kind to Yourself: The most important tip of all is to be kind to yourself. Mom guilt is inevitable, but it's important that you're patient with yourself and you give yourself grace. If that load of clothes didn't get folded right away, its okay. If you haven't showered in a few days, its okay. Mirror grace, not perfection because you'll drive yourself crazy trying to be perfect during this fourth trimester.

Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations: Its easy to listen to the stories of other moms and expect the same things for your baby in the fourth trimester. Let go of the expectation that your child will sleep through the night by a certain age, take a bottle by a certain age, or fall asleep on their own by a certain age. When you let go of the expectation, you won't be disappointed with the outcome no matter what it is.

Do What's Best for You: In all things. Whether you breastfeed, formula feed, your baby sleeps on their back or on their stomach, you hold your baby or let them be by themselves for a while, co-sleeping. Do what's best for you. Do whatever it is that makes things easier for you, regardless of the opinion of others. Last time I checked, they don't have to cater to your baby 24/7/365. I said what I said.

The fourth trimester is the most crazy time you will have with your newborn baby. Most of the days will seem like a blur but they are special days. Here are 8 tips for surviving the fourth trimester

The fourth trimester is the most crazy time you will have with your newborn baby. Most of the days will seem like a blur but they are special days. Here are 5 tips for surviving the fourth trimester

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