The Fourth Trimester: Tips and Tricks for New Moms
The Fourth Trimester was a term I’ve heard thrown around while I was pregnant but didn’t fully understand what it was until Kaden and I were going through it - just like any new mom. This period of time starts from the moment the baby is born through three months old.
We’re just creeping up on three months but I wanted to capture what I’ve learned so far, what products have been helpful, and the tips and tricks that have saved my sanity so far…well, saved may be a bit of a reach but “helped aid in regaining some sort of sanity” seems to be more accurate. Disclaimer: This is what has worked so far for me but I know every baby is different. And things change so fast every week that I may just have to keep adding to this list as time goes on. :)
DON’T DISCOUNT THE SWADDLE:
Kaden had a very fussy period basically from week 3-8. He wouldn’t cry, he would scream. And crying would be a by-product of the screaming. I’d go through all the obvious attempts to calm him with diaper changes, feedings, etc. but even if he was calm for a few minutes, the return of the screaming/crying was inevitable. Every time I tried swaddling him before, he would bust out of it and get even more upset, which made me think that he just didn’t like it. It wasn’t until I started reading “Happiest Baby on the Block” that I realized that was normal for them to fight the swaddle - at first! But afterwards, and if done correctly, it stimulates the calming reflex and makes proceeding to the other “5 S’s” (side-lying, swinging, shushing, and sucking) effective. I can’t believe how fast I can squelch his wails with a good swaddle! If you’re challenged in that department like I was, these velco swaddles make it fool-proof!!
RENT THE SNOO SMART SLEEPER:
I wasn’t sure this smart sleeper could live up to all the hype but after a few weeks of completely sleepless nights, Jake and I were willing to try anything to get even a few more minutes of shut eye. Because the SNOO is pretty expensive to buy and they really only use it for the first 4 months, we decided renting it would be ideal so we could try it out without committing to the whole shebang. Not only does it have a built in swaddle, but when the baby starts to fuss, it responds with different levels of white noise and movement! Especially now that Kaden is a bit older, sometimes that little extra rocking is all he needs to drift back to sleep.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF SLEEP:
This is where I really screwed up in the beginning. I would allow Kaden to be awake during the day for far too long! I was so focused on timing feedings that I completely forgot about naps. It wasn’t until I was reading that newborns shouldn’t really be awake for longer than two hours during the day that I realized Kaden was up for about 4 hours straight the evening before and was NOT happy about it. Once I started actively putting him down and “making” him sleep, his overall demeanor was much better. Noticing his tired cues and putting him down before he rages out has been the key to success lately.
HAVE DAD DO THE LATE NIGHT FEEDING:
I could feel my bitterness towards Jake grow more and more each night as I would look over at him sleeping soundly while I was up nursing and burping the night away. Yes, the majority of the responsibility falls on mom (especially when breastfeeding) but choosing the moments to have dad step in where it helps mom out the most is a game-changer. I started pumping before I went to bed an hour or two after the baby went down, and give Jake the bottle for when Kaden wakes up. If he wakes up and eats around 1am, that gives me at least a good 4-5 hour stretch of sleep and am ready to jump in for the early morning feeding around 5-6am. This makes me a much more pleasant wife and person in general so I highly recommend. :)
USE GRIPE WATER:
This all natural “cure-all” for stomach issues, colic, and fussiness really helped us when Kaden just needed something else to calm his crying and we didn’t know what else to try. I think it’s the equivalent to the whole “sugar water” idea of the past my mom keeps talking about, but it’s hard to say.
REACH OUT TO YOUR FRIENDS FOR HELP:
I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate my friends during this period. Both the “mom tribe” that understands every hard step, and my friends without kids that will just come bring coffee and hold my baby long enough for me to pee or shower. This.is.hard. and there’s no point in pretending you can do it all yourself. So accept help, let your house be a disaster, and just get by with a little help from your friends!
OTHER PRODUCTS I’VE LOVED:
Fisher Price Deluxe Bouncer: I waited way too long to order this. The vibration keeps him calm and entertained for much longer than a normal chair or just laying him down.
Fisher Price Snugabunny Cradle ‘n Swing: Perfect for napping or when he’s awake and wanting to play, the mobile and mirror keeps him happy and me hands free!
Baby Wrap Ergo Carrier: On Kaden’s fussier days, this wrap is a great way to get him to calm down or nap since it serves as a little bit of swaddle and skin to skin contact. When he’s extra needy, I strap him on and am still able to move around without worrying about waking him.
Comment below with any baby tips you swear by…