The birth is the end of your pregnancy journey, but the next chapter is just as beautiful
Welcome to the fourth trimester. It starts the moment your beautiful baby is born and lasts 12 weeks. This is a period of physical, emotional and developmental change as your new-born baby adjusts to the new world around them. Although your baby’s brain is well developed by the time they are born, their neutral pathways and nervous system continue to develop after birth. Not everyone has heard of the fourth trimester, but for mums and babies this experience is just the beginning.
Your baby’s cry is a main form of communication
Your baby has a massive transition from womb to world. For months they’ve been nicely tucked up inside the womb, where it’s dark, warm, reasonably quiet, had a constant source of nutrition and had been in constant contact with mum. Now earth-side, it’s light, noisy, different temperatures, different smells, not sure when their next feed is and mum keeps laying me down.
An important part of enjoying the fourth trimester is understanding the transition your baby has gone through and showing empathy toward them and why they might be crying. It takes time to recognise the difference between your baby’s cry’s. A baby’s cry is a form of communication, they are trying to tell you something. Your baby is likely to cry more in their fourth trimester than at any other time in their life. Offering plenty of love and support in the first three months can make this transition a little smoother for you.
Try mimicking the feeling of being back in the womb. This may give baby the reassurance they need.
Swaddling your baby. It makes them feel secure like the womb did.
Swaying or rocking your baby. This movement may remind them of life on the inside.
Skin on skin contact. Your smell, your warmth, your heartbeat, the smell of breastmilk, all so comforting to baby.
Bath your baby. They spent 9 months in the womb in fluid. For most new-born's this is a familiar and comforting experience.
Carry baby in a sling or baby carrier. Baby love this as they are in constant contact with you, just like the womb. This is also a great one for the dads. Plus, it allows you to have free hands, bonus!
Not only is this transition massive for baby, it is for parents too. Women are adjusting to motherhood, quite often sleep deprived. It is a very vulnerable time during which they tend to focus all their attention on their new-born, leaving little time to look after their own health and wellbeing.