The ULTIMATE no Bullsh*t guide to... just embracing the Fourth Trimester
The concept of 'The Fourth Trimester' is probably new to you - as a woman who has had two babies I must admit - it's new to me too.
Well, not entirely. There are some elements of the philosophy around The Fourth Trimester that I naturally engaged when my babies were born, but there are others that I wish I had given more attention to.
So what is it?
The idea of The Fourth Trimester is that the first three month's after your baby is born is an extension of their life inside the womb.
What does that mean exactly?
It means that your baby spent 40 weeks (or thereabouts!) in a very particular comfortable state. They were never hungry, always warm and rocked - and could hear their mum's heartbeat constantly.
What is the message behind this philosophy?
Essentially, supporters of The Fourth Trimester movement advise against trying too hard to enforce any routine in terms of sleep or feeding for the first three months that your baby is in the world.
How do I follow the key guidelines of The Fourth Trimester?
1. Keep your baby close to you - As often and for as long as possible so that their transition from womb to world is all the more gentle. The use of slings and wraps to carry your baby help enormously with this element, and your baby will benefit from all the constant movement.
2. Feed on demand - Whether bottle, breast or combination feeding, make sure your baby is fed as often as they request it. Instead of counting ounces or watching the clock, learn to watch your baby for hunger cues.
3. Let go of sleep expectations - Don't worry about getting your baby into anything resembling a sleep routine until they have hit the three month mark. If you change your expectation that a baby should sleep for eight hours straight through the night, then you may not be quite as stressed when that doesn't ring true, or wonder what you're doing 'wrong'.
4. Don't worry about creating 'Bad Habits' - Champions of The Fourth Trimester say that snuggling, carrying, sleeping beside, and feeding a baby on demand cannot spoil the child, but rather, help them to thrive.
The Fourth Trimester is also known as 'The Babymoon'. It's a time for mums to heal after childbirth and for the family to get to know their newest member in a relaxed and patient environment.
Do you think this ideal would work in your family? Let us know in the comments on Facebook.