Parenting is hard – there is no argument about that amongst most parents. I think most parents can also agree that some of the toughest moments during parenthood are those first three months of your baby’s life (of course aside from the toddler years).
Between cluster feeding, colic, feeding struggles, and simply dealing with getting to know your new baby – it can be an exhausting experience. So, why are those first 3 months tough aside from the “normal” newborn struggles?
The 4th trimester could be to blame for this. A consistent question I receive as a Sleep Consultant is “my baby won’t sleep outside of my arms?” Sometimes if you are really lucky, your baby sleeps soundly in their bassinet for the first week or so and then suddenly everything goes up in smoke.
The transition to this big wide world is a major transition for your baby. When babies are born, they aren’t technically prepared for life outside of the womb. While inside the womb, it is dark, the perfect temperature the entire time, all the surroundings are familiar to them, the sound of their mother’s heartbeat and the sound of the blood rushing through the mother’s body can be as loud as 90 decibels. To put in perspective of how loud 90 decibels is – google says it is equal to how loud a subway is while running.
What can you expect during the 4th trimester?
During the 4th trimester you can expect fussiness and some crying from your baby. Newborn babies are learning how to adjust to life outside of the warm. If you are lucky like me, you birth fussy babies right from the beginning which can make the transition to the 4th trimester even more frustrating and tiring than usual.
How to survive:
The best way to survive the 4th trimester is to remember it is normal. Your baby is learning about their surroundings, and you are learning all about this new human you are responsible for (scary!) Remember the 4th trimester is only a period of time, and it does eventually end, even though it may not seem that way after your 10th crying episode of the night.
To help make the 4th trimester more enjoyable for your whole family, take a look at the following tips of how to mimic your womb, and help your baby adjust to their new world.
While your baby is in the womb, they are constantly being moved by something until mom goes to bed at night. This is where the reliance from movement is thought to come from! Your baby is rocked to sleep by your movements all day and then at night when it’s time to relax, and mom is still, the baby wakes up! This happens after your baby leaves the womb as well.
What to do? Mimic those movements! Rock, sway, dance with your baby. Babies love to move!
Many people are under the impression that you should tip toe around your baby when first born, this is actually the opposite from true. Babies love sound, but for many babies it’s not the sound you think they would like. White noise is much more calming to a newborn than a lullaby is.
As horrible as It can be, cluster feeding is very natural. If nothing else calms a crying baby most of the time bringing them to the bottle or breast will help calm them. Babies may not be hungry enough for a full feed but their natural reflex to soothe is to suck.
The womb is a tight fit towards the end of pregnancy. Your baby enjoys feeling snug, and that is where a good swaddle will come in handy for the 4th trimester. There are a variety of great swaddles on the market. It is important to purchase a swaddle that is within size range for your baby.
In many cases; these tips are things that mothers will do on instinct, but it never hurts to have the tips in front of you when you are surviving off of minimum sleep.
Never worry about “spoiling” your baby during this 4thtrimester. It’s a time where you and your baby are getting to know one another and introducing your baby to their new world.