The Fourth Trimester: Babywearing and The Importance of Self Care October 11, 2015 22:24

Babywearing with your newborn is incredibly beneficial for both mother and child.
Most parents and parents-to-be are familiar with the first, second and third trimester but what about the fourth trimester? The newborn stage, those first few months in which your tiny baby acclimates themselves to this big new world, are sometimes full of challenges. After nine months in the womb, the outside world can feel like such a strange and scary place in comparison. Bright lights, temperature shifts, new sounds and smells are just a few of the new things in your little one’s environment.  The fourth trimester isn’t just about the baby, but the mother as well. It means adjusting to a somewhat different body than the one you had before pre-pregnancy; it also means making time for yourself to heal but we will get to that in a bit! 

So what does life in the fourth trimester look life for a baby fresh to this world? Keep them close as we say in the babywearing world! New parents often comment that their baby “constantly wants to be held”. And with good reason: a parent’s arms are very comforting! Putting the little one in a sling while you go about your routines or run errands can do wonders. Little ones love it because they can smell your skin, hear your heart beat and be soothed by your body’s movement. Some other benefits of babywearing in those early months include limiting overwhelming stimuli because they are snugly secured to you. 

The fourth trimester is a time for both the mother and child to rest and bond.

Throw out the idea of nursing and sleeping schedules and let your day-to-day’s rhythm build the routine. By doing this you remove the stress of trying to fit into someone else’s generic schedule and adapt to the needs of both you and your child. And another benefit of babywearing is the added ease of having the little one close for nursing in the sling.

And on the topic of needs in the fourth trimester, let’s not forget the mother! In the excitement of a new baby people often forget to ask the mother how she is doing and perhaps she herself forgets to regard her own wellbeing.

 But it’s important that self-care becomes a priority for postpartum mothers especially. 

Those early months are important for her healing (because while birth is both powerful and beautiful, it also requires a great deal of one’s bodily resources). Resting, eating healthy nourishing meals and drinking lots of water are so very crucial! This is not the time to overextend one’s self with endless guests and errands.  And a word on your body itself: in today’s modern culture there is an overwhelming pressure for women to “bounce back” after pregnancy as if it were necessary to fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans four weeks postpartum. I’m here to tell you that those standards are ridiculous and unfair to you, the new mother. Let’s set a new standard, a better standard. You have grown a child for nine months, undertook the challenges of labor and are now in a time of healing. The only postpartum standard that should matter for is not the pant size she fits in after having a baby but is she happy and healing well? Is she feeling supported?

The fourth trimester is a beautiful and complicated time for the parents and new child to bond and adjust to their family's changing dynamics. 

- Nicole