A guide to the 'fourth trimester' for new mums | Kiin Baby
It’s amazing how much babies change in a matter of weeks! We at Kiin baby certainly aren’t health experts, but as a small biz that provides essential baby products to mothers from all walks of life, we are one that wants to empower & support our fellow mummas. Sometimes it’s easy to skim over the basics, and so this little guide serves as a quick reminder that it’s also really important to care for oneself when going through this life-changing experience.
So what is this '4th trimester'? It's a colloquial term for the postpartum period (the 12-week period after your baby is born). It is where all of your new responsibilities raising a child become a reality. It's a period of learning. You learn how to take care of a tiny human who can't walk or communicate effectively yet, you'll be figuring out their sleep patterns, feeding habits, and how to keep them safe. It can feel like a total whirlwind, but you and your precious new baby will navigate this new phase of life together as a team.
With that said, it's easy to become so focused on your newborn that you forget about yourself. It's important to also take time for yourself and your own recovery after childbirth, which can be a difficult time for many new mums, both physically and mentally.
Here is a foundational checklist to help you make sure you're doing all you can to get back to being your best self:
Road to Recovery
When you have a baby, it's important to take care of your body. Your body has just undergone major physical (and emotional!) changes, and there are lots of things that can happen in the days, weeks, and months after delivery. Don't hesitate to lean on the support of professionals & loved ones, and enjoy this precious time with your family.
Especially during this time period, it is completely okay to invest time & energy in self care. Whether you are a new mum or a veteran, it’s important to at least remember to cover the basics. No recovery journeys are the same, and you need to listen to your body.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of new motherhood. Most mummas are very fatigued in the first few weeks after delivering a baby, and experts advise to fit in sleep whenever possible, such as when the baby is sleeping. Motherhood brings with it many demands on your time and energy, so don’t feel pressured to "be productive” when you finally catch a break and your newborn is sleeping; instead, remain conscious to catch up on any sleep debt.
We know it’s a luxury that not everyone has, but don’t be afraid to ask for help from those close to you, be it babysitting or running errands while you get some much-needed rest. Sleep challenges are generally part of the package, but they should slowly get better over time. If in doubt, consult with a medical professional.
Proper Diet and Exercise
After giving birth, you may be eager to get back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. But remember, it's important for new mums to nourish their bodies with healthy, whole foods (lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains), drink plenty of water, and begin moving their bodies as they feel ready. An excellent place to start is simply walking: Go outside (which in and of itself can be important) and walk around the block, ease into it and build up your physical activity slowly. Those who have had a C-section should check with their doctor about when to resume more strenuous physical activity.
The postpartum period is a time of huge change, and understandably it can be quite stressful. It's totally normal to feel a bit depressed or anxious during this time, in fact up to 80 percent of new parents report experiencing the 'baby blues'. But if your symptoms are more severe and last longer than two weeks, you may want to talk with your doctor about postpartum depression or anxiety.
A postpartum appointment is a chance for you and your baby to get checked up, but it's also an opportunity for your health care provider to assess how feeding is going (whether you’re breastfeeding, expressing milk, formula feeding, or a combination!) and whether the baby is gaining weight appropriately.
Breastfeeding is not always an instant success. So if you choose to breastfeed, and are having problems after two or three days, or if you are experiencing pain while feeding, or baby isn't gaining weight, seek support from a lactation consultant.
The fourth trimester is a time of major growth, development, and self-care. It doesn't end when your baby is born; it continues on for months after. During that time, you need to make sure your mind and body are getting the attention they deserve so that you can keep providing the best care possible for your little one.