Your baby grows and develops inside your belly at an amazing rate over the course of three trimesters of pregnancy. But that amazing growth continues once they're born, coming at an especially hectic pace in the first three months of their life. This period is known as the fourth trimester, and it can be stressful for both mom and baby. To keep stress to a minimum and safety at a maximum, there are some precautions to take in the fourth trimester that can help keep your baby happy and make your own life a little easier.
After spending three trimesters of pregnancy in your cozy and warm womb, it should come as no surprise that your baby might feel like the outside world is a little overwhelming. There's so much for babies (and their parents) to do, learn, and figure out: how to nurse properly, when to sleep, and perhaps most importantly, how to feel safe and secure when they can't be in mom's or dad's arms. Fortunately, there are easy ways to help your baby through all of these transitions and get through those stressful first few months.
Here are nine precautions to know about for the crucial fourth trimester of your baby's life.
1. Keep An Eye On Their Hunger Cues
Newborn babies are too young to be expected to eat on a schedule. In the fourth trimester, HuffPost noted that feeding your baby on demand is crucial. Not only does it make sure they're healthy and well-fed, but it can also give them some comfort.
2. Minimize Major Public Outings
You don't have to become a recluse just because you have a newborn. But you do want to play it safe when you take them out in public. Parents noted that you'll probably to avoid crowded, enclosed spaces until your baby is 8 weeks old, as they might pick up germs.
3. Baby Wear
Babywearing can be a great way to recreate the coziness of the womb that your baby is still probably craving in the fourth trimester, according to Belly Belly. Plus, it can help you get more things done around the house since your hands are kept free.
4. Swaddle Them
Swaddling is another way to mimic the womb for newborns, according to Mother and Baby. It can help keep your baby calm and let them sleep more soundly.
5. Keep Up The Skin-To-Skin
You probably did a little skin-to-skin right after giving birth, but you can keep it up long after you leave the hospital. According to Gentle Parenting, skin-to-skin has many benefits including stabilizing your baby's body temperature and heart rate, and making them feel calm.
6. Keep It Light During The Day And Dark At Night
Your baby is probably going to need a little help figuring out night from day after spending nine or so months in the darkness of your womb. According to Baby Center, you can help your baby get on a better sleep schedule by keeping your house light during the day and dark at night.
7. Use White Noise
Your baby might be more likely to sleep well if you've got a little white noise playing in the nursery according to NPR. Dr. Harvey Karp told the website that babies get used to the noisiness of the womb, so recreating a similar sound level can be comforting.
8. Know How To Bed-Share Safely
Sometimes your baby will just refuse to sleep without you right by their side. When that happens, bed-sharing might be your best bet, even if your pediatrician frowns upon it. Although it carries risk (babies can be suffocated by too many pillows or blankets or hurt by an adult rolling over onto them), it can be done safely. According to Baby Center, in order to safely bed-share you should make sure there's no loose bedding, that you haven't been drinking or taking drugs, and that your mattress is firm and flat.
9. Don't Forget About Self-Care
Moms deal with lots of issue of their own in the fourth trimester, and it's important to keep an eye on any problems you might be having and get help if you need it. According to Parents, you're likely to be dealing with lots of pain, soreness, and possibly even postpartum anxiety or depression. If you need help coping with any of these issues, don't hesitate to ask for it. You and your baby will both be better off for it.