Surviving the Fourth Trimester

For those of you who aren’t aware – the fourth trimester is a very cool theory about a baby’s need for womb-like environments, sounds, movements, etc for the 3 months following birth. The theory goes that babies have to be ‘expelled’ from the mother’s body sooner than idealistic for the baby in order for the mother to survive giving birth – essentially – small baby = healthier and happier momma.

In large part, the fourth trimester is getting your baby accustomed to Planet Earth. Lots of holding, snuggling, shushing, and swinging.

Now that we are well beyond the fourth trimester, I can truly see what a different baby Atlas is now. He sleeps better in his crib – where 2 months ago he needed to be snuggled up in between Jared and I – all night every night. He loved his sling only weeks ago but now he is so enthralled with the world that he acts like its some sort of restraining device every time I put him in it.

There are a million other little (and big) differences between the fourth trimester and now – but the point of this article is to share with you some of the products that helped us survive, as well as a few others that we completely fell in love with and are now very loyal customers.

Solly Baby Wrap – Say hello to my most treasured possession during our first 3 months with Atlas – talk about the joy of having both of your hands back! Before Atlas was born Jared and I read A LOT of books and settled on a more ‘attachment parenting – like’ method of raising our babies. It was really important to me to be able to carry our new child – not only do they cry less, but when they do cry, it isn’t a loud scream of desperation, but a quiet whimper of the beginning signs of a need – whether that be needing a new diaper or some food in the belly. I love how tight the Solly wrap holds Atlas to me with a soft, semi-stretchy material that doesn’t loosen as its worn – I found that with wraps like the Boba the weight of the baby stretched the wrap out over the time worn so I had to keep tightening it. With this, I could wear Atlas as I walked around doing chores in the house or while we were out running errands. He is more content and I am not chained to the rocking chair.

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Natursutton paci – We never planned on using a pacifier – in fact – I was very very against a paci, mostly due to watching other children in my life struggle so much to give it up. Their dependence on a piece of rubber scared me and don’t get me started on the bad bad effects it can have on their teeth! BUT, on day two of Atlas’ life Jared and I were running around town like crazy trying to get what we needed to survive the next week at home and it hit me that I could not be a ‘human pacifier’ in other words, I couldn’t breastfeed ALL the time – whether we were sprinting through a store or driving across town, there were just some scenarios that didn’t allow me to soothe Atlas. The paci has helped so much for those instances when I can’t breastfeed Atlas when he isn’t hungry but needs a little comfort, like driving to pick Jared up from school or the middle of the night when he has eaten his fill and Jared is rocking him to sleep. We still plan on taking it away at month 3, when children exit their ‘fourth trimester’ and begin to get attached to things like pacis, but for now I will accept as a life saver.

Aden and Anais bamboo swaddling blankets: soft, with just enough stretch and did I already mention so so soft?!

Willaby heirloom blanket: we asked for this blankie for Atlas because we wanted a ‘lovey’ that would last. Though he isn’t old enough to get attached to it yet – knowing that is has been with him since day one is really special. Its gauze material is so soft and its small size is perfect for Atlas to cart around once he is able.

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Keurig coffee maker: Two words: Instant Coffee. Nothing ever sounded so sweet. I hate that I have had to resort back to drinking coffee, I was really proud of my ability to ween myself off before my pregnancy and have no dependency on caffeine, but this is a whole different stage of life and coffee is a necessity! The ability to just press a button and have just one cup of coffee has made morning so much easier!

The Happiest Baby on the Block: This book helped Jared and I understand why the first 3 months of your baby’s life are so much different than all the rest. The author discussing the theory of the “fourth trimester” and how your baby’s needs are a lot different in its first three months than any other time. We worship this guy for his amazing insight and he has essentially given us the building blocks to get Atlas to sleep more solidly and more peacefully. We aren’t into scheduled sleep times or eating times – but knowing that in the middle of the night after Atlas has eaten I can get him to sleep fairly quickly is real peace of mind.

Gentle Babies: a GREAT resource for those of you who are interested in essential oils. I have mentioned it already it other posts on EO, but I truly find that I use it on the daily.

Lavender and Frankincense essential oils and diffuser: These get diffused at night and rubbed onto Atlas after his baths. Great for calming and triggering relaxation in both baby and momma.

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Promptly Journals: my only regret about this purchase was that I didn’t purchase it sooner! This amazing little journal has space to write about your babies from conception through 18 years! It keeps me writing down all these precious moments I never want to forget and the prompts are really fun!

Thirsties diaper covers and Planet Wise inserts: It took awhile to figure out what cloth diapers worked for us – but we are very happy with this current combination. Easy to use, clean and store.

Lassig diaper bag: Lots of pockets, light, and it doesn’t look like a diaper bag! Also it has this awesome little cold pouch on one of the side pockets – perfect for snacks!

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Mothers books and devotionals: at some point during the 4th trimester you are going to feel a little nuts – likely from the sleep deprivation – and as a result, a little further from God than you’d like to be. I struggled for much of the first three months just finding time for God and time to spend in His Word. I loved the devotionals and books passed down to me from my mother-in-law and I would really encourage you to grab a few that you like before your baby arrives. Leave them on the table next to where you will be nursing your babe and pick it up when you’re feeling that deep desire to sit at the feet of Jesus. For me it was always in the middle of the night… the 5th or 6th time visiting Atlas to nurse, pitch black outside, and my husband snoring quietly in the next room. I would feel drained and often resentful that Jared could sleep peacefully while I was up so much of the night. It was in these moments of weakness that I needed Jesus the most – that I needed to hear the promises of God and the things He expects of me. The first months are hard, but I pray for all of you that you use it as an opportunity to grow closer to your Maker instead of pulling away.

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What helped you get through your child’s 4th trimester? Any tips you’d like to share?

XOXO

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