Sailing Through the 'Fourth' Trimester
Blog Submitted By Payoni Dhaker
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
During the 9th month of pregnancy, the excitement level of the To Be Parents especially aMom to be is at its peak. Isn't this obvious? For having carried the baby for 9 long months, the mother is quite eager to see her little one, see whom does the baby resemble, see if the baby is healthy and to hold the baby in her arms. Amidst this excitement, one thing that new parents often tend to miss out is how to cope up with the first 3 months of the new born baby. In this article, I have attempted to list down a few of the common yet unknown experiences which will help the new parents to enjoy the first three months with their little one.
Voila! You are in the hospital and are blessed with your little one. It is important that you carry the essentials required for your new born baby from home and not run helter skelter from the hospital post the baby is born.
Things to carry in the Hospital Bag for the Baby-
New born size Diapers usually tape style diapers (as soon as the baby is out from the womb, the baby will be cleaned by the medical Staff and will wear a diaper), wet wipes (fragrance free/non scented), diaper changing mat, few swaddle clothes, baby clothes (carry at least 3-4 sets), cap and socks, baby bed sheets and a waterproof mat. There are certain hospitals who provide these baby essentials and hence it is advisable for you to check with your hospital in advance and prepare your bag accordingly. Since your New Born's skin is extremely tender and soft, ensure that you pre wash all your baby essentials before using it on your little one (clothes, sheets, swaddle cloth etc). It would be a good idea to invest in a mild baby laundry detergent to wash these items.
Sleeping pattern of your new born-
New born babies sleep for around 18-22 hours a day. Since the environment for the new born babies is completely new and different, sometimes babies end up crying and will simply refuse to sleep. There will be days when the baby sleeps a lot and certain days when the baby doesn't sleep that well. Prefer to swaddle your new born as swaddling helps them to create a womb like feeling thus enabling them to sleep peacefully. You may also notice your baby experiencing certain behaviours while sleeping such as sudden jerks, rolling the eyes upwards, sleeping with half closed eyes, smiling etc. All these are common behaviours and will gradually disappear. These are all reflexes which eventually fade away as the baby gets accustomed to the outside environment.
For the first 10 days or so, it is advised to give a warm sponge to your baby. To do so, wipe your baby using a soft and clean muslin cloth damped in warm water. Once this is done, wipe your baby clean with a dry muslin cloth. This routine is to be done till the time the baby's cord doesn't fall off and the naval area isn't completely dry. Once the naval area is completely dry, you can start bathing your baby. It takes around 10-15 days for this to dry and for cord to drop off. Typically, in Indian culture, babies are given a massage using oil. For our climate, it is best to use plain scent free coconut oil (pure virgin coconut oil), for massaging the baby. The purpose of the massage is to improve the blood circulation and helps to strengthen the bones and joints. Massage is followed by a warm water shower. Please use a baby soap that is suitable for your baby's skin type for bathing. To select a baby soap, do a patch test first and then apply it on the entire body. Ensure that the oil is completely removed from the baby's body or else the baby might feel uneasy. Wipe the baby clean with a cotton towel and then swaddle the baby so that the baby sleeps well.
Baby Feeding Habits-
New born should be exclusively breast-fed for the first 6 months. The frequency of breastfeeding in the first one month can vary anywhere between 60 minutes to 3 hours depending on your baby. In some cases, babies can also be given formula feed. However the brand of the formula and the quantity should be given to the baby only after consulting with your paediatrician. Please do not give any other food item to your baby other than these two - breastmilk or formula. Not even water for the first six months. Please ensure that after each feed your baby takes the burp. It is important that the burp is taken or else it might lead to formation of gas in babies. As a new parent, I have personally struggled a lot with this as my baby used to take around 20-30 mins to burp and by that time he was either already awake or it was the time for the next feed. This is very tiring in the initial weeks. One of the ways to tackle this is to keep the baby's head in a slightly elevated position till the milk settles down post the feed. You can also try placing the baby on his/her bed and lift the baby in the upright position when the baby expresses discomfort. Although this disturbs the baby's sleep and hence shouldn't be your preferred choice.
Is my baby feeling warm or cold-
The baby's body temperature is exactly what the mother feels. Hence, make sure that you do not over dress or under-dress the baby. This will only make the baby cranky. If the baby is feeling cold, the hands and feet will mostly appear to be cold. Do check the temperature of the baby at the back of the neck. This will give you accurate results for the baby's body temperature.
How do I keep my baby engaged while the baby is awake?
For the first 1-1.5 months, you don't need a toy since your baby's vision and hearing is still getting developed. The best way to engage with them is to smile and to talk to them. Around 2 months, you can look at offering your baby different kinds of age appropriate toys.
Initial weeks and months can be tiring as the baby is getting used to the outside environment. It is common that most babies stay awake all night. For new parents, this is the most difficult and drastic change to cope up with.
Following are some tips that can help you to tackle this-
- Mentally and physically prepare yourself to stay awake at night
- Sleep when your baby sleeps. Typically your baby will sleep for long hours post the massage and bath. Try and schedule your routine in such a way that you can also sleep during that time. Trust me even 3-4 hours of sleep during the day is good enough for a new mom to stay awake all night with the baby.
- Physically to gain strength it is a good idea to get yourself a massage at-least for the first one month.
- Seek some help or arrange some support system so that you are not loaded with the household chores.
- Usually, post pregnancy depression kicks in due to sleepless nights. Try and find some me time, meet your close friends and relatives for leisure and relaxation.
Mostly by around 2 months, babies will start sleeping at night and will start following some sort of bed routine. My little one had started following a routine since he was 1.5 months. Around that time, babies will typically wake up only for feeds at an interval of 3-4 hours at night.
Another, very important pointer for the new mums is that in the first month your baby may not recognise you, instead the baby will be more comfortable with the grandparents/elders. This is mainly because the grandparents/elders are more experienced in handling the baby than you. You will get this gloomy feeling of just being a milking cow for the baby. Hang in there, this will definitely get better by 2 months. The baby will start recognising you and the feeling then trust me is absolutely surreal.
Despite knowing all of this, there will still be times when the new parents will be totally clueless and helpless, my suggestion to you will be to find a good paediatrician nearby and reach out to your doctor in case of any doubt or if your baby is crying excessively or continuously. Please do not hesitate to ask even the silliest of your doubt to your doctor.
While you will wait eagerly for the fourth trimester to get over at the earliest, this will also be the most special trimester as this also marks the beginning of your parenthood and you will cherish this for your lifetime. Wish you happy parenting and would love to hear your parenting experience soon.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store
Payoni is an HR professional with ACG Worldwide. She is fond of painting and is an avid reader. Connect with her on facebook, instagram at payo.insta and on Linkedin.