Fourth trimester - Understanding your newborn.
Finally, the moment you've all been waiting for - your baby is here! You both will still be overwhelmed by your new arrival and getting used to parenthood can feel strange, you have that extra little person to look after.
So we thought we would share some tips and hints to help you deal with the fourth trimester.
1. Understanding your newborn
Before you do anything, remember this: your baby has never been touched before, never seen clear light, heard clear sounds or been on dry land. Everything is a mystery apart from a few things. You and your partner's voices and your smell. From birth, your baby will choose your smell over anyone else's and even respond to your voice.
Settling into your new parent roll can be difficult especially when you feel like you haven't slept properly for a while, every baby is different, some will be wanting to be fed every 2 hours whilst some are every 4.
Try to get your little one into a routine from early on and this should make things easier and you may find that baby becomes more settled.
If you are really struggling in the sleep department with your newborn, know that sleep will start to settle during the 3-6 month mark. During this time, your baby will start to enter deep sleep quicker and stay in deep sleep longer.
I know you may think there is plenty of things to be done whilst your little one takes naps but sometimes you will need to sleep whilst they do... tiredness can be the worse so sleep when you can, the chores can wait.
3. Brain development
The most rapid period of brain development is in the first 3 years of their life. Your baby's brain is like a sponge absorbing everything. Your baby will begin to watch you and their surroundings and learn shapes and faces very quickly.
Have baths with your newborn, babies love water. They've been in it for 9 months! Try skin to skin, there is nothing more relaxing for your baby than the sound of your heartbeat whilst immersed in water. It gives you a chance to relax too whilst bonding with your little one.
5. Your face
By just 3 weeks old, your little one can already recognise your face.
6. Babies skin
Newborns skin is very delicate, try to not introduce your little one's bodies to any chemicals (shampoos, soap, washing detergent etc.) for at least the first 4 weeks as this is how long it takes them to build up natural enzymes and skin barriers.
7. Skin to skin
This is most important at birth for both mum and dad as this is the best way for bonding with your little one, it is also important for the weeks after birth as it can help your baby settle into the fourth trimester.
When your baby is 8 weeks old you will have a mother and baby check as well as your little one having their first lot of vaccines.
To see what vaccines your little one will receive click here.
9. You are the first and best teacher
Being a parent is exhausting but can be extremely rewarding. It's your chance to put your child on that trajectory for life. Have confidence in yourself and your choices, you are doing and will continue to do an amazing job. You are so important to them and that's all they care about, the comfort and the love from you is what makes a newborn thrive into a healthy person.
10. Mum's body
Don't be alarmed by the amount of blood that you are loosing and how long it does on for. Some women do bleed for up to 2 weeks after birth and may seem quite heavy... This is normal!
Pelvic floor exercises are very important, try get into a routine of doing your exercises whilst feeding. Mix it up, do holds and pulses re-strengthen the muscles which will prevent bladder weakness now and later in life.