The fourth trimester starts from the moment your baby is born and covers those first three months.
You’ll continue to experience many changes, both physically and emotionally. You’ll be learning to deal with the demands of being a new mum and, if you have older children, there may be wider adjustments as a family unit.
This time can be challenging, but keeping things slow and simple can help and you’ll need to remember caring for yourself is as important as caring for your newborn.
Ensure that you allow your body to recover by getting plenty rest and the right nutrients. We know it’s sometimes easier said than done, but accepting help from your partner, family and friends throughout the fourth trimester will be important for both your physical and emotional health.
Time out means different things to different people but it’s important that parents who are primary carers have a break from their role at times. We speak to many parents who experience barriers to this. Sometimes the barrier is a time constraint, sometimes it is driven by a parent feeling guilty or feeling like they shouldn’t need time out from their family.
Some families find the best way to create time out is to structure it by setting a time or activity each week for the primary carer. The additional benefit is that the other parent or carer gets one-on-one time with the baby, which can also help with their bonding and confidence.
Finding space for self-compassion can be hard for parents who are irritable, tired and under pressure. We hear this from parents who have set high standards for themselves and carry that attitude into parenthood.
When we practise self-compassion, we allow these feelings and reactions to be expressed and create room for acceptance of them without harsh judgement or criticism. In essence, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we would offer a good friend if they were struggling.