When you meet your baby for the first time, it’s blissful.
There are smiles, tears - a joyful waterworks of sorts - sweet skin to skin time, midwives meeting your every whim... Then it’s time to go home from the hospital. And while you’re on high every time you look at that angelic little face, things get crazy fast.
They don’t call it the “fourth trimester” for nothing. Your baby is completely and utterly helpless, which means they rely on you for EVERYTHING. When your baby isn’t sucking on your breast, he (or she) is eyeing it like it’s a musical, kaleidoscopic, candy-laden pacifier.
You don’t really know what day it is because you haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. You’re really not even sure what month it is… or what your name is.
To put it mildly, being a new mama isn’t easy.
But it’s ALL entirely worth it.
Since those cute little coos make your heart melt every time. And here’s the ultimate saving grace, super-tired new mama: despite the ever-increasing demands of new mamahood, it can be actually be a real good time. That is, if you play it right. We’ve talked all about how to make the fourth trimester superb for your baby, but it’s your turn. Here are 6 ways to make the fourth trimester a marvelous time for YOU.
1) Recruit Friends and FamTaking care of a newborn baby isn’t easy. Don’t hesitate to send out an SOS if you need to. Really, get help. As much as possible. You know the old proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Once your little bundle pops out, this really hits home. There is absolutely no shame in getting an extra hand... or five. Having someone step in will make you a much more peaceful and centered mama. And your baby will thank you… some day.
2) Lounge A LOT
The “fourth trimester” isn’t a good time for things like scrapbooking or spring cleaning. Take as many to-dos off your list as possible. Don’t do laundry more than ONCE a day. And if you can swing limiting it to two to three times a week, even better.
We’re used to always doing something. But now is the time to lounge around with your baby, and just be. Hold your little angel’s hand, listen to their adorable sounds, snuggle up, and give them lots of smooches... while you can. This moment, much like many in life, is fleeting. Savor it.
3) Have FUN!Our children remind us of the children within us. Don't forget to be playful and in the now. Babies love silliness. And laughter is contagious. So, bust out some funny voices, ridiculous hats, crazy dance moves… whatever you got.
4) Pencil in YOU Time
During the first three months after your baby arrives your daily activity list goes from something like "morning yoga session, a little shopping, going out to dinner" to "pumping, feeding, pumping."
Finding balance in your life ain’t easy, but taking time for yourself is an absolute must. If no one is helping you, ask your hubby to take the baby for an hour before work and an hour after so you can have some "alone time." Not only will you be a less frazzled new mama, it will make your recovery much faster.
And once your baby’s on a schedule, booking some time for yourself so you can do a yoga class or take a walk will be even easier.
Taking time for yourself can even be as simple as doing a guided meditation on your favorite app or doodling on a piece of paper while your baby is sleeping.
And whatever you do, do NOT disconnect with your close friends.
Sure, your baby is the most important thing in your life right now. But friends are essential for your soul. And after a long day, bubble baths aren’t just for babies. Mamas need them, too.
5) Do What’s Right For You
Sure you’ve noticed there’s a lot of pressure on new moms.
Stopping breastfeeding before the recommended six months is a major faux pas! And co-sleeping is certainly frowned upon - think super-stern eyebrows.
But regardless of what everyone tells you, you have to do what feels right for you and your baby.
If your baby is on a schedule and getting the correct amount of sleep, and co-sleeping is the only way to get your baby to go down for some zs, do it.
If your nipples are in endless pain and you’re on your second bout of mastitis, start pumping. More than anything, babies need sane mamas.
And you have to consider that things like sleeping advice changes roughly every five years - sometimes sooner.
Let your motherly instincts be your guide. They’re there for a reason.
6) Take the Pressure Off Yourself
You will never be a perfect mama. They just don’t exist. So take the pressure off yourself. If you forget something crucial in the diaper bag, tell yourself if happens… because it does - to EVERY mom.
And give yourself props if you do remember to put everything your baby needs in the diaper bag on your next outing together…. Air high fives in the mirror are always good. Most of all, relax.
The best moms are happy moms. So cuddle up with your tiny, precious bundle… and smile. Real big.
This is what bliss is. Truly. A
nd when you have a marvelous fourth trimester moment, be sure to take a pic and share it with us and our community of new mamas on Instagram using the hashtag #newmamamoment. Can’t wait to share your joy!