Every parent knows that welcoming a baby changes everything. What's less commonly advertised is how to cope when it all feels overwhelming. Don't worry: Babyology has your back, with fourth trimester-specific tips for new parents juggling it all.
Plan for a Priority Shift
If a return to work is on your postpartum agenda, pre-planning will be crucial. While work may be a significant priority, the truth is that during the fourth trimester period, you may not be feeling quite yourself. Think ahead to work preparations to make time for you, your baby, and your professional responsibilities.
Shift some tasks to a virtual assistant while you adjust, prioritizing important projects and handing off lower priority items. Set expectations for your customer base; let clients know that you'll be less available, but outline how their projects will continue progressing. When you're ready to dive back in, do so on the timeline that works for you.
Be Kind to Your (New) Body
Pregnancy and birth change a lot of things, but physical changes are often the most noticeable. Breast changes, a heavy postpartum flow, and overall soreness are all common.
Hormones and lactation can cause tenderness and might have you scaling up your bra size. A supportive nursing bra will be the go-to item in your new parent arsenal, especially if you have a larger bust. While you're shopping online for diapers and wipes, add a comfy postpartum bra to your cart. You'll skip trips to the store without sacrificing comfort (and nursing ease).
Other handy must-haves for new moms include reusable postpartum underwear and a healthy supply of witch hazel. As Healthline explains, you can DIY "padsicles" with witch hazel and other soothing ingredients for postpartum comfort and healing.
Know What's Normal (for Baby)
For first-time parents, everything feels new and scary. But there's a difference between what's normal versus worrisome. Being able to recognize what's expected can help you feel less panicky when it actually happens.
For example, newborns sleep a lot, but they're not likely to sleep through the night until about three months old, per the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The main reason for this is that newborns need to eat frequently, but even the age-old advice to feed every three hours isn't entirely sound.
For example, cluster feeding (nursing super frequently) is common in infants, especially at specific ages when little ones are growing rapidly. It might be exhausting to nurse your baby every 30 minutes in the evenings, but it's also completely normal.
Know What's Normal (for Mom)
Just like babies exhibit a range of behaviours that are all normal, so do new moms. Though postpartum depression is unfortunately common, a range of feelings and emotions make up the spectrum that is motherhood.
Mayo Clinic confirms that most moms experience "baby blues," a mild period of hormonal adjustment that can include sadness, irritability, and feeling overwhelmed. But more intense, longer-lasting symptoms can indicate depression. Yet many mothers don't experience "blues" at all. It's also normal for new moms to feel happy or more neutral, albeit very tired and sore.
Like every other aspect of motherhood, postpartum is different for everyone. Avoid comparing yourself to other moms, and focus on recovery — and your new baby.
Life changes after having a baby, but that doesn't mean the new normal can't be amazing. Getting through the fourth trimester might require scaling back on work and embracing downtime with your snuggly newborn. But a shorter to-do list means more time to bond with your little one. Before you know it, they won't be a newborn anymore, and life will shift in even more exciting ways.
Guest Author: EMILY GRAHAM