There is much more to pregnancy than carrying your baby in the womb for a few months. Pregnancy also involves the adjustment period immediately after your child is born and that is called the Fourth Trimester. You may feel pressure to get post- pregnancy snatched, you're hormones are rebalancing, you're getting used to a new schedule and a new title and so much more all while trying to keep another being alive.
Baby is discovering new body functions like sucking, maintaining body temperature, painful gas, etc. Keep in mind that this tiny being was removed from a comforting environment and brought into a world of bright lights, loud noises and a whole bunch of expressive eyes (because you know, Covid is still a thing).
Needless to say it's hard learning how to live when you've never done it before, AND you don't have an instruction manual full of googoos and gagas. This may be your first time being a mother, but this is definitely your child's first time being a baby outside the womb. Both are huge transitions. Both can be hard.
As a first time mom one thing that I kept in mind is that the only thing that will stay the same is change. Knowing that, I try to embrace every moment with my newborn, and I am learning to become more in tune with my emotions, my body and baby's cues, and the below tricks helped baby and I transition even more through the Fourth Trimester...
There will be moments when baby will just cry. This may be because of discomfort, hunger, or no reason at all and that is okay. Remind your sweet one of the sounds of the room with vocalizing a soft,"Shhhh". You can even play some white noise sounds accompanied by gentle swaying or swinging. This may remind baby of the swishing and floating sensation felt when curled up in the amniotic fluid in your tummy.
Baby's, like mine, may not always like to be swaddled. Always listen to baby first and if baby doesn't like to be swaddled then don't force it. Find what works for your child.
But, for those babies that do like to be swaddled, I highly recommend, as this too can remind sweet baby of the tight knit warm quarters of your womb. You are recreating the idea of safety and comfort. You can also pair this swaddle with light swaying or swinging in your arms.
The Fourth Trimester can be difficult, but bonding with your baby can be the most fulfilling experience and makes it all worth it. Skin- to skin is a great way for you and baby to connect. And I recommend any parent to partake in this practice.
While sitting or standing expose both you and baby's chest. You will hold baby on your chest and just be with one another. This practice will sooth baby, regulate baby's body temperature, support your milk supply (if breastfeeding), assists with healing and stress relief along with a wide range of other benefits.
Baby loves you without even trying so if you're becoming increasingly overwhelmed just remind yourself that as long as baby and you are alive you are doing a great job.
There are so many pressures in life on top of being a mother so take time to breath and relax. It's okay if you feel like you didn't have your immediate "ah ha" moment when baby was born, especially if your birth experience wasn't what you planned.
It's also okay to feel like you don't know what you're doing. Everyone's experience differs and every baby has their own unique personality. You're baby is on its own track so treat each moment without comparison to other babies or other parents.
Finally as you journey through the Fourth Trimester don't put a timeline on your healing and growth. You have the right to feel whatever you need to feel. You may also not feel "normal" and therefore are desperately trying to "get back to normal". But, ask yourself what that really means and redefine what you want your "normal" to be.
Why make yourself feel bad for feeling different than before? Define who you want to be to yourself and to your family in this moment. And recognize if and when you should talk to someone.
Give yourself grace every waking moment. In times that are the hardest, hold baby tight and know that you are loved. You're doing a great job!