A rollercoaster journey
I can finally now say that I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt – I’ve survived the fourth trimester.
The fourth trimester; what a rollercoaster ride. It’s a turbulent time full of worry, tears, expectation but also plenty of smiles and A LOT of poo! It really is a mixture of emotions. Looking back, I don’t think I can pinpoint a time that I would say was the hardest. I will say though that for me, it was the lack of being able to do my own thing – my loss of freedom. Oh and not getting any sleep, but that’s still ongoing. Let me know in the comments what your main struggle was (or is) – I’m sure we can all help each other out.
Before I launch into the tips, I will say that the Instagram community helped me a lot during the fourth trimester. Thank you if you’re someone who messaged me with advice. It was well received. And thank you for the chats – they helped too. At the bottom of the post you’ll find tips and tricks from those lovely Mama’s of instagram. You’re welcome!
How to survive the fourth trimester
Ignore sleep and feeding schedules
I’m starting off with perhaps a controversial tip: Sleep schedules never helped us; couldn’t get on with them. I think it maybe depends on the type of person you are. I like a bit of routine but I don’t like to be helmed in with a strict schedule. I also breast fed on demand (and still do) so feeding schedules were out the window straight away.
I remember sitting down, reading the Holly Willoughby Happy Baby book and actually feeling VERY stressed. I couldn’t get our little one to fit that schedule and I soon realised it was stupid – of course I couldn’t. How could I expect a person to suit a probably made-up schedule, perhaps based on Holly’s baby? Do you sleep at the same time every night? I thought not (unless you like routine) – more often than not, you might go to bed at the same time but maybe you have to force yourself to sleep. Babies don’t know how to do that yet unfortunately!
To conclude – sleep schedules are maybe better for older children or toddlers?
Join a few baby groups
At the beginning I was trying out a lot of different groups. In the end it was only one that I stuck to regularly (a singing languages group called Babel Babies). However, that contact with other Mothers in those first months, really helped. It really helps to get out too – you have probably heard that before!
Try not to compare your baby
Babies all develop at their own rates. It’s really not worth comparing them to any other baby; you’ll only work yourself up. Just look at your baby and enjoy them as they are – all those firsts will come.
Accept as much help as you can
At first I found it really hard to accept help. I’m pretty independent and really wanted to show I could do it all. I remember going upstairs for a nap and leaving Joseph downstairs with my parents – I felt so sad – I didn’t want to miss out. I soon learnt to realise that I won’t miss out; he’ll still be there when I wake up. I 100% deserved a rest! And thus I learnt to enjoy those sacred nap times.
Friends, family, your neighbour – ACCEPT the help. You’ll find your day will be much easier; you’ll be a lot less stressed and you’ll feel good from it. Don’t EVER feel guilty for anything. Enjoy that time out. You’re doing the best you can at the time, always.
Be kind to yourself
This one sort of ties in with the above. Remember that you can’t do everything. Don’t force things upon yourself just because you feel you have to accept. You’ll only end up feeling overwhelmed (trust me, I’m someone who used to feel this way all the time). Do what YOU want to do and don’t beat yourself up for not being able to do something. Leave the dishes for the next day…(I do this often, haha).
Enjoy a bit of online shopping
Looking after a baby gives you THE perfect excuse to do your shopping online. Make life easy for yourself. I know that my little didn’t really like supermarkets so we started doing ours online. We still do! Oh and of course, a 3am browse of Zara is good too… for the soul… shhh.
Don’t worry about getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight
I remember it was about 6 weeks after having Joseph that I finally stopped wearing my pregnancy leggings and put them away. At 4 weeks postpartum I tried on my pre-pregnancy jeans and they didn’t fit. It was my Birthday and I had nothing to wear. I felt quite down about it actually (although an excuse to go shopping was nice) It took a long time for those jeans to fit, and it was only recently that a couple of other items started fitting (albeit still a bit snug). We all go back at our own rate, so don’t stress. As long as you’re eating as healthily as is normal for you, then you’re doing ok – concentrate on Mothering – it’s more important.
I made sure early on that having a bounty of snacks in the cupboard was crucial to surviving. I always made sure I had my lunch, one way or another, however I’m a big snacker. I get hungry often, so being able to run to the cupboard and grab something, made my day easier. There’s nothing worse when having a bad day with bubba and there are no snacks in the house!
And most importantly…
Nap when baby naps
So many people told me this before I gave birth. I was like, “what, so I won’t be able to do all my normal things?” I was so naive. I really thought I wouldn’t be that tired. Oh boy, how wrong was I. I soon learnt quickly to nap when little one napped and it made the day so much easier. I just held on to the thought that it will get easier – and it did. Look at me now – I’m blogging! I wasn’t able to in the early days but now I can. So trust me, you will be able to do the things you want to do soon. All in good time. For now, just rest.
Insta Mama tips!
“Say no to visitors unless they will cook, clean or do the washing.” and “Your opinion on how to be a Mum is the only one that matters.”
Lucy from @sacralheartyoga
“Trust your own instinct and ignore unwanted opinions”
Emily from @emnicholson90
What are your tips and tricks for surviving the fourth trimester?