I learned quickly what the fourth trimester was about and how much energy it took from me.
The fourth trimester is the time from when your baby is born until they are three months. When I first heard about it, I thought it was weird because I was no longer pregnant but I get it now. Those three months were a time where Cannon was getting used to the world. Wild, right? Pregnancy might be over but more work has shown up.
But, I made it. Cannon is eight months and I made it. Solo parenting for those three months while Chase was playing football. I can’t believe I did it and handled it alone.
To be honest, it’s not that bad. Besides the postpartum healing and sleep deprivation, you get to stare at a cute face all day. That’s the best part.
But, your little one is adjusting just like you so it’s a lot to keep up with. This world is completely new to what they were used to. There are lights and they aren’t constantly moving plus they have to wear diapers and clothes now.
I’ll be upfront with you — it’s hard and easy. There were so many moments where I just wanted Cannon to sleep especially when he woke up every two hours. And there were other days where I would just leak through multiple shirts because I wasn’t used to breastfeeding. By the way, breastfeeding was okay for me but it can be a challenge for others.
It’s a transition that I had to get used to because breastfeeding meant my body wasn’t just mine anymore. The first few days/weeks were tough with an engorged chest. Thankfully, I never got mastitis because I don’t know how I would handle that.
Anyways, let me share the must-haves that got me through postpartum — from things that I knew about to things I read about in my mommy groups to my parents being very helpful.
You can find my complete list here.
Peri Bottle/FridaBaby Mom Washer
A lot is going on with your body and some of it is gross. My peri bottle was my best friend for the first two months. I wish I had the FridaBaby Mom Washer, though. It would have saved me a lot of time and been much easier to utilize.
Like I said before, a lot is going on with your body and these are a lifesaver. There is a lot of pain that you’re going to have to get through and I found that these were very helpful. I was lucky enough to have my nurse pack a trash bag full of everything I needed and I’m forever grateful to her. I’ll probably send her a gift basket when the holidays roll around.
You can’t take a bath yet but you can soak your lady bits for a few minutes. I would suggest doing this if you are in excruciating pain and have the time to do it. Now I love hot baths but when I’m in pain, I avoid them. This was probably the only time I took a quick bird bath as Chase likes to say. It was the quickest dip but it helped me relax and made me feel better at that moment.
Not going to lie, it took me a month before realizing that I could do so much more with a baby wrap or carry. I was gifted the ErgoBaby wrap in a giveaway and my mom bought me the Baby K’tan so I have some options. The ErgoBaby wrap was so easy to use and I knew Cannon was good when I had him in there. It seems difficult at first but once you get him tied in there, you’re good. I was hands-free and able to do things like laundry and picking up rooms.
If there’s one thing I wish I had loaded up on, it’s nursing accessories. I’m talking nursing pads and the gadgets that helped with overfilling boobs. My mom (a savior) bought me nursing pads and saved a lot of my shirts after I leaked here and there. I appreciate it because I hated waking up wet so I finally started going to bed with them on. Also, warm compressions are helpful and massaging your chest for the overflow of milk.
The one thing I did not do was meal prep. We got lazy and Cannon came two days early so I just wasn’t in a good planning mode. I don’t know why we thought we could cook and do this and that when we were sleep-deprived. My mom saved the day again and baked pans of lasagna, stuffed shells, taco meat, etc. Be better than me and overprepare. Make freezer meals because I slacked and only froze some stuffed peppers which are hard to eat when you have a crying baby (it’s hard to eat, in general).
My savior! This stuff was the best thing ever. I am forever grateful to my nurse for stocking me up with multiple bottles because I used this whenever I had to. And, I need to be numb because the pain was awful. I have a high pain tolerance but afterbirth pain is something else. The numbing spray was a blessing and helped with sitting and laying down.
I’m talking big pads like hospital-grade ones. Those are going to be the pads that get you through it all and save your pants. I feel like my nurse gave me so many that I didn’t have to buy any but I did buy regular pads which will come in handy one day. It feels like a giant diaper but it kept all the necessities inside like the tucks and whatnot. I never understood those after labor pictures until I was that person. This might not all make sense if you’re on baby number one but you’ll be that lady in those viral pictures.
They look funny and Chase calls them diapers but they were so helpful. I stocked up on what I could from the hospital but this was the one thing they didn’t overpack for me. If you find them, order them as you don’t know how long you’ll be in pain and need to diaper yourself. I wish I had more of these when I got home and couldn’t find them nor had the energy to find them.
Oh yes, buy all the nursing tops! If I could go back, I would have loaded up on these whenever Target had a sale on their line. I only have maybe four nursing tops so that’s my biggest regret. These would have been amazing to have when I was pulling up big t-shirt in the middle of the night. Get yourself some nursing tops whether they’re shirts or tank tops, do right by your boobs!
The fourth trimester is going to be a challenging time. You will be filled with so much love and missing out on sleep. That little face is amazing to look at and you’re going to feel all of these emotions.
Just know that everything you feel and do is valid. Your body is adjusting back to normal but there are new things going on, too.
You will all get through it! Just keep pushing and communicate. Ask for all the help that you can get and love on your baby and yourself.
You just did nine months of body sharing — embrace the change and enjoy doing things for one again.
What are your fourth-trimester tips or must-haves?
Stellar Wellness Niomi says
Great article thank you. I am about to have a baby so these are useful reminders.
This was very, very helpful. My youngest is 11, but I’m due with my third in August so it’s almost like starting all over again with having to remember stuff. As you mentioned, I also regret not having multiple nursing bras and shirts. This time around, I’ll have at least a week’s worth.