How To Survive The 4th Trimester
The first 3 months after you have your baby, your little one is adjusting to life outside of the womb, you and your partner are adjusting to taking care of a newborn around the clock, and you are adjusting physically because you’re no longer pregnant. It can be a lot to take in, and it might seem overwhelming at times. Here’s some advice to leave you feeling more prepared and comfortable.
Breathe and Take Care of Yourself
First things first, you cannot take care of anyone else until you take care of yourself. Now more than ever, it's going to be important that you are drinking water, eating healthy, getting in a shower (it might be your only time alone), and doing regular check-ins with yourself and your mental state. You can start by setting up a small station near where you will primarily be in your home with the essentials: water, kleenex, baby wipes, diapers, snacks, medication, a charger, and anything else you may need.
Keep Your Mental Health In Check
It will be difficult to find a balance between caring for your baby and caring for yourself, and the adjustment can be hard to manage for some. If you struggle with mental health issues, or are concerned that the transition will be especially difficult for you, I would suggest seeking a licensed therapist or psychiatrist to become established with before you have the baby so that you already have that support in place in case you need it.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are extremely common. Your hormones are plummeting from no longer being pregnant, you are healing from labor and delivery, and you’re also required to care for your baby around the clock. It’s completely normal to experience mood swings, baby blues, or postpartum depression or anxiety. If you or a loved one is experiencing postpartum depression, reach out to your OB-GYN and they will be more than happy to connect you to helpful resources.
Frozen Meals and Paper Plates
Let’s be honest, cooking meals takes a lot of work, and dirty dishes are the worst. The next thing you can do to prepare is to stock up on frozen meals and meal prep as much as you can. I also suggest getting disposable plates, cups, and cutlery so that you don’t have to wash as many dishes when the baby arrives. Another good reason for this is that your sink will be filling up with baby bottles, too, and it will be much simpler for you if bottles are all that you have to wash.
It Takes a Village
Lastly, having a support system in place is really important. It can be your partner, grandparents, friends, in-laws, or even professionals. There are also programs and services such as lactation consultants, federal assistance programs, and others local to you that you may be able to take advantage of. Ask your paediatrician to help you locate these resources.
Once your little bundle of joy arrives, do your best to just relax. Trust your instincts, and give yourself grace. You and your new arrival will get the hang of things after a while, don’t worry. Take it one day at a time, and don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.