The fourth trimester is 0-3 months, they say. It was really closer to four months for us. It’s the time when your baby is adjusting to being in this world and can be pretty pissed off about it, to put it simply.
I kind of hate blogs about what you NEED for your baby because your baby is different than mine, so please read this with a grain of salt. You’ll know, once you know your baby, if these things would work. #1 and #5 are good for everybody, though.
1. The Longest Shortest Time Podcast: This podcast really helped me feel less alone in the suckitude of the 4th trimester. It’s a This American Life for newborn parents. The stories are funny, poignant, and honest. I can’t recommend it enough.
2. Rock-n-Play: Once again, I kind of hate when people recommend equipment for your baby like it’s going to solve all your problems, because it’s not and every baby is different. BUT, so many people recommended the rock-n-play, and it changed the game in terms of sleep for us. Mae was waking up every two hours. I went out and groggily bought this at Wal-Mart out of desperation and she started sleeping three to four hour stretches immediately. Jimmy wants to bronze it.
3. MamaRoo: This is the only swing/seat/chair that Mae would accept. It was either a human’s arms or the MamaRoo. If it wasn’t for the MamaRoo, I wouldn’t have been able to pump and breastfeed, so I am more than thankful for it.
4. Ring Slings! And really whatever baby carrier your baby likes. Mae didn’t really care for any carriers after about eight weeks, and then I found the ring sling. It’s so easy to use, not complicated like the Moby. Oh the looks I got in grocery parking lots while trying to put Mae in the Moby! A ring sling is quick, easy, and keeps her happy. I can actually grocery shop with her now.
5. A Mommy Network: You need an in-person and online community. I think you need both. In-person because you can’t replace that kind of contact. Online because it’s freakin’ hard to get out of the house those first few months, and you need some support from home. I’m so thankful for the Facebook groups I have access to, my support group, and new mama friends I’ve made. I also made many tearful phone calls to my sister and mom. You need support, and not just for the first few weeks.
6. E-Reader: My Kindle was essential during those first months. I would read a good, trashy novel during our looooong and late-night breastfeeding sessions. You can’t hold a book and a baby that easily, but you can do an e-reader.
7. Netflix: We never let Mae face the screen (ok, almost never), but the truth is you’re going to do a lot of staying at home and you need some entertainment. If you don’t have Netflix, you are really missing it and you need it.