Okay, so today I am going to get down to the one stage of “pregnancy” very few people talk about. The Fourth Trimester. Okay, so you’ve not really heard about it?
I hadn’t either, and I have a almost three year old as well as my 7 month old. So this was all news to me.
As the first time mum, I very much remembered feeling like i’d been chucked in at the deep end. For pregnancy you have all the books to read, all the leaflets that the midwife hands to you. There are some books out there that are meant to help prepare you for parenthood, but in reality, who really has time to read the whole book?
I suffered during both my pregnancies, I mean people were actually surprised when I told them last year I was once more pregnant. First trimester, I don’t really remember anything different other then missing my period, peeing on the stick, realising that was it for well over 9 months for wine, prawns and soft cheeses.
The first trimester is that time where you are both excited and terrified for the first time. If you are a first time mummy, you don’t tend to think too much about after your little bundle of joy has arrived. Or you don’t tend to think past what you’ll need for the nursery, clothes and accessories; there is SO much available now a days. I think it’s safe to say for most woman however, in that first trimester you are so excited about meeting the new little person you’ve just started to cook. Getting to know them, cuddle them and learn with them. I personally spent an equal amount of time terrified, especially the second time around, worried what this new person coming into the family would change when it comes to family dynamics. What stresses it would put on my relationship with my husband, would the baby want me or him? Would my husband feel left out while I spend time nursing our child?
In fairness to Craig he was good both times with night feeds, even when breast feeding our second, he still got up with us and fetched me drinks, snacks, the tv remote to watch Netflixs! The adjustment of going to one, and then two were completely different too. Getting used to our eldest was so hard, things you seriously do just take for granted suddenly weren’t as easy to do. No more could we just decide to go out for a drink after work of a evening, we needed to keep to a routine of milk, bath, teeth, story and bed. No more can you just jump in the car and drive into town, or go shopping. It’s like packing for a family week away on holiday sometimes just to spend the day out with family. Gone are the days of having a relaxing bath, by yourself, no interruptions (though I am told this does come back later.) But, having got used to this with Hayden, the adjustment to having Hugo too was so small. It was a case of packing the extra things he’d require while out. The rest we were already used to getting done.
Then you have the second trimester, this for me was one of my worst phases. The sickness, both pregnancies was relatively little until I hit 12-14 weeks. Most people will tend to experience this within the first trimester, but trust me to be different. With the second trimester I felt like I lost my identity a bit. With my growing babies, i also found my body changing, getting bigger – and my wardrobe feeling smaller. I actually ended up with a better maternity wardrobe then my every day things. (I need to sort my priorities out on that.) Within the second trimester you are likely to see your babies presence become more known. From the first flutters of movement to (if you choose to of course) finding out if your little bundle is pink or blue – if they co-operate.
The third trimester, this is the exciting and terrifying one, because you know you are close to meeting your little one. Do you have everything ready for them and you when they arrive? Buggies, car seats – do you know how to fit them properly?! This actually made me chuckle the most, simply because Craig couldn’t get his head around fitting ours, so we quickly sorted out the ISOfix! Getting the nursery ready, choosing, washing and packing away baby clothes, if you plan to bottle feed or express making sure you have all the equipment in. Blankets, muslins, for us we loved a comforter Hayden was given as a present, and quickly paid a visit to John Lewis to grab something similar for Hugo when he arrived too.
For me, this trimester filled me with anxiety too. Having had to have an emergency C-Section with Hayden, being told I was going to have a second for the health of both me and baby, was daunting. At least the first time around there was just me and Hayden. She was this tiny baby, and I just had to focus on the two of us. This time around, not only was I expected to recover from major surgery, look after and attend to every one of Hugo’s needs, try to keep up with house work, but look after a two and a half year old too. Not fun, especially as she is the height of a four year old! The night before my section, Hayden stayed with her grandparents as we needed to be on Maternity for 8am. I tried my hardest that night to sleep, but nerves of my surgery the following day, terrified it was going to be as horrific as the first time around left me exhausted before I’d even started.
Then the day you’ve been waiting and planning for, your little bundle of joy has arrived and this is where you hit the fourth trimester unknowing. You have to suddenly get to know your little baby. How they like things, what each cry means, get into a routine that works for all of you. There is so much that happens for you mamma’s too. You keep your pregnancy glow for a while, but before you know it you feel old and haggered while sleep deprived, the luscious hair you gained during pregnancy suddenly deserts you, I remember saying to my hairdresser I felt like I was going bald with the lumps falling out in the shower every day. You are suddenly faced with a new body you don’t recognise, and while you leave the maternity clothes behind you, I found once more my wardrobe didn’t fit me as it once had before children. I also realised that my children had a better wardrobe then I did! Though I love and cherish being able to breast feed Hugo, I am not going to lie with the fact that I was so pleased when my body was just mine again. To be able to shower without squirting milk everywhere was such a breakthrough moment for me.
I think I might have been lucky with both of mine, because they both fell into a routine very quickly. Before I knew it, I knew what each cry meant, I knew their routine. This becoming even easier when they started to sleep through the night, both around 12 weeks old. But I believe in routine.
They’d wake for a feed, they’d play for a bit. by 9am they were having nap number one. By 10am they were looking for feed number two. They’d play for a bit longer before feed number three around midday. A longer sleep in the early afternoon with feed number four at about 4pm. Another dose of play and sleep before feed number five at about 6:30pm. Then it was bath, teeth and bed. Both my babies do this now. It changes slightly as we’re weaning but the same sort of pattern is kept.
When Hugo was around 10 weeks old, I noticed he was struggling to settle down at night. His Moses basket and since his cot are clean, warm and comfortable. Due to his eczema we are having to be extra careful what products we use with him so he doesn’t become irritated and uncomfortable. So firstly, everything clothes and bedding wise, we source are cotton. Not always organic cotton, but as close to 100% cotton as possible.
My favourite products for this are Aden and Anais muslins, I’ve brought high street or surpermarket muslins before in the past and comparing them side by side there is a huge difference in quality, which far outweighs the difference in cost. Firstly, aden and anais are so soft compared to other brands, they are thicker then quite a few making them far better for mopping up and milky spills. The swaddles have seen endless use for me. Covering over while breast feeding, laying out as a play mat, swaddling to keep warm and laying over Hugo as a lightweight blanket in all this glorious weather we’ve been having recently.
My favourite design was the Winnie the Pooh, Disney Baby swaddles and muslins. I just adore the hand drawn design that they have gone with for these.
The second thing that I have used endlessly are sleeping bags with the varying different togs. Now these you can get anywhere, places like Mothercare have their own range, Aden + Anais have their own range, they are simply gorgeous and made out of the same muslin material as the rest of their range. You have the more traditional Growbags, I am also told the Mori sleeping bags are gorgeous, but haven’t tried those myself.
The next thing I made sure I had in were blankets. Now I ended up choosing three different types, firstly I had a gorgeous fleece blanket from My First Years, personalised to. The second was a gorgeous green and blue chunky knit blanket from Mothercare and the third a cellular blanket from Mama Designs. Mama designs was a firm favourite of mine right from the start of setting up Little Monster’s Boutique. I noticed the quality of them straight away, they were bright and beautiful as well as being softer then those I had found previously from places such as Babies R Us or Mothercare and any supermarket chain you wish to choose. The second thing I noticed was that they were the exact same price if not cheaper then some of the alternative blankets of their kind out there.
Now I’m not a black and white or grey scale kind of person, but for those of you that are, I couldn’t recommend more looking into Mama Designs blankets, I can guarantee that you won’t be let down, and so super soft as they are, they are one of my go to items in this lovely heat we’ve had recently.
We’ve got bath time down to an art too. This was the most challenging
Then there is teething. Just as your baby has found their routine suddenly they are plagued with teeth fighting their way through. I touched on this last time on our blog but I wanted to go into it a little more today. With Hayden I found the mix of her dummy (which Hugo wouldn’t give the time of day to) and Bonjela worked well and saw us through the tough time. Hugo is currently at 7 months and although we are in the teething process we are yet to have a tooth cut. I don’t know if that is good or not to be honest. I tried Bonjela, and I keep persevering with it, but the two things I give him access too almost constantly are his Amber Bracelet (that he wears on his ankle) and his teething toys. I’d heard so many good things about Amber Pumpkin and teething bracelets over the last two years I was excited to give them a go and see if they made a difference. I think they probably do. He doesn’t cry all that often, and although he is showing signs of teething most of the time (the red hamster cheeks and chewing on everything possible) he’s so far (touch wood) doesn’t seem to be suffering with it.
Another of my go to teething tools are the gorgeous Mama and Belle teething jewellery. I just love them. With one dummy clip, two bracelets and three necklaces in various colours I am always able to wear something that I can quickly and easily offer to Hugo to chew on instead of him chomping on my fingers or worse, my phone.
I’ll have to leave this here, I’d hoped to write right up to their first year on the journey of the fourth trimester, however having got away for about 45 minutes to write the above, I suddenly have a toddler climbing on my shoulders and my 7 month old trying to grab the cables to my laptop… so I should sign off. But I hope this has been of some help for you all.
More soon x