Baby No.3: The Fourth Trimester


Hi Guys,

Gosh, it's been a minute, hasn't it. Things are getting so busy now baby is getting older, I literally don't get a second to myself. Long gone are the days of two hour naps where I could actually get stuff done! But I really have been looking back at the first three months of Lana's life and I thought I would write a blog post on what is the fourth trimester! The first three months of baby's life really  should be treated almost like another trimester. Let me explain.

From the second the baby is born, they are really acting exactly the same way they would have been if they were still in the womb. They want constant attention, be it food, warmth, skin to skin. Think of the first three months as a transition period for your baby. They are so used to being constantly fed through their umbilical cord that similarly they constantly want to feed on you, it makes sense. The constant feeding won't last forever, you are giving your baby the most comfort and nutrition you can. You may get the odd, 'she wants milk again!?' comments from people, which with my first, really put doubt into my head as I was breastfeeding. Was I doing the right thing? Was she getting enough milk? But actually, the constant suckling is a way for them to have comfort but also stimulate your boobs to make more milk if breastfeeding. Read more about my combination feeding journey here.

Remember, babies are practically blind when they are born so smells and sounds are what they react to, keeping your baby close to you is completely what baby wants. You can't hold them too much, in my opinion. Don't be surprised if you can't put them down for more than 20 minutes. They are so used to being bundled up in your belly, being close to you is all they want. Wrapping baba in a sling* was a God send for the first few months as she was literally happy as long as she was close to me and I could still get things done. I guess it mimicked her being wrapped up in the womb with me still moving about, this made her sleep soundly. Having this mindset of treating the baby like she was still in my belly really helped me to cope. This stage really doesn't last forever so I wanted to make the most of holding her close.

When people talk about babies, I feel as though the focus tends to be on the pregnancy and labour, no one really talks about the recovery after. For me this part is just as up and down as the pregnancy, if not actually harder! Not to scare anyone, but I want my account to be as completely honest as possible otherwise what's the point. After being moved to the ward, I remember hearing the woman in the opposite bed the following morning saying she didn't need the paracetamol to the midwife and me just thinking can I have her dose too! LOL. Labour effects people in different ways, I had a second degree tear so my recovery was never going to be the easiest. Read about my birth story here. For a few hours after, the adrenaline is still pumping so the pain, swelling, aching doesn't really set in. But when it hits, it hits hard, my body just felt heavy, the heaviest, lifting every muscle was such a chore. Just waddling to the toilet with your maternity pads shoved between your legs is enough to make you want to cry but you have just used every single muscle in your body to get this baby out, so its understandable. The tear actually ended up being the least of my worries, by day 3/4 I could barely feel it and it healed well. However, my stomach muscles and my groin were a totally different matter.

When I had my first two angels I was a lot younger and I guess I 'bounced back' however this time it has almost been the complete opposite. I remember the week after having Lana having a conversation with the midwife saying my muscles in my stomach and groin are really aching. I couldn't really walk for more than 2/3 minutes without pain. At which point, she looked at me and said that's normal, it's only been a week! It felt more like 4 weeks, as night and day had merged into one. But I thought to myself, maybe it is normal, maybe I was just lucky with my other two. But as the weeks went on, so did the pain, I was back and forth to the doctor and at times on antibiotics as the doctor thought the pain could be a urine infection which it turned out not to be. I was determined to get back up and running, going for walks and getting back to normal but I would say it took until at least four months before I felt no pain at all. It's crazy to say that out loud but for the first four months of Lana's life I was in pain everyday, which I was managing with paracetamol and Ibuprofen.

I was so worried that it would never get better. But it did. I think I was just being too hard on myself. I did too much, too quickly. When I should have been sitting and doing nothing, I was too busy worrying about physically getting myself back to normal, I should have listened to my body. Having two other kids meant I couldn't just sit and rest all day, so if this is your first, make the most of bed rest! Accept all the offers of help and ask people to bring a meal with them when visiting baby. Don't try and be super woman, and just know your body and health will get back to normal eventually. I feel so lucky to be sitting here having had three children with no major side effects. That is physical side effects, apart from my sciatica, which likes to show itself every now and again. I think mentally things will never be the same again once you have kids. This is probably where my anxiety first started. Having a baby is so much more than a physical experience, it can mentally change you forever. But everything will be ok! Sometimes you just need to hear that. Read my post Welcome to Motherhood for a quick snippet on some of the things that go through your mind as a new mum.

Funnily enough, everything else has just seemed to fall into place. Having two school aged children meant Lana literally had to fit into our existing routine which works well. She sleeps and wakes at a similar time to them, I adjusted to the night feeds pretty quickly by co-sleeping with Lana. It just made it easier to feed her, as I would stay lying down and feed her in this position. However, the co-sleeping didn't last very long. I found the bigger she was getting in size, she seemed to be unsettled in bed and every turn or movement I made would wake her. So at around 2 months, Aaron made the decision to put her in her cot in her own room! I was totally against the idea and you are generally advised to keep them in the same room as you until 6 months. Initially, it was hard and I had such anxiety that she was not by my side, But the first night we did it, she went from waking every 2 hours to only waking up twice, so I was sold on the idea. And I still got to have her in bed with me for feeds, so it was a good compromise. Most parents don't want their kids in bed with them but for me I get so much joy from it. Just watching them, smelling them, holding them close is amazing but they definitely need their own space too.  Her routine has pretty much stayed the same with the odd occasional restless night which I have put down to teething and an occasional night of waking up once or dare I say it, she has even slept through a couple of times! WINNING! 

The initial emotional/hormonal rollercoaster is another slap in the face. One second you are in love, the next you are fed up, then you want to murder your husband and his pointless nipples, now you want to cry because she is just so beautiful, its totally crazy but all normal and I would say this settled down by the 2 month mark. I am now writing this at 5 months and everything feels completely normal (apart from the fact it's the end of the world and Covid-19 has us in lockdown) but all in all if there's one thing you take from this post, let it be that the first three months will be some of the hardest you have ever encountered, but by the time they have started they will almost be over and they are setting you up for some of the most amazing moments and milestones in your babies life.

Amina xx

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