If you are reading this, chances are, you have just delivered your baby not too long ago. That makes the both of us!
Whether this is your first – or second, or third, or fourth – baby, like me, you are going through one of the toughest moments in life as your beautiful baby (yes, your baby truly is beautiful…as long as he/she is fast asleep when you want him/her to!) tries his/her hardest to adjust to life outside the womb.
That, Mama, is aptly called the “fourth trimester”. Although your baby has made the grand entrance into this bright and exciting world, in his/her head, it seems as though he/she is still hanging out in the safe confines of your womb. After all, that was “home” to your baby for the past 40 weeks – and who would want to leave that perfect home where one gets to bob up and down happily in the tiny pool of water, food is available on demand, and the sound of your voice is all it takes to make your baby feel right again.
But, like most things in life, some good things just have to come to an end. While this big, big world is a more exciting place than your dark womb, your baby will go through a transition period where he/she tries to get used to life here. And for this, your help is needed in order for him/her to get there. So, you can expect to go through a series of good and bad days with your newborn until he/she adapts – and at times it may seem as though the bad days just keep coming and is there to stay.
Here are some trying moments that the both of you (and the rest of the family) are bound to go through in the weeks ahead:
- Your newborn will have his/her day and night all mixed up. For this, you have got your comfy womb to blame – in there, it is dark and warm 24/7, so there little wonder why your tiny bundle gets confused with the time of day in the real world. You can help your baby differentiate between night and day by keeping the atmosphere bright and vibrant during the day, and establish a bedtime routine at night after swaddling your baby by keeping the room dark and quiet.
- It will seem as though that all you do throughout the day is to change diapers and feed around the clock. At this point, your little one’s digestive system is still a work in progress and might be a while until it functions the way it should. So, in the meantime, all he/she can do is to feed regularly to satisfy those hunger pangs – and what goes in must come out, right? Now, I bet your baby is missing the “womb service” that he/she has enjoyed for the past 9 months!
- Your baby may cry at about the same time every day, and this is followed by him/her grunting and passing gas. Don’t worry, Mama, you didn’t do anything wrong. Nor is there anything seriously wrong with your crying baby. He/she is just having infant colic, which usually presents itself by Week 6. Just like the rest of the things that happen during this time, this is just a phase that both of you need to go through – and this too, will pass. In the meantime, do standby the bottles of RidWind, Dentinox and BioGaia probiotics – for these will help your little one tide through this stage.
- Your baby, who used to be able to sleep for hours just about anywhere (i.e. be it the cot, rocker or on the couch), has developed into this clingy, wailing being who just won’t go to sleep unless he/she is being carried by you and rocked to sleep. Some experts say that this is your baby’s way of feeling safe as he/she copes with the external noises going on around him/her. And what better way to achieve this than being cuddled close to mum, and to hear the familiar beating of your heart? As difficult as it may seem, this is a phase that all mums and dads will need to go through with their babes – and the one thing that saved my sanity during this phase is to babywear. As your baby loves being close to you, the rocking movement of you moving about while wearing him/her in a sling or carrier helps to put your little one to sleep.
Yes, Mama, these are just some of the trials and adjustments that you need to go through with your baby during the first 3 months. While it may seem as though you are going through the worst alone, know that other mums are having an equally hard time tiding through this clingy stage as well. For this, you can all get the support needed by confiding in each other. There are tons of online support groups created for this purpose, so do join in the conversation. This is also one of the quickest ways to get the answers, suggestions and contacts you need to the issues that you are going through.
At the same time, do let Daddy know what you are going through as well. He should be as invested in the baby’s well-being and development as you are, so don’t hesitate to ask for the help that you need from his end. It may be challenging trying to explain why and how you feel a certain way, but just give him time to process the complexities of what you are going through. Like you, he is also trying to learn and understand about the roles of being a parent and the hard fact that no two babies are ever the same.
Let’s all pull through the first few months together, Mama – for there will come a day in the future where we will miss the baby version of our child as we look back at all that we’ve been through during this time. Our babies will only be little for a while, so do try to treasure this time and be there for them when they need us the most.
A sleep deprived Mum who is also going through the Fourth Trimester, like you.