Plant Based Mum Blog

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The Fourth Trimester

My baby boy recently turned three months, and I have cherished this time in our fourth trimester, bonding and getting to know one another. 

The concept of the fourth trimester is no secret. It is a term used by medical professionals and parents alike, and entails the first three months after the birth of your baby. It is an important and almost sacred time to bond with baby, and to nurture your little miracle as they transition from the safety of the womb to the big wide world. 

During this time in particular, baby has a primal instinct to be close to mum. Skin on skin, especially for the first few weeks, is a good way to introduce baby safely to the world - he, or she, can hear the sounds and see the sights all while having the comfort of being close to mummy - and it also helps to build supply, helps mum and baby rest and recover from birth, and keeps mum and baby relaxed through the release of hormones.

As much as the fourth trimester is a time to rest, it is also always nice to venture out into the sunshine and to get some fresh air, even when baby is oh so little. When you are out and about baby will still want to be close to you too. A wrap or a carrier is perfect for this (and is also good for keeping germs at bay when your baby is oh so little!). I personally love going on outdoor adventures with my little ones, and enjoy keeping baby close using my ergo carrier (or you could simply use a homemade babywrap). My baby boy is always so comfortable in the carrier, and often falls asleep for the whole outing as he is soothed by my familiar scent, warmth, voice and presence. 

The fourth trimester is also a time for you to really get to know your baby - and get to know yourself as a mother. A time for you to learn your baby’s unique likes and dislikes - how do they like to be held, do they experience wind and need to be burped often or not, what type of carrier do they enjoy being in (if at all) - the list goes on,...and every baby will have different preferences, as well as every mother having different preferences too. There’s no right and wrong, it’s all down to you and your baby. 

Additionally, the fourth trimester is a time where the whole family can bond, especially in the first weeks home with baby - Dad and baby, and baby and sibling(s) too. It’s great for siblings to have some (supervised) time from the get go to get to know their new brother or sister. 

Lastly, and most importantly, the fourth trimester is about learning to trust your own instinct and experience the amazing role of being a mother. Remember to have confidence in yourself - you are your baby’s mother and no one knows baby better than you!  

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Postpartum Essentials

Admittidly I let my health slide down the priority list after my first bubba was born. As a result, my first postpartum recovery was longer than it should have been - both physically and mentally - but, as the saying goes once you know better - do better! It was so important to me to look after my own health this time to ensure a quick recovery from birth, a good supply and a healthy Mum!  

Nutrition 

For me it all starts with nutrition. Your body can’t start the massive job of healing tissues, supporting the reproductive system as it returns to ‘normal’ and making the milk it needs to nourish a beautiful growing baby without being adequately nourished. Ultimately it’s important to start focusing on nutrition and wellness prior to conceiving but it really comes into the spotlight again in the ‘fourth trimester’ (or those three healing and bonding months after giving birth). I knew my body needed plenty of water, some sunlight (haha I am making myself sound like a plant here!) and good food to heal from the massive miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. Even before I had two under two I knew that preparing and cooking meals was going to be next to impossible (let’s not kid ourselves here!) so I pre-ordered some delicious, and super nourishing, meals and smoothies from My Goodness Organics to last me the first few weeks home from the hospital, stocked the cupboards with healthy snack options, and also made sure to always have a bottle of water with me. 

Exercise 

It is a task to get out of the house with two little ones, even more so in those early days as your newborn feeds every few hours. I always feel better once I get out of the house and get a little sunshine and exercise, so I knew I had to concentrate on this again this time around (once I received the all-clear from my obstetrician postpartum). My husband and I made it a priority to go for a walk around the block every afternoon (apart from when it is raining, or when there is a heatwave - which is more likely because it is summer here). I also manage to get a good amount of exercise in by heading to different parks and walking trips over the weekend.

Rest 

Lastly, that brings me to the point of rest. As a busy Mum of two it is sometimes hard for me to get my rest in, but it was particularly important in the first 6 weeks after the birth to not only allow my body the respect and recovery it deserves, but to have that quiet time to bond with the baby. I was lucky to have friends and family around to take our gorgeous toddler on adventures and play with her at home to help her have a fun filled month - which really helped her adjust well to becoming a sister (without the sibling rivalry) and it also afforded me some one on one time with my newborn, plus some downtime to rest. 

If you are reading this and are pregnant or in your early postpartum stage congratulations and I wish you a happy and healthy recovery!  

Disclaimer - I am not a medical professional, so please do not take my post as medical advice for your postpartum, this is purely my own experience. 

Thanks for reading! 

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