Wednesday, May 28, 2014

9 Items to Survive the 4th Trimester

With my "4th trimester" quickly coming to a close, I've been reflecting on truly what has been my biggest go-tos in recovering from natural birth and transitioning to two under two.

I know some of you are thinking - uhm, 4th trimester? Is Bianca completely off her rocker? The 12 weeks following birth are affectionately called the "4th trimester" because both mama and baby still have big (and I mean BIG) changes that they go through. Not too many people stop to think about how suddenly being in a whole new world is for babies - they have to learn how to do everything. Breathe, eat, poop, fart, focus their eyes, smile, coordinate their arms and fingers. It doesn't happen by magic, people! That little person has a lot of learning coming their way, and sometimes new parents get caught up in it all and stress when things aren't going as well as they'd hoped...when it's all normal. Mamas change too- whether you're a seasoned or first time mama.  Physical and emotional changes abound for these first 12 weeks and it's important to be aware of these changes for yourself and baby.

So I bestow upon you an abbreviated list of 9 things that I have found helpful during my 4th trimesters - the two that I've had in two years.

1. A fluffy robe is simply a MUST. Why? It's soft and cuddly for mama, soft and cuddly for baby to snuggle up on, easy access for nursing and pretty much a huge towel to catch all that spit up that is bound to make its way out of your little bundle's ever so precious mouth. Invest in several.

2.  The NuRoo Pocket. I've written about how much I love this shirt for babywearing and kangaroo mother care.  This is another item that keeps baby close and easy access for nursing. The NuRoo Pocket has a generous size adjustment so that it can accommodate to your changing body and growing baby during the 4th trimester and beyond.

3. If this isn't your first baby, you probably spent a considerable amount of time during this pregnancy wondering how you're going to juggle a newborn and your older child. Heck, I'm only a few months into this journey and I still wonder how I'm going to do it! With my kids being just about 2 years apart, my older daughter Penny is just now getting into independent play - which means its a 70/30 chance that she's going to get into some sort of trouble if left to her own devices for too long. The girl loves painting but when I'm tied up with the newborn she can't play with her colors. So that's when we pull out our Melissa and Doug Water Wow. This is a packet with stiff cardboard pages with illustrations that magically turn to color when painted with water. As they dry the color disappears and can be reused roughly a bazillion times! Our oldest packet is about 6 months old and was heavily used for 4 of those months and still works great. They're affordable, fun, clean and perfect for road trips or while waiting at the doctor's office for Little Sister's well child appointments.

4. I'm all about comfort, especially during the 4th trimester. Whether you're nursing your first little or 5th, breastfeeding a newborn is not always easy. Even after nursing Penny for 20 months and through 5 months of my second pregnancy, nursing Ruby still took some getting used to. She had a mild tongue tie and just like any other baby she was learning how to nurse (it's a very coordinated muscle effort!), which meant my boobs were very sore and tender. The small luxury I can give myself (in addition to a hot shower) is to make sure that whatever touches my boobs is soft. And when it comes to nursing pads, Bamboobies has no equal. The boob side of the pad is bamboo velour and the other side is waterproof PUL for no leaking spots!! Yay!

5. Then there's the milestone that pretty much every new mom dreads after birth...going to the bathroom. For many of us, #1 and #2 are not the most pleasant and the healing process of the postpartum period can take upwards of two weeks. If you're not a family cloth gal, the next best thing you can do for your lady bits is Cottonelle Freshcare cleansing cloths (which are flushable!). They're like baby wipes for grown ups, leaving you fresh and clean. When you're ready for real paper again try Cottonelle Cleancare toilet paper too - it's wider than most toilet paper rolls. Click here for a $1.50 off CVS coupon for the Cottonelle wet+dry combo!

6. Mama cloth - if you want the full details on reusable menstrual pads during postpartum, check it out here. Otherwise, again - do yourself a favor and require that anything that touches your sensitive parts to be soft and not scratchy. Soak these in witch hazel and freeze before your birth so that you've got some awesome "padsicles" to help with the healing and some pain relief when you get home.

7. Sitz baths are another 'down there care' requirement. There's tons of recipes out there for Sitz baths, but for both of my natural birth recoveries I've kept several bags of Deerfoot Herbs Sitz baths on hand. Made from hand picked, locally sourced herbs,;steep this in a huge pot and keep it in the bathroom. Buy a Sitz bath to put over the toilet or just take a bath. Keep a little extra to use in a peribottle when you pee. That cleansing cloth I talked about in point #5 is also a nice way to finish up.

8. Breastfeeding moms know that a healthy diet is a must for keeping your energy up while your body uses extra calories in making milk for your little one. Galactogogues (foods and herbs that help increase breast milk production) are also an important part of your diet. But eating oatmeal or drinking tons of mama's milk tea is not the only way to increase your milk supply! It's pretty much every nursing mom's dream come true when we learn about lactation cookies - and Milk Makers Cookies are one of my favorite!  {Stay tuned for a review & giveaway!}

9. My final recommendation for the 4th Trimester involves getting your support system in place. Every new mom, again if it's your first or 5th, needs a little bit of extra help in the beginning. Even though I had an uncomplicated natural birth, I still experienced a unique tear that required me to be diligent about bed rest for 2 weeks. That's not easy in the slightest when you have a family to take care of! So in addition to the amazing help that we got from our families on the weekends, we were blessed by meals from our church and friends. A friend set up a 'meal train' through and it was the easiest way to coordinate when someone would be bringing dinner. You just set up what days you'd like meals, make notes on what you like and don't like, and the rest of taken care of. The friend gets a reminder email a few days before their date so that you don't have to. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and an easy way for people to get to see the baby too!

What would you add to your 4th trimester must have list?

Disclosure: Thank you Cottonelle for sponsoring today's post. Please help me in supporting this Pierogie Mama sponsor by checking out Cottonelle on the CVS website (more clicks = more sponsors for me!). This post contains affiliate links.


  1. I'd add a nursing pillow to the list, it just makes positioning mire comfortable those first weeks. Also, if you tie it correctly, your robe can be a quasi baby wrap carrier!

  2. Such a great idea! What fun suggestions :)



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