That 4th Trimester 

Have you heard of the ‘4th Trimester’?

Whether you believe in it or not, through conversations, holistic thinking, HypnoBirthing classes, and general doula world stuff, it’s been something I’ve thought about and quite like the idea of. Basically, it is defined as the first 3 months of baby’s life post-birth when they are very newborn like. At this age these babies have very primal movements, sounds and needs. And this, being my 3rd baby, I’ve just completely absorbed the idea and held, cuddled, shushed and fed bubsy on demand. To me, whether you agree or not, you can’t go too wrong with all that baby lovin’ can you?

The transition from the womb to the world is a HUGE one. All senses are experiencing new things – no longer is there food on tap, gravity has taken effect, temperatures are new, as are sounds and strange tactile experiences. This is why skin to skin is so desperately encouraged after birth. These poor innocent newbies miss the heartbeat, the safety, the warm, snug, dark squishedness.

Off point, kinda: did you know that your nipples darken in pregnancy because babies see black and white initially, and so they can locate them better. They also release a smell similar to amniotic fluid to attract bub. Is the body just not un-believ-able? I mean!

A while back I popped into Granny Goose for a fun ‘Sleep Tight’ morning. Listen, free cupcakes and coffee will get me almost anywhere.

Occupational Therapist and co-creature of the Nuture One pillow, Jenny Spiro, gave us, a group of sleepy eyed (not really, but maybe) moms, some really good advice on newborn and infant sleep. Helpful, encouraging advice – unlike most unappreciated personal opinions and judgy ‘know-how’ books.

She created the Nurture One pillow (no affiliate link here guys – I’m just sharing some wisdom I heard that morning), specifically to mimic the post-birth sensory environment, making that 4th Trimester easier and helping your baby enjoy and thrive in his/her sleep. I dare you to find me a new mom who doesn’t want that?

Here are her top tips on INFANT SLEEP:

– Timing is everything. If you ‘catch the sleep wave’ at the right time, you win Mom of the Year, because learning your babies’ cues is doable but close to impossible (if you ask me).

– Don’t overstimulate the environment. No mobiles over cots. Keep colours and tones of the room clean and neutral.

– Don’t let them get overtired. Overtired leads to neediness which leads to a DIS-AS-TER.

– Put baby down in her bed bum first, then head (and always have your babies head be at the same level or higher than her body).

– It is okay for your baby to have a soft toy, dummy, soothing something to help keep her calm at night when you are not there.

– Co-sleeping/sleeping in her bed in your room, or sleeping in her own room blah blah blah is all just craaaazy controversial. Do what works for you, and what you feel is responsible, but think about whether the average cave women had nearby caves for their babies back in the day. Hmmm…

And a little bit of baby massage pre-sleep cant hurt…

Her experience as an OT led her to the creation of the Nurture One pillow. It was designed to mimic at the very least the tactile womb experience and to create the ideal sensory environment for the newborn. Many moms swear by it, and fortunately enough, a friend has lent me hers (I hadn’t heard of it until moving back to SA). Lucky bub!

So… how’s that sleep going for you guys? (Ha ha ha)


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