Congrats! You’ve made it to the end of your pregnancy and you’re just weeks away meeting your new baby (or maybe you already have them in your arms). Either way, surviving the fourth trimester isn’t always easy.
While you may have planned out everything down to the socks you’ll be wearing as you waddle into the delivery room, have you considered your new mom must haves for the fourth trimester?
If not, don’t feel too bad. You’re already in mom mode of being the best parent you can! You’ve taken care of everything for your baby, and they’ll have everything they need, but let’s establish the foundations of making sure you’re taking care of yourself too and having everything you need.
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So make sure you get these items to take care of yourself, mom. With a little planning and thought, you can survive (and thrive) during the fourth trimester.
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Getting support from others during the 4th trimester
As much as I know you’re about to be supermom, I also want to remind you of the super important fact that you don’t have to be.
As it tends to happen when babies are born, everyone wants a piece of that happiness and so you will be offered tons and tons of help from genuinely caring people. Use it!
RELATED:How to take care of yourself postpartum – 7 tips
For your mental health (as well as the well being of your precious newborn), it’s important to take the support from helpful people when you can so that you’re making sure to balance the needs of yourself, your household and this new bundle of joy that has tilted your entire world.
Don’t let people come to “help” and just hold the baby while you do dishes. Instead, ask them to:
- Do a load of laundry
- Bring a meal (preferably batch one to eat, one to freeze)
- Take the dogs for a walk
- Empty your dishwasher and refill it
- Hold the baby while you take a shower (but then give them back when they’re hungry)
- Take out the trash
Or whatever you need! This is the best time to ask for help.
Surviving the 4th trimester for mom
While taking care of your baby is, of course, a huge undertaking during the newborn period, so is taking care of yourself. Here’s a few tips so you can make sure you stay healthy and get stronger.
Sleep a lot
Your body has just done a lot of work, and it needs to heal. Plus, your new baby will be waking up frequently (around every 2-4 hours). Spend lots of time in bed and sleep whenever you can
(Note: If you’re breastfeeding, don’t hand off those night-time feeds, especially in the early days. Doing so will impact your milk supply. Instead, just go to bed early and nap when you can).
Take small walks
As difficult as it can be, walking can help speed your recovery by promoting blood flow. Plus, it really helps your mood to get out of the house.
Your first walk or two may be very short. I remember only being able to walk to the end of my (short) road before I had some pain. That’s okay. After a few weeks, you’ll be able to walk farther and more quickly.
At first, someone else should carry the baby for you during a walk. But as you get stronger, you can pop them in a carrier for your daily outings.
Get a baby carrier
Chances are your adorable little one is not going to want to let you go far, even when you’re ready to start moving around.
When our babies are born, they still have a lot of maturation to do. Their temperature regulation is still not great, and even their breathing patterns and heart rate aren’t completely regulated yet.
One of the best ways to help your baby with all of these issues is to have them close to you (yes, even while you’re on the move). And the easiest way to allow this closeness without your arms falling off from exhaustion? Having her cuddled up close to you (or another care taker) in a wrap.
RELATED: Best baby carriers
Here are some great carriers for you to consider when you’re ready to start moving around some more:
Boba Wrap – perfect for new baby snuggles
The Ergobaby Omni 360 – best for newborn through toddler
And yes, letting Dad snuggle baby in a carrier is a great idea too.
New mom must haves for the fourth trimester
With that cute baby bundle now strapped to your chest, it’s also important to highlight that your body is still recovering! Whether you delivered vaginally or via c-section (which is major surgery), your body needs you to go easy as you start to get back into the swing of things.
When you use a carrier incorrectly (or when your core isn’t strong enough to support your baby’s weight), it can damage your midsection and pelvic floor. That’s why you may want a gentle postpartum binder to support you.
RELATED: Pros and cons of babywearing
It’s important to note that the primary purpose of these binders are to help you feel more supported and not to pressure you into “getting your body back.” Your post-baby body is recovering from giving life! It took a lot to do that and it’s going to take a lot for it to recover.
Particularly if you’ve had diastasis recti (abdominal separation) with your pregnancy, you needs this support for your core. The point isn’t to “train your waist.” In fact, if you feel any squeezing pressure (particularly in your pelvic floor), that means your binder is too tight. This can lead to damage or even pelvic prolapse.
Instead, you want a binder to bring the two halves of your rectus abdominis (“six-pack” muscles) closer together so your linear alba (the tissue that holds them together) can heal.
RELATED: Living with diastasis recti
This binder gives adjustable support with extra reinforcement at your waistline. Plus, it’s easy to get on and off.
Remember I said to prioritize yourself too? Another small but significant way to get that done is to get a comfortable robe.
In the days after your baby arrives home, things are going to be a blur. Finding the right outfit is going to be the last thing on your mind, and more than anything, you’ll be looking for comfort. Your main daily tasks will be to maneuver around the house, get skin-to-skin contact with your baby, and provide easy access to that comfy sleep bra whenever the time calls for it.
I personally love this brand. It’s a soft, lightweight cotton so you’re comfortable and not overheated, and there are tons of designs and colors.
Depends / disposable underwear
Not as exciting as a cute, cozy bathrobe, but hear me out.
For the first week or two, you’re going to have some heavy bleeding (if you pass clots larger than a golf ball or if your bleeding suddenly gets heavier after tapering off, call your OB). And while your hospital may give you a few “thunder pads” (as my friend so eloquently call them), they probably won’t last long enough.
Wearing Depends for those first few weeks is the easiest way to avoid super-stained panties, stretchy pants, and bedsheets.
The only thing is, packs usually contain more pairs than you need. Pass the extras along! My friend had a pack from her third birth, and she passed her leftover ones to me for my own third birth. While this may sound weird if you’re a first-time mom, trust me, I appreciated it.
Breastfeeding tips for the 4th trimester
Especially when you deal with cluster feeding (which happens several times in the first 4 months after baby’s arrival), sleep deprivation, and more, breastfeeding can have a steep learning curve.
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That’s why you want to make sure you have everything you need to be ready for breastfeeding.
A good breastfeeding course
If you decide to breastfeed for your baby – congrats. You just signed up for a beautiful bonding experience.
While there is a TON of information floating around the internet about breastfeeding, a lot of it is wrong. And unfortunately, a misleading statement from the wrong person can make or break your breastfeeding journey.
As a huge advocate for breastfeeding, finding the right resource for moms was important. So after taking this course, I confidently suggest the Ultimate Breastfeeding Course by Milkology.
RELATED: Milkology review by an experienced breastfeeder
I promise you, Stacey (a certified lactation consultant and the author of the course) knows her stuff. This course will make you absolutely confident for your first few months of breastfeeding.
These are things you don’t realize you need until it’s too late, so get them now (you’ll thank me later).
As your body begins producing milk, it will initially create more than needed until it “learns” how much your little one needs. While this is a beautiful way your body is working to provide for your new baby, it also means a lot of excess milk sometimes spilling out with no place to go (This will happen whether or not you choose to breastfeed, btw)!
RELATED: Engorgement relief for the first week of breastfeeding
This is where breast pads come in. With options of reusable or disposable, breast pads are great for being that barrier between protecting letdown accidents from spilling out onto your shirt at the worst possible moments.
Bonus: if you’re going through some extra sensitivity with breastfeeding, consider these gel padded breast pads that can help
Breast Therapy Packs
If you’re going through some extra sensitivity with breastfeeding such as from engorgement, plugged ducts and/or mastitis, consider these gel padded breast pads that can help provide cold and hot therapy relief!
Sleep bras to put breast pads in
While you’re padding up, don’t forget to get a great sleep bra to put those in! As you’ll soon learn, breastfeeding does not work well with the standard bras, especially when it comes to those nighttime feeds.
With no wires, hooks, or clips, sleep bras provide you with soft comfortable material to be able to easily and comfortably nurse your baby throughout the night without having to unstrap. They also hold breast pads in place throughout the night should a spontaneous letdowns occur (because no one likes waking up in a lake of breast milk).
Another thing you may need is lanolin. This natural substance produced from sheep’s wool has become the go-to relief for breastfeeding mothers.
If you’re experiencing cracked nipples or general pain from breastfeeding, make sure you have a few tubes of this scattered throughout your home. A small pea size squeeze of this can be the difference between an enjoyable breastfeeding experience with your little one OR a painful one.
Dab it on after or before every breastfeeding session – it is not harmful to your little one.
Grab yours here.
Another seasoned mom go-to is the Haaka Silicone breast pump.
With no plug-in required, this is debatably one of the most reputable silicone breast pumps on the market. With its suction based on a simple squeeze and placement, it takes all of the headache (and hand soreness) out of hand pumps. So when you’re on the go and can’t get to an outlet but also just don’t have the time to set up a pumping station – this is a great resource to have handy to help relieve engorgement while also storing up that valuable nutrients for your baby!
All Haaka pumps are BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free, can be sterilized and easily compacted so that they’re the perfect traveling tool.
It’s only natural that you’ll want to keep a watchful eye over your new bundle of joy and studies have shown that room sharing is the best way to keep your baby safe in the first year.
Instead of having a full-sized crib, you might prefer to invest in a cosleeper bassinet.
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These bassinets can be right next to your bed while keeping your baby cocooned. Some are even designed to attach to the side of your bed so that you have ease of access to pull your baby in when it’s time for those late night feeding sessions.
Water bottle (for breastfeeding station)
Throughout your pregnancy, you must have heard time and time again how important water consumption was to make sure your little nugget was getting everything he/she needed; but water intake is going to be just as important as you go into postpartum (and even more so if you’re planning on breastfeeding).
Postpartum, your body will be looking for that water intake to not only recover from the life changing milestone it just went through, but to also create the liquid gold that will be nourishing your baby’s needs outside of the womb.
Having a reliable water bottle at your breastfeeding station will serve as a good reminder to you to take care of yourself by giving your body what it needs while also making sure you’re staying healthy enough to produce the nutrients your little one needs.
Check out these water bottles new moms just like you swear by:
Hydro Flask Water Bottle – with a nifty finger hook and drinkable straw, this bottle makes it as convenient as possible for you to incorporate water drinking into your new life. Plus, it’s stainless steel with a phthalate and BPA free lid.
CamelBak Chute Mag Water Bottle – With a magnetic cap to keep this lid from getting lost and vacuum insulation to keep your water cold for up to 24 hours, this bottle gives you a few less things to worry about!
One-handed snacks for breastfeeding
In addition to that extra intake of water you’ll need to make sure you’re getting…food will also be another thing high up on the list.
Did you know that breastfeeding asks another 500 calories of your body? This means you need to make sure you’re supplying your body with the extra protein and nutrients needs to to balance out the water in its quest of producing that golden milk!
And let’s keep it completely 100 percent here! As a new mom (or any mom really), a lot of your time will be dedicated towards just sitting and staring at your baby (breastfeeding or not) so with your hands full, making a quick snack might seem like too much work in the moment which is why it’s important to have a stash of one-handed snacks on hand and ready.
Here are some favorites of mine you can consider:
- Dried Fruit
- Fresh Fruit
- Banana chips
- Whole wheat crackers
- Veggies cut up (carrots, celery etc.) with humus
- Dried chickpeas
- Hard boiled eggs
- Dried edamame
- Whole wheat pretzels
- Trail mix
- Granola bars
- Fruit/nut bars
- Cheese Sticks, sliced cheese or something like this
If you have time to make something more elaborate, great! But as a new mom, let’s be safe. Assume you won’t have your hands free, and pile some of these into a grab-and-go container. Place them in areas you plan to be spending lots of time in (hello, breastfeeding station or TV and couch for those newborn cluster feeding stages).
Items that help you take care of your baby
You know once you have a baby that any gifts for mom automatically turn into gifts for baby too, right?
That’s sort of the case for the Zipadee Zip. Although will be a great help for you… it’s also a great help for your little one.
RELATED: Zipadee Zip review
The Zipadee Zip’s design adorably turns your baby into the cutest star fish while aiding you in developing sounder sleep for a couple of reasons.
(1) No doubt you walked out the hospital a swaddle pro, but swaddling with a regular blanket that keeps your baby’s legs bound can lead to hip dysplasia! Zipadee Zip’s design provides your baby with the ability for your him to move his legs freely.
(2) if your baby likes to self soothe by putting his hands in his mouth, the Zipadee Zip allows him to! While the ends may get a bit soggy, I’d take an extra load of laundry over a restless night of sleep any day!
The Zipadee ZIp provides the womb-like environment your baby is actively searching for in her first few months of life and this product gives that to them while also encouraging them to safely learn all about that new found freedom their tiny toes and fingers have.
Plenty of onesies
While you’re shopping for cute and comfy though…let’s also throw in a few extra onesies for that little one.
And by few extra…I really mean plenty.
As a new mom, you will be surprised at how many onesies your little one is about to run through and you’ll be even more stunned at the reasons behind them! From blowouts to food spills (yours, as you’re eating with a baby in your arms) and everything in between, expect to run through 2-3 onesies on a daily basis (on a good day!).
While this sounds like a lot, many companies (like Carter’s, which I LOVE) sell multipacks of bodysuits in coordinating colors.
Did you get all those new mom must-haves?
I know you only just finished checking off the to-do list for the baby, but it’s important you go down this one too!
The success of your fourth trimester takes into account your wellbeing as well, which is why it’s important to not only make sure the baby has everything she needs, but that you do as well.
As a new mom, I’m sure you’ll discover other little tricks to make your life easier. However, until you figure that out, it’s my hope that these tried-and-tested recommendations of a mom of four will steer you in the right direction of an easy (and as blissful as possible) transition into your Fourth Trimester.
And if you still haven’t made your baby registry, make sure you grab my free printable registry checklist so you know what you actually need (and what you can skip) by clicking here.
Have you been recommended something else not listed here? Drop it in the comments below!