The three months after your little one is born are what many consider the fourth trimester. While there are only three trimesters in pregnancy, it is often said that there is a fourth trimester after giving birth. That trimester, while exciting, new, and fun, also comes with challenges, exhaustion, and recovery!
When we had our little baby boy, things didn’t go as expected. He was almost 6 weeks early, and we ended up having an unplanned c-section (read our birth story HERE). Recovery was a long one, to say the least! Not to mention that I had no idea about what the months ahead would look like.
The fourth trimester can often be unexpected and a confusing time (gotta love that new mom brain fog!). But with a little help, navigating the fourth trimester can be manageable and a sweet, precious season! Here are our favorite tips and resources for surviving (and enjoying) the fourth trimester!
Surviving the fourth trimester (our favorite tips)
Ask for help
The BEST tip there is for surviving the fourth trimester. You will need help, mama! Whether it’s your husband, a friend, a caretaker, or a family member. Ask for someone to stay with you through your time in the hospital and for the next several weeks! If anything, the emotional support of just having someone else there can do so much for your soul during this time.
Take it easy
It seems like this would be a given, but some of us (ahem, me) really struggle with “being still” for a season. Take a season off of work, don’t commit to obligations, and let yourself mentally rest. This is the season to just be with your little one, enjoy the cuddles, and rest in the simplicity of these fourth trimester days.
Don’t eat “healthy”
Wait, what? Ok, let me rephrase: Listen to your body, and eat what you want. Now is not the time to worry about what you’re eating! Focus on nourishing your body so that you can nourish your little one. This doesn’t mean binge or go crazy (that would not be healthy), but eat what your body is craving and what truly nourishes you. So if you want that sandwich with mac & cheese and a cookie? Go for it. Sometimes that’s the most nourishing thing for your mind and soul!
This will most likely happen naturally, but it’s ok to get emotional during this time (or really anytime)! Postpartum emotions are real, and it’s ok to feel them. The key is to be sure to share what you’re feeling with your close family and friends and let someone know what you’re going through! Journaling through this season is also helpful (this postpartum journal and planner is the BEST!). Be open about your emotions, while also embracing them and processing through them. You just had a baby – it’s ok to be emotional, mama!
You deserve a cookie. No, really! If you’re breastfeeding, lactation cookies are the BEST for keeping your supply up! Here’s a great recipe (ask someone to make them for you if you can) or purchase them here. And if you aren’t breastfeeding or have too much supply, keep these cookies on hand to treat yourself with. It’s so fun to have a cookie to look forward to after each meal (I literally ate one after every meal everyday for the entire three months)!
Drink a TON of water
With everything you’re going through in the postpartum season, your body needs hydration like never before. ESPECIALLY if you’re nursing! Make sure that you’re drinking lots of water throughout your day. Not only will this help you feel better and nourish your body, but it’ll also help with swelling and recovery in general!
Tip: use a water bottle like this one to make sure that you’re drinking enough water!
Get help with breastfeeding
When our little guy was born, we really struggled with breastfeeding. Getting professional help was the best decision we made! We visited a lactation consultant not just once, but multiple times through our journey. Be sure to get help with breastfeeding if you and your little one are needing it!
You heard right! The best advice I heard during the fourth trimester was “sleep when the baby sleeps”. It’s easy to shrug that off considering babies are awake every couple of hours at the beginning. However, getting some shut eye wherever you can take it is essential for your well being during this phase! Get someone to watch baby while he or she sleeps and go take a quick nap. It’s worth it!
Have grace on yourself
It’s easy to be hard on yourself during this phase. It can feel like you should be stronger, ready to see people, ready to go out in public, like you should be eating healthy, so many things! While it might seem like there’s pressure to be, look, or feel a certain way, remember that this is YOUR time with your little one. You just did one of the toughest things and now it’s time to recover. Have grace on yourself, allow yourself to just be!
Embrace your healing journey
Along the lines of having grace on yourself, embrace your healing journey. Completely healing from having a baby actually takes a pretty long time! It’s ok to embrace that and take your time as well. Don’t rush the process, take care of yourself, and allow yourself to fully heal slowly and carefully.
When you’re ready (and when you have your doctor’s permission), slooooooowly start walking. Start with a very slow and short walk around the neighborhood once a week. Then increase to a few times a week. Then increase your speed, and maybe the distance. Walking is not only wonderful for recovering your body during the fourth trimester, but it also does wonders for your mind after being inside all day!
Need a great walking stroller? Try this one!
As you’re getting towards the end of the fourth trimester and have been walking (and only when you’re really, truly ready), slowly begin adding exercise back into your life. We LOVE the Glow Body PT Postpartum Program (read all about it and get a discount HERE) for getting back in shape after having a baby!
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. These are products that I know, trust, and love!