First time parents: A Guide to Marvelous Chaos in Your Fourth Trimester
First time parents, this one’s for you.
It’s no discovery that there is yet to exist a guide to parenting. A prim-and-proper handbook with all the dos and don’ts that will magically make our lives easier. Being a parent is centered around following your instincts all while doing our due diligence of reading, discovering and choosing the right tools to cultivate our child’s potential. What we’ve learned so far is that there is no right or wrong way of doing things; every mom and dad have a special baby with his/her special characteristics as well as physical features. The parenting experience is just as much of a remarkable road that starts the second your baby arrives in the world.
What do you mean there’s a fourth trimester?
Dr. Harvey Neil Karp, an American pediatrician, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, coined the term “fourth trimester” in reference to the 12 weeks after your baby is born. These twelve weeks are the foundation of your baby’s primary years. Dr. Karp suggests that you should try to recreate for another 3 or 4 months the kind of environment your baby had in the womb in order to encourage their physical and mental development.
So, how do I go about this fourth trimester business?
Sounds like a daunting task with your baby crying in the background, no? Wouldn’t you cry too if you woke up and found yourself with much more room to move than you’re used to, no steady heartbeat lulling you to sleep, an entirely different temperature altogether while having to wear layers of clothes with different textures on your new skin? Read below to find out how you can make your baby’s transition from womb to world as easy as possible.
Make Sure Your Baby Is Comfortable with Both Mommy & Daddy
Baby has had 9 long months to get to know mommy from the inside out; don’t worry too much if he/she is not as quickly soothed by daddy. Your little one is ready to bond immediately and craves nothing more than your attention and care. Make sure that your baby spends quality time with both of you together as well as separately in order for them to get accustomed to your different sounds, smells and manner.
Peek-a-boo isn’t a toddler favorite for nothing. Playing with your baby encourages healthy brain development, communication skills and builds their self-confidence. From making faces to using educational tools such as the Lanalou Flashcards, safe tools with high contrast colors, distinctive design and texture will capture the interest of your little one. Focusing and investing energy in play also gives them, and you, better sleep.
Instil Healthy Sleeping Habits
Parents, are you sleep deprived? We’ve been there too. Newborns sleep an average of 16 to 21 hours; most parents have a hard time in the first few months fixing these to specific hours. Encourage healthy sleeping habits for your baby from the very first day by picking up on your baby’s sleep cues, these include redness around the eyes, fussing, decreased energy, and make sure your baby isn’t hungry before bedtime. You will also want to give Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s method (swaddle, side or stomach position, shush, swing, and suck) a shot. The 5 S’s method has been proven to work for 98% of babies.
These early weeks of sleep deprivation and diapers will in no time turn into action figures and tea parties, to college admission tests, to watching your little one lead a completely independent life. As first time parents, the discovery is that approaching parenthood as a process can help you stay sane through it all. We learn as much from our babies, if not more, than they learn from us.