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Fourth Trimester Essentials

What is the fourth trimester? Have you heard of it?

Basically, it’s the idea that the first 3 months after birth are very much an extension of life in the womb for your baby.

The concept of the fourth trimester helps us understand the transition a newborn must make over their first few months of it’s life. Once we understand this we can find many ways to help and everything else will flow naturally.

This quote by Elizabeth Pantley perfectly explains it:

“Your baby doesn’t magically transform into a different life form at the moment of birth- he/she is the same person he/she was just a minute before. So, the first three months of life are like a fourth trimester, and should be treated as gentle entry into this world- with respect and loving care”.

So with that being said I wanted to share with you some fourth trimester essentials that women have found helpful and highly recommend to other mothers and mothers-to-be.

Immediate Skin to Skin Contact After Birth:

Mothers who hold their newborns skin-to-skin after birth have increased maternal behaviors, show more confidence in caring for their babies and breastfeed for longer durations. Being skin-to-skin with mother protects the newborn from the well-documented negative effects of separation, supports optimal brain development and facilitates attachment. Ensure your health care provider knows that you want to have your baby skin-to-skin with you for a minimum of 1 hour post birth to start the bonding process with your baby.

Bonds Zippy Suits:

Apart from being ridiculously cute, the two way zips are a God send, you can change your baby’s nappy with minimal effort and fuss, which makes the whole process quicker and easier for you and baby. An average of 4 zippy suits is enough and then you will only need to wash every second or third day. A lot of mothers find the pants and top outfits a lot harder to manoeuvre at this newborn stage.

Baby Carrier:

Along with swaddling, baby wearing re-creates the womb environment by keeping your baby close to you so they can smell you, feel your warmth and listen to your heart beat. It also settles babies very quickly allowing them to get a nice long sleep and lets parents go hands free and still be useful. Mothers have said that they use their wrap daily, especially around the baby’s “fussy times”.

Baby wraps are fantastic for the newborn stage whereas the baby carriers are great for when the baby gets bigger.

I recommend Husband and Co Baby Wrap for the newborn stage and an Ergo Baby Carrier for when the baby gets bigger.

White Noise App:

White noise is very similar to womb sounds such as your heart beating, blood flowing, mummy breathing, the muffling sound of mummy’s voice, plus more. These womb-like sounds can be comforting to your baby, particularly newborns who have not yet gotten used to the outside world.

The constant repetitive sounds of white noise can also help you or your baby stay asleep, which can be the most challenging part. The constant whirring of white noise can give you the continuity of sound that soothes your baby to stay asleep or drowns out house noises such as people talking, doing the dishes, etc

Lansinoh or Marcalan:

Lansinoh or Marcalan is nipple cream made from lanolin, it is 100% safe for you and baby. There is no need to wipe it off before feeding. Like many first time mums you can get incredibly sore nipples during the first week or two of breastfeeding, whilst your baby and you are learning the whole breastfeeding business. This cream will be a lifesaver. Hydrogel discs are also are great thing to have to help heal your nipples. You can get them at Big W or a local pharmacy.

Swaddle Bag:

Like the bonds zippy suits, you can get a two way zip for easy nappy changes at night. A lot of mothers prefer a swaddle bag to swaddling overnight as they never have to worry about their baby coming loose from their swaddle and waking up or the covers going over their head from all the wriggling in their sleep.


They come in all shapes and sizes and materials. Depending on what time of year you have your baby may determine what swaddles you buy (eg muslin for summer babes and thicker ones for winter). Have plenty of both handy as you will go through a few and you do not want to wash every day.

Feeding Area:

No matter how you intend on feeding your baby (breast or bottle) you will spend a lot of time doing it!

Make sure you set up yourself a designated feeding area. A recliner chair with a little table next to it with drawers that has all the essentials at arms reach- snacks, water bottle, phone charger, burp cloths etc.

Frozen Meals &/or a Meal Roster:

The last thing you want to think about when bringing a new baby home no matter if it’s your first or your tenth baby is cooking!

Make sure to stock up your freezer with healthy, filling and yummy foods while you’re on maternity leave.

Don’t be shy about asking friends and family to bring food when they visit. This truly is one of the best ways you can help out a new family and give them more time and energy to care for and bond with their new little person.

Supplements For Mum:

We all know that when pregnant, we should take our multivitamins. Well don’t stop now that you have had your baby. Having a newborn can be very taxing on your system and if you are breastfeeding your body is providing a complete food source for your baby so you need to make sure you don’t deplete your own body. I also recommend taking a pregnancy/post partum probiotic. Studies show it can decrease the incidence of allergies and eczema for baby and helps to form a healthy digestive system in both mum and baby and possibly reduce the severity of colic. Fish oil supplement is also believed to have a positive effect on babies brain development, however ensure you are taking a good quality fish oil and not one high in mercury.

Postpartum Support:

Know your options for support before hand. Where is your nearest child and health nurse? Is there a midwife in your area that can come and see you at home? Where can you drop in and get your baby weighed? Do you know who your local lactation consultant is? These questions are much easily answered when you’re on maternity leave sitting with a cup of tea in hand and baby happily swimming in your belly, than post birth when you are sleep deprived and have a crying baby you need advice with.


(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).

Check out the Newborn Baby Essentials Checklist here for other great products!

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