So my hubby asked me the other day what a fourth trimester is? Its super funny he asks because we read at least three books on the subject and bunch of blogs plus he is a neonatologist. Aren’t they supposed to be experts…guess not.
So fourth trimester is a concept invented or perhaps advertised by Dr.Karp, the author of the best selling books and Dvd’s “happiest baby on the block”. His basic argument is that when babies are born they are not really ready for birth. He argues that we have to maintain womb like atmosphere for the babies for the first three months of their lives.When I had my son, I was familiar with the concept but it really did not mean much to me. But looking back I can see that those first three months with a new born are very different.
Womb like atmosphere (the five s’s):
- Swaddling: Tight swaddling recreates the confinement of the womb.
- Side/Stomach position: Holding the baby on the right side slightly face down.
- Shushing: Karp uses a loud “ssh” sound similar to the loud white noise that is present in the womb.
- Swinging (and jiggling): Gentle but constant jiggling (especially of the head) is intended to remind babies of the constant motion they experienced in the womb.
- Sucking: Karp also recommends the use of pacifiers
NOTE: If you are in India, we have this cloth slings that hang from the roof these slings work best for babies as they swaddle them as well as provide motion so clearly taking care of two of the five s’s. There is a reason for traditions and customs so stick to things that have worked for centuries, if you can get a sling that can hang from the roof..that would work great. I cannot swear by it as we never had one..but of course we all grew up in them so they must be working.
The other part of the first three months is that babies tummies are as small as a marble when they are born and breast milk digests super fast. So if you are breast feeding your baby, be patient as they will need to feed every 2 to 3 hours. If you can get a breast pump and have a caretaker feed your baby it might give mom some rest. Experts recommend that you exclusively breast feed (no bottles) for atleast 8 weeks and once your milk supply is established and your baby is latching well you can start giving him bottles. Enjoy the time with your little one ladies, it just goes by fast…as my dear friend likes to say, “Days are long but Years are short” before you know it your son will be a year old and running away from you.
If you want to read up on Dr.Karp’s techniques here are some other interesting posts