My Top 10 Items for Surviving the 4th Trimester

The first three months after you give birth to your baby is called the 4th trimester. Seriously. Google it.

Those first three months can be rough. Even after we had already #beenthere #donethat #babynumber2 and we thought we #knewitall #yeahright….our lives were turned upside down the minute we brought Clark JR home from the hospital in early October of 2017 and adjusted to life as a family of four.

October is generally when harvest on the farm begins. Now for myself and our toddler who had just turned 2 in July and was still in diapers, that meant we were going to have to figure out how to function just the three of us.

That is why I put together this list of items I absolutely could not have lived without during those first three months aka the 4th trimester.

Here they are:

10. A crib and/or pack and play because that baby is going to need someplace to sleep

or a safe place you can put him when you need 5 minutes to go to the bathroom, tend to your toddler or other children, or make yourself a sandwich. I kept the crib in the nursery and a pack and play in the kitchen – that was SO handy.

9. Your maternity clothes.

Seriously. Don’t put these away just yet. Plus nursing tank tops. I lived in maternity pants, tank tops, and sweatshirts for….oh hey, I’m still wearing them right now….

8. A very large water bottle because you’re going to be thirsty.

If you’re breastfeeding – good for you, it’s hard work and personally, when my milk let down I would get THE CRAZIEST need for water as if I had been wandering through the desert for months. Each time I opted for one that had a handle and an insert that you could freeze to keep my water cold. They can be expensive but it’s worth it. I still use mine now to stay on top of my water drinking game.

7. A bouncy chair that vibrates (like the one below which was from Baby’s R Us and vibrates as well as bounces) and/or a swing.

Some type of “neglect-a-matic” as my mom would call it. But this was the only way I could put my baby down for at least 30 minutes. And if you get a swing, make sure you get one that plugs in like this one  https://fisher-price.mattel.com/shop/en-us/fp/baby-swings/sweet-snugapuppy-dreams-cradle-n-swing-drg43 – not one that is battery operated. #beenthere #donethat #lessonlearned You can thank me later. 😉

6. A comfortable chair to feed, rock and yes, fall asleep in.

For me, I wanted a rocker that reclined because I spent a LOT of time sleeping on that thing. We opted for a leather power rocker recliner from Ashley Furniture that we purchased before our first child was born. I wore that thing out. Literally, the motor broke and now it just rocks. Booo. But it was so worth it. Babies just want to be held like they were in the womb and YOU need to rest. Seriously your only 2 jobs should be keeping the baby alive and taking care of yourself.

5. A swaddle sack – I LOVE the Halo sleep sacks – like this one.

There’s this thing that babies do when they’re sleeping that totally freaks me out – it’s called the startle reflex – and it causes them to wake up from sleep. The sleep sack is amazing because A.) you don’t need to know how to swaddle that baby as they teach you in the hospital – seriously I could NEVER manage it, therefore, destroyed all of my muslin wraps. But maybe you can and that’s AMAZING. B.) It keeps their arms and legs nice and tight so they won’t jerk their bodies and wake themselves up.

4. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon TV, Apple TV – SOMETHING to keep you and possibly your older children entertained while you are nursing that baby, or perhaps, sleeping on the couch.

Don’t judge. Yeah. We watched a lot of TV during those first few months because, cluster feeding. I allowed myself grace to say, it’s ok, my toddler won’t die from watching a little extra TV, it won’t be like this forever, we just need to survive. And we did. And today, a year later, we only watch maybe 30 min. of TV after we come in from being outside while I’m cooking dinner, if it’s Saturday morning or if it’s a family movie.

3. A good baby wearing device.

I did not have one with my first baby and with number 2, I was SO happy I did. I wore that kid everywhere I could as long as humanly possible. Church, outside, inside the house, at the store – you get my drift. I absolutely LOVED my K’Tan Active because I grow big babies who are human furnaces. https://www.babyktan.com/activewrap but there are SO many versions of baby wraps out there. I’m just saying….K’Tan is light, you can pack it in a diaper bag, it adjusts to your body, it’s comfortable, it’s AMAZING.

2. Paper plates and plastic silverware.

You do NOT want to be doing dishes at any point. Yes, I know, the environment, try to find something environmentally friendly but honestly, for a couple months it’s so helpful not having to do dishes and life will be even better if you follow my #1 must have….

1. Freezer meals – this is my #1 MUST HAVE for ANY mom and ideally these are meals that can be cooked in a crock pot, slow cooker, instant pot, whatever pot….you get my drift.

I found meals from The Family Freezer because they come with a shopping list and they were easy to put together. I spent a few hours every afternoon the last month of pregnancy making a few meals at a time. I doubled every recipe so BAM…2 months of meals, plus leftovers for lunch!!! Sometimes 3 months if you could throw in a pizza night, McDonald’s, Subway, casseroles people brought you, eat leftovers or if after a few weeks you feel comfortable cooking again.

Other things you may want

If you can afford it a cleaning service. If I could – I would. Or if you can gift it to a new mom. Do that. Please. Do that.

These items, along with ya know the obvious diapers, wipes, clothes (although you’ll probably be gifted a lot of those too), car seat, and a really good baby bathtub – your first three months home with the baby should be a breeze. Except for that whole, not sleeping thing.

Oh and one last thing. You’re going to be ok Momma. This too shall pass. Ask for help when you need it. And remember it’s ok to tell people NO when they ask to come to visit.