My second baby will be 4 months old tomorrow, and as I come out of the fog of the early months of motherhood I thought I might share some of the things that really helped me to get through the fourth trimester. Being a second time mum, I definitely felt more prepared to handle the fourth trimester and post-partum healing, but regardless, every child is a different experience and there is always help to be sought and tips and tricks to be found. My biggest observation as I look over the list that I’ve put together, is how much support and how many amazing businesses there are on the Gold Coast! I really didn’t need to look further than my own back yard to find the answers to so many of my problems and questions. Without further ado, here’s who helped me get through the fourth trimester.
My second hypnobub, I truly feel that hypnobirthing helped me to have a calm and controlled experience when birthing. While there generally isn’t anything calm about pushing an 8 pound baby out, feeling calm and in control mentally makes all the difference. After both my births, having the opportunity to ‘debrief’ with Kate from Positively Hypnobirthing was really beneficial: it let me relive parts that I wanted to store in my memory forever, it let me talk through the craziness of the experience, and it helped me to feel proud of my birthing journey and say “I did it!”. I’d highly recommend finding someone to have a debrief with post-birth (whether it’s a mid-wife, obstetrician, doula or even a friend).
The first 6 weeks with a newborn are a blur. Days and nights blend into each other, and you exist on a 3 hour feed, sleep and change schedule. Trying to get out of the house is hard, and you will have lots of questions as you and bub get to know each other. Jaz from Te Koha Midwifery Services offer bulk billed home midwife visits, and every new mum needs to know about this! Two hours after we got home from hospital we had our first visit from Jaz, and I was able to get some assistance with feeding in the setting of my own home, in my own rocking chair with my own bits and bobs around me. Our future visits included the diagnosis and treatment of a tongue tie, weekly weigh ins, lots of photos and discussions about baby poos, fussiness and sleeping tips. It was like having a fairy godmother visit!
As any mum knows, your body goes through a lot when growing a tiny human. Then you go through birth and suddenly you’re left with a body that feels foreign – your centre of balance has changed, your strength needs have changed, and you’re healing from having a dinner plate sized placenta removed from your insides. Before embarking on any fitness, I wanted to make sure everything was looking good and get advice on starting back slowly. Phoebe from Bump Fitness knows her stuff. We went through a multiple page checklist questionnaire to get a snapshot of where I stood physically (yep, that included questions about going to the toilet), and then she did an ultrasound and physical assessment of my abdominal separation and core strength. She gave me tips on how to ensure I was exercising properly, as well as things to remember when going about my day with a baby – simple things such as getting up off the floor correctly and bending over the cot. It’s always great to have a post-partum check to ensure you don’t do any permanent damage.
The Child Health Clinics often get a bad review, but I have always found them to be really helpful. Drop in clinics are available across the Gold Coast, allowing you to get your baby weighed and talk about any questions you might have. Being a second time mum, I didn’t think I’d need the clinics that much this time, but boy was I wrong! For the first time ever, I got mastitis and I wanted to do everything I could to avoid that from happening again! Getting to chat to a child health nurse about what could have caused it in my situation and tips for avoiding it again was really useful. I also was able to discuss breastfeeding while on antibiotics and relieve any worries I had. If you haven’t been to one of these before, I highly recommend a visit!
My first baby was a pretty good sleeper, and I put this down to being able to spend the time with him, teaching him his sleep cues and gently helping him learn to settle. Doing this second time round, with a toddler on the loose, was just not going to happen. Thankfully a few friends recommended Baby Sleep Magic to me, and with the help of Chantal we have very quickly overcome each sleep issue as it has arisen. Initially I thought purchasing an app wouldn’t be very helpful, but the endless resources and knowledge, plus the ability to send messages to Chantal with questions is brilliant. A subscription to the Baby Sleep Magic app is now going to be my number 1 baby shower present every time.
As bub woke up and started to interact with the world, so came the challenge of occupying both a toddler and a baby. They have very different needs and I try to make sure they both get one on one time with me that’s useful for their development. I really enjoyed Tania’s Baby Sensory classes with my first born, so I jumped straight on the waiting list once my 2nd was born and started classes at 13 weeks. There are classes just about every day of the week, and at different locations across the Gold Coast. It’s so lovely to be able to spend quality time with bub, and the tips and tricks we can take home with us to share with our partners and family are so valuable. It’s also really fun to do it all again with Tania, and we have a laugh comparing photos of my two bubs doing the same activities, just 3 years apart!
Products that made life SO much easier
Baby Dink Carrier: No more clips, buckles and confusing wrapping. You wear it like a top, but it looks like a baby wrap. It’s the ideal newborn baby carrier!
Baby Shusher: Ever get sick of shushing your baby to sleep? Or stop shushing and baby wakes up? The Baby Shusher is magic. It has just the right shushing sound to rhythmically shush your baby to sleep. I swear by it with both my babies.
Milk & Cookies by Jewels: The best tasting lactation cookies. Ever. No doubt about it, these are milk boosting bundles of goodness. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to the double choc cherry ones.