The fourth trimester
That's right, baby expert Megan Faure says the the fourth trimester is in the womb you create.
Your little bundle of joy is less mature and more vulnerable than any other mammal at birth. He depends on you for nutrition and basic care. Also, your newborn needs help regulating his body temperature, his sleep wake cycles and even his mood.
Sometimes a newborn has such a hard time regulating his mood and calming himself, he develops colic and may cry for extended periods of time. This early infant crying is generally limited to the first three months.
The ability of a baby to self sooth and regulate his mood develops during the first three months after birth. According to leading infant specialist Dr Stanley Greenspan, during this time a key developmental task of the newborn is to begin to regulate his mood in the presence of sensory input and to attend happily to stimulation without becoming overwhelmed. This develops during the period we call the ‘fourth trimester’.
Although it’s the last thing any woman wants to hear at 38 weeks of pregnancy, most babies would really benefit from an extra three months in utero. A fourth trimester of pregnancy would allow the baby to be born more mature and able to cope with interactions, stimulation and to be able to self sooth. Of course this is simply not possible so our human babies are born immature and in need of some serious nurturing, as opposed to other mammals who are swimming (whales) or walking within hours of birth.
As parents how can we provide a fourth trimester of womb world, without literally doing so? Re-create the womb world for your newborn:Touch
– Swaddle your baby. Swaddling mimics the womb world as your baby’s immature little movements press against a boundary, much like the elastic walls of the uterus. The deep pressure of a tightly wrapped cotton swaddling blanket provides calming touch pressure and neutral warmth.Movement
– Carry your baby. Movement is lulling and soothing and most newborns crave to be close to their mom or dad. Don't worry about spoiling your baby in the early days. Use a sling to create a real womb space
with deep pressure and the movement of your body.Sights
– Limit visual stimulation in the early days. While it is vital to stimulate your baby’s visual skills, visual input is very potent and can over stimulate your baby easily so time visual activities carefully. Have a mobile over the changing mat, not over the cot. Limit time under a play gym to 5 to 10 minutes in the early days. When your baby looks away from you or an activity, respect the time out he requires and remove the stimulus.Sounds
– Play womb sounds to your baby. Sounds in utero are the white noise sounds of your heartbeat, the gushes of your blood and digestive sounds. Background white noise sound settles newborns in the early days.