The fourth trimester, which accurately describes the baby’s first three months of life, is filled with lots of changes for both the baby and the parents. For a family that was just the father and the mother, the welcoming of the new baby changes the family dynamics, either for the better or in some cases, not so much. For someone who is supposed to bond a family together, sometimes a baby can cause resentment between the mother and the father and even the siblings. This resentment often comes when the new mother hordes the baby, leaving no room for the rest of the family and depriving them of the chance to bond.
The first three months of the baby’s life should be a time for the mother and the rest of the family to get their footing and bond with the baby. This time is crucial in the baby’s development as whatever the mother does now will serve as the baby’s cornerstone. By the end of the third month, the baby is ready for a change in routine as well as the care given to him.
While mothers can get away with plenty as they try to balance motherhood and family life, there are some things that the mother should definitely start doing at the end of the fourth trimester.
20 Peek-A-Boo Games
Mothers sometimes wonder what to do with a baby that will excite them seeing as most of the time, they just sit there. For those who have been yearning to see their baby grin from ear to ear in glee, nothing achieves this better and faster than peek-a-boo games.
Babies need to interact with family and caregivers and the little champ will appreciate some stimulating play. The use of toys to make the play more exciting will give the game a little variety. Let the lion hide and appear and you will see how happy the baby will be to be a part of this effortless game.
19 Sensory Play
Sensory games are the best way to achieve this. Just like grown-ups who laugh at tickling or the gentle brush of a feather duster, babies find the teasing of various textures on their skin quite stimulating.
Baby will grin at this and if you are lucky, you get to experience one of those musical chuckles. This game can be played after a bath and can be coupled with a massage, provided the weather is amenable and the room is optimally heated. Care should be taken not to use materials that are too rough or that can bring on a bout of rashes.
18 Put in Some Partner Time
After the birth of a child, most mothers shy away from get close with their partner and if not checked, this trend can go on for years. This is the reason most partners get resentful after the entry of a child, as they do not understand why the woman has a phobia for it.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, it "may be resumed after your [bleeding] has stopped and stitches are healed. Usually, you will have recovered within four to six weeks following delivery. You and your partner should decide together, with the advice of your health care provider, when to resume.”
17 Prop The Baby Up
For the past three months, the baby has been lying down in his crib as we observed the development of his core muscles. At the end of the fourth trimester, it is now time to see the world from a different angle. If mom has been observing the tummy time routine religiously, the baby has enough muscles to hold him up.
The rule here is not to prop him up if his neck muscles are still not strong enough to hold his heavy head up. Propping up should be a gradual thing. One should not let the baby sit up for too long in the first few sessions.
16 Look In Mirrors
There is play at this age that stimulates the baby’s brain development for the better. What one needs to remember is that a child should be assisted to hit his milestones and looking in mirrors will be amusing, not only to him but to you too.
According to Parents, “Attach an unbreakable mirror to the crib or next to the changing table so your baby can see his face and movements. Place a large mirror low on the wall so he can look at himself when he is playing on the floor. Your baby won't understand that he's looking at his own reflection, but he will enjoy seeing that person moving his arms and smiling at him.”
15 Rock The Baby
For the first three months, the baby is handled with extreme care because not only is his neck not strong enough to hold the weight of the head, he is still too young for some vigorous movements. Babies grow up too fast and before one knows it, that tiny human is now a grown up.
For those who have been restraining themselves from holding the baby for fear that he will get spoiled, it is time to hold the baby up ad rock him, dance a jig or two and enjoys this age. He loved being rocked in the womb and he will love the rocking, after all, it is only for a short time.
14 Provide Noisy Toys
By the end of the fourth trimester, it may be time to give him those irritatingly noisy toys every mom wishes they didn't have. Toys are a great way to stimulate the baby’s senses, whether silent or noisy. Not only are the textures stimulating for the child, but the noise also serves to stimulate his brain development.
According to Parents, "Provide toys that make music or different sounds, especially those that make noise whenever your baby touches them. He'll learn that the cause and effect of hitting particular toys are getting to hear pleasant sounds. Show your baby how different objects have different sounds by comparing a bell to a rattle or a drum."
13 Have Quiet Times
There are those times when the baby just needs some peace and quiet. People tend to think that to entertain the baby, he needs to always be tickled and have toys shoved in his face. The same way a grown-up would be irritated by this behavior the baby feels this too when people insist on turning him into an entertainment spot.
Kids can get easily confused and the world may seem bigger than they can handle. It is a good idea to let him just be whether it is during breastfeeding or as he takes in that vitamin D. If the baby seems disinterested, it may be time to give him a reprieve.
12 Give Baby Different Textures
As soon as babies are able to pick up objects, the one thing they usually do is put the object in their mouths. This is called the oral stage and it is the only way that the baby explores the items around him and learns to recognize them. The baby will also chew on mom’s finger in an effort to figure out what it is.
To help stimulate his sensory nerves, mom should look for easy to clean toys and items for the baby to touch and put in his mouth. Care should be taken to ensure that the items are always clean to prevent illness and infections.
11 Read To The Baby
The best way to interact with the baby is to read colorful story and picture books to your with your three-month-old child. Babies love looking at the bright colors and bold, contrasting patterns as they listen to mommy's voice.
Mom may think it is too early to do this, but the truth is, it is never too early to stimulate the baby's brain with reading or music. To make the reading session interesting, it may be a good idea to imitate voices as early as this age and before long, the baby will be looking forward to these reading sessions that are just him and mommy.
10 Talk To The Baby
When we attend our prenatal clinics, the first thing we are taught is that to bond with the baby, we need to talk to him despite how ridiculous that may seem. This one-sided conversation helps to ensure that the baby is able to recognize mom’s voice from the womb.
Talking to the baby has also been known to keep depression at bay for the mother. In the fourth trimester, mom should ensure that she talks to the baby often and that she maintains eye contact as she does so. It will still be a one-sided conversation, but with time mom will notice that the baby coos in response.
9 Sing To Baby Before Bed
Babies respond very well to music right from the womb. Singing a lullaby to the baby is a sure way to get him to sleep, as well as bond the baby to the mother. Singing is also a good way to develop the baby’s language skills.
As the baby grows, the lullabies we sing them are going to be a part of their language skills and most moms discover that the baby sings along to the familiar lullabies of his childhood. Babies even start to clap along to the music as soon as they are able to put their hands together.
8 Stick To A Sleep Routine
Babies sleep and adjust better to life when a routine they can follow is set. Establishing a bedtime routine will help make an otherwise strange world a more predictable for him. Toddlers tend to fight sleep for as long as possible. If mom does not put him to sleep, he is more likely to get more and more frustrated, tired and cranky.
Some people prefer to bathe the baby and give him a massage before reading him a bedside story. This can establish a routine that the baby expects and knows that each time this happens that it is bedtime. There are some people prefer to let the baby sleep on their chest, but what they do not realize is that this will be a hard habit to break once the baby is weaned.
7 Extra Skin To Skin Contact
Babies respond very well to having their ski stimulated. This helps heighten their senses. According to Bounty, “As well as different materials, it's important that you get lots of skin to skin contact with your baby. Not only does it help the bonding experience of you and your baby, but it can also be a real comfort for them if they're upset or irritable.
A great way to increase the amount of skin to skin contact you have with your baby is to try some baby massage. This can be as simple as rubbing some baby oil into your baby’s skin while talking to them.”
6 Tummy Time
When the baby is younger, what we do is to place him on his tummy, but the minute he expresses his displeasure, mom is always quick to stop the fussing. By the end of the fourth trimester, it may be time to scale up the tummy time activity. The baby may not like it because he will have to work some to change his view.
According to Sensory Lifestyle, "This continues to be an essential sensory activity in your baby's everyday routine. It helps to build coordination and strengthens your baby's neck, shoulders, arms, and trunk. These muscles also help with motor skills such as rolling over, crawling, pulling himself up and sitting up.”
5 Grasp And Hold
As the baby’s muscles develop, the baby will be able to do some things that at the time will gladden mom’s heart and make her happy to see that the baby is reaching all his milestones.
According to Sensory Lifestyle, "Your little one should be able to grasp an object for a short period of time. So go ahead and encourage their eye-hand coordination skills. Hold out different toys or objects and see if they will reach for them. Try to give them things that can be easily grasped. Don't be surprised if the object quickly moves to their mouth. If it's safe, allow them to explore it."
4 Diaper-Free Time
The need for diaper-free time can never be overemphasized. As much as this can be quite messy, since babies tend to take the freedom of no diaper to mean funny accidents, keeping a baby diaper free exposes him to some good bacteria, as well as the bad bacteria.
This exposure is what will help the baby to fight opportunistic infections whenever they appear. The use of a waterproof pad will help mom reduce these tiny accidents and if one is observant, you will notice just how happy the baby is rolling around bare. He should however, not be kept this way for too long to prevent exposure to colds.
3 Stop Eating for Two
It is the fourth trimester and we do not remember the last time we saw our feet or were able to scrub them. Before we could get away with the “I am pregnant” excuse, but towards the end of the fourth trimester, that excuse starts to wear down.
Mothers gain more when breastfeeding than they did while pregnant because breastfeeding tends to make moms very hungry. The breastfeeding hunger is what makes a mother take in a lot more calories than is required. If mom wants to ever bounce back, this may be the time to stop eating for two.
2 Get Some Help
When we have a baby, most of us want to prove to the world that we can do it. We want to be good mothers and for most of us, not being able to do it single handedly translates to being a bad mother. A new mother is a harassed mother and it is not a bad thing to keep the room untidy because everything hurts and the baby just won’t sleep.
For those who have been there, we know there is nothing wrong with not being able to do it all on our own without help. For moms who have been trying to prove they are super mama, the end of the fourth trimester is time to get some help.
1 Give Baby A Pacifier
Today’s Parent says that moms who plan to breastfeed are often advised to hold on before giving the baby a pacifier, at least until the baby gets the breastfeeding routine down. Pacifiers are said to cause confusion for the baby and often times, babies who are given a pacifier too early tend to refuse the rest.
By the end of the fourth trimester, this will no longer be an issue and it is now time to give the baby the pacifier and have some wailing free time. Babies who have been known to be a bit too cranky tend to mellow down when given a pacifier.