When I was pregnant with Jemma I made one big mistake. Well, probably more than one, but there is definitely a more prominent one when I look back at my earliest parenting experience. I thought that if I prepared enough for pregnancy and labor that everything else would be a piece of cake.
Pregnancy is a set 9 months or so. Labor, also, doesn’t last forever. But parenting? It lasts forever! And that first stage of parenting, the 4th trimester is a super important, delicate time. Those 3 months after baby is born are incredibly special for mom as she recovers. For baby as he/she bonds. And truly, for the whole family as they adjust to a new normal. After Jemma was born I don’t think I even recognized that I was entering something new – a trimester that warrants as much, if not more, preparation than pregnancy and labor.
As I wrap up my 3rd trimester with baby #3 I’m heavy into my 4th trimester preparation. I know better this time. Labor prep is all well and good, but it’s the 4th trimester that I really need supplies for and help lined up. Lately I’ve been asked if I’m “done” or “ready” and really, I’m not yet. I know all too well that no matter how tired or uncomfortable I get now, it’s easiest to take care of this little one when he is tucked safe inside of me. But I know that won’t last forever, sooner or later, birth will happen … and it will be great … and then I’ll move into my most prepared for 4th trimester yet :)
In case you’re wondering what I mean by all this preparation specific to the 4th trimester. Well, it’s pretty simple. Think about the things you need when you’re sick or hurt; essentials for recovery mode. Get all that ready for yourself. Think about what you can let go of and what you can ask others to do for you. Then, add on top of that a big wave of emotions and a brand new baby who needs an attentive care taker. That’s what spurred my list of items to have ready for the 4th trimester. I hope it helps you as undergo your own preparation!
Essentials For Baby
Disposable Diapers — Stock up on Huggies Little Snugglers next time you’re at Sam’s Club (best deal I’ve found!) and make diapering that little one easy peasy in the first few weeks and months. Because, meconium … hello! Toss that mess! Even better, with a Sam’s Club membership you get free shipping on diapers and wipes – BOOM!
Olive Oil — Speaking of meconium, keep a bottle of olive oil close to the diaper station and use a dab to help wipe off the meconium.
Bamboo Swaddles — When we’re at home my littles rarely wear clothes, just tiny little diapers. To keep them warm I’m either wearing them or swaddling them up in my favorite fabric of all, bamboo!
Sound Machine With Heartbeat Setting — Being out of the womb is a brand new experience for babies! This time I’m planning to comfort my little guy with a mama like heartbeat setting when he’s napping solo.
Calendula Cream — For skin irritations I usually turn to calendula cream. It’s great for their diaper area, cradle cap, and other unknowns that pop up in those first few weeks.
Essentials For Mom
Padsicles — These are brilliant and oh so helpful for helping mama heal down there after baby. Purchase a package of maxi pads and unwrap them, layer with aloe vera gel, 1 tablespoon of witch hazel, and 3 drops of lavender essential oil. Place in a large bowl and freeze. The goal is for it to freeze in a curved form so it will easily fit into mama’s underwear postpartum.
Postpartum Sitz Bath — Another way to heal postpartum. I prefer these herbs in a shallow bath or in a peri bottle.
Peri Bottle — The first few pees after baby aren’t the most comfortable thing. Aim to give yourself a little peri squirt and then dab rather than wiping your healing lady bits.
Hydrogen Peroxide — This gem gets out all sorts of birth related stains. Get a bottle, or two, or three. Fine, fine … I have four :)
Paper Plates — Forget doing the dishes! The 4th trimester is officially the season of paper plates!
Meal Train — You do not need to be in the kitchen after having a baby! Coordinate meal deliveries or budget a bit extra for take out.
Cabbage — When your milk comes in, it can be mega overwhelming and painful. Cabbage releases a gas that can calm milk supply so have a bit on hand and tuck it inside your bra when the pain becomes too much to bear. And, if you don’t need the cabbage … make Chinese Chicken Salad!
Nursing Pads — On the note of milk, have nursing pads handy and lots of them! It’s never fun to run out of the in the middle of the night.
Nursing Tank — While your milk supply is regulating, forget regular bras! Opt for non-underwire ones, sports bras, or just nursing tanks.
Robe — Want to feel pretty right after going through the craziness of birth? Have a fancy robe on hand for those first few baby snuggle photos.
Phone Photo Apps — As much as I always hope that I’ll grab my real camera, most of my favorite photos are taken on my phone. So, great apps are a must! I love VSCO, PicTapGo, A Beautiful Mess, Rhonna Designs, and Obaby.
Battery Operated Candles — This might not be truly essential, but for night nursing, I love having a candle going. And, thanks to sleep deprivation, battery operated is the way to go. No fire allowed for this tired mom.
Boppy Pillow — Nursing support is a must and the Boppy makes that happen. Over the years I’ve actually gathered three … one for next to my bed, one in the baby’s room, and another by the couch downstairs. Keep an eye out for kid’s consignment sales and you can grab spares for $5-10.
Hair Ties — The true essential here is: DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO CUT YOUR HAIR DURING THE 4TH TRIMESTER. You’re emotional and don’t fit into regular clothes. This may lead you to think a hair cut will make everything better. Just don’t. Buy some cute hair ties or a couple awesome headbands and just pull that hair back until like stabilizes.
Leggings — Forget pants, buy yourself comfortable leggings to wear while your body adjusts to postpartum life.
Nook or Kindle — With new babies you spend a lot of time sitting and nursing. There is a lot of temptation to scroll Facebook or other mindless phone apps, but think about opting for some real reading of the book kind during those sitting sessions.
Baby Book — For your 4th trimester make sure you have a baby book purchased and ready to go. That way you know what pages to be capturing photos for and what memories to jot down in those early days.
Thank You Notes — Granted, everyone will give you grace if you forget to send a thank you during your postpartum days, but, if you have note cards on hand you’re more likely to get it done.
Rescue Remedy — I love this supplement in both tincture and little candy type form. Moms pretty much need this stuff on tap for the 4th trimester and beyond.
Placenta Pills — Last, but not least! You all know my love for placenta pills <3
*** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ***
To give you a little jumpstart on preparing for your 4th trimester (or help a friend get ready for theirs!) feel free to enter the giveaway below! You can stock up on Huggies Little Snugglers or other postpartum essentials on your next trip to Sam’s Club!