Motherhood is an incredibly journey filled with both highs and lows. In many ways, it can be the most rewarding experience of your life--bringing new life into this world and being called ‘mom’ for the first time is an emotion that no one can fully understand until they experience it. Yet, at the same time, there are challenges that we face during the postpartum period, many of which we feel unprepared for.
While the postpartum period looks different for everyone, there’s nothing like hearing advice from women who have experienced it for themselves. That’s exactly why we’ve put together this fourth trimester guide!
At Majka, we don’t want you to navigate the postpartum period alone. The goal in everything we do is to create a loving, accepting, and uplifting community that you can count on throughout your motherhood journey. In order to honor our incredible community, we put together this guide filled with advice from our very own Majka mamas!
What Is The Fourth Trimester?
The fourth trimester begins the moment your little one is born, lasting until they are around 3 months old. Your baby spent nine months in the comfortable home of your belly and is now a tiny little thing in a great big world. As you can imagine, these first 3 months of life are filled with incredible changes and development as you adjust to mom life and your little one becomes familiar with life outside the womb.
This time is exciting, scary, exhausting, and rewarding all at once. For this reason, both mom and baby need plenty of love and support to make this transition easier.
Advice From Our Community
Learn valuable tips from our community of mamas, based on their own experiences!
Recruit the help you’ll need
Leaning on those around you for support is essential during the fourth trimester. Set up in-home help in some shape or form, whether it’s family, a postpartum doula, mother’s helpers, a night nanny, or a housekeeper.
Additionally, have your postpartum care providers picked out and ready, including an in-home lactation consultant, chiropractic care, newborn specialist, or any other professionals you feel can help you on this journey. - Cynthia Spenia
Nourish your body
Mamas, nutrition is incredibly important during the fourth trimester! In order to support postpartum healing and breastfeeding, a woman needs a variety of balanced meals and snacks that offer nutrient dense foods. During this time, continue taking not only your prenatal vitamins but extra fish oil, B vitamins, and magnesium to support and avoid postpartum depletion. Ensure your diet includes a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
Nutrition is not about perfection. Rather, it’s about treating the body well and giving it the nutrients needed to promote recovery from pregnancy, support mental health and wellness, and provide the energy needed to sustain milk supply if breastfeeding. Make sure to check out our breastfeeding diet tips and our one-week grocery guide to learn even more!
Make time for YOU
As a new mom, it’s so easy to sip into a routine of caring for your little one and growing family. Before you know it, you’ll realize that this schedule can leave you tired and drained. Not making time for yourself will have a negative impact on your health, and it will eventually start to hinder your ability to care for those around you.
Remember that self-care is incredibly important at this time, so make it a goal to do at least one kind thing for yourself each day. It can be as small as taking a bath, reading for 15 minutes, or even going outside for some fresh air. The point is to make time to do something that brings you joy every day. It isn’t ‘selfish’ to continue to spend time on your hobbies and pursue your goals!
Master your own food habits before baby comes
When your little one arrives, your world will revolve around them. For this reason, it’s so important to establish healthy habits for yourself beforehand. This will make it so much easier to stick to them! Make sure you’re eating a diet rich in the nutrients you’ll need to sustain your busy schedule. - Cynthia Spenia
Let go of trying to ‘get your body back’ immediately
The truth is that the pregnancy takes an enormous toll on a women’s body, and recovering from birth is a delicate and slow process that takes intention and support. This is in stark contrast to the mainstream messages that women are flooded with after having their babies, including, “Get your body back!”, “Lose the baby weight!”, and “Bounce back quickly!”.
Postpartum wellness has been misinterpreted as weight loss, but in actuality, a woman’s body needs careful attention for recovery and healing in the form of nourishing foods, rest, and support. The pursuit of postpartum recovery should not be weight loss but rather, giving the body the optimal nutrition needed to heal from the transformative journey of pregnancy. - Crystal Karges, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, & mama of 5
Be aware of the signs of baby blues and postpartum depression
“Baby blues,” the mild form of postpartum depression, typically occurs within 10 days after childbirth, peaking at day three to five. Although onset is quick, baby blues often fades after two to three days. Baby blues’ symptoms are most commonly expressed as anxiety, depressed mood, crying spells, irritability, sleep or appetite irregularity, or lack of emotional connection towards the baby.
As a new mama, it’s important to become aware of these symptoms and take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you find yourself struggling with postpartum depression, know that you’re not alone--40-85 percent of women experience baby blues and 10-15 percent of women will develop postpartum depression. Good nutrition and having a strong support system is so important during the fourth trimester, as it can help to combat symptoms of the baby blues.
Remember that slow is fast
What we mean when we say this is that the slower that you take in your postpartum healing journey, the faster you end up recovering. It also means that the slower that you move through foundational, innate movements (like the Functional Progression), the faster that you’ll learn from your body in how to best support it. And the slower the pace you take with life in general, the faster you tend to enjoy it. - Lindsay Mumma, doctor of chiropractic, Regional Director for BIRTHFIT NC, and owner of Triangle Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Center
Know that it’s okay to say ‘no’
During the fourth trimester, your job is to look out for the health of you and your baby! Don’t be afraid to turn people away when you need alone time or baby bonding time. Remember that you know best, mama!
Believe that you know best
Throughout the extremely vulnerable and beautiful process of raising your newborn (and any age child for that matter!), I want to empower you to believe that you know best. And to acknowledge and be grateful to everyone out there that has been helpful to you and your journey so far.
Gratitude for your village, tribe, and whomever has helped offer you guidance online is important, no doubt. However, I’m going to circle it back to you and say, please believe that you know best. Final recipe: gratitude + self-trust + self-love. - Antoinette Beauchamp, Life Coach & Co-Founder of The AB Method
Stay on your own path
While advice from others can be invaluable, remember that your journey may be different than your friend’s or mom’s. Everyone heals and grows in their own way and every woman’s motherhood journey is unique! Stay focused on you, and don’t let others’ opinions or societal pressures influence the way you view your journey.
Find levity during the postpartum period
It can be a really stressful time, so it’s crucial to be able to laugh with your partner and remember that you can get through this together. Being able to laugh with my husband at mistakes made or times of frustration brought us closer together and helped keep everything in perspective. - Amy Chang, @bondeanvant
Join a supportive community
As a mom, it’s easy to feel alone or isolated at times. For this reason, finding a supportive and loving community is priceless. Whether it’s via social media or in-person, build your tribe of mamas who will rally around you when times are hard and celebrate with you when times are good.
Savor each and every moment
Time goes by incredibly fast, especially during the postpartum period. This time with your baby is precious and you’ll only get to experience it with them once. Don’t let the pressures of society make you feel like you have to ‘bounce back’ right away - lay in bed, snuggle with your little bundle of joy, and relax.
Stock up on supplies
After giving birth, you’ll most likely find that your loved ones will shower you with gifts for your little one...but don’t forget to take care of you! Here are a few helpful essentials to stock up on before baby comes:
- Baby sling
- Nipple cream
- Firming gel
- Restorative skin balm
- Comfy undies
- Body oil
- Maternity pads
- Majka Shaker, Nourishing Lactation Powder & Lactation Bites
Curl up with a good book
There are so many incredible books out there all about the postpartum period! When baby lies down for a nap, consider checking out this list of reads:
- The First Forty Days: The Essential Art Of Nourishing The New Mother by Heng Ou
- The Postnatal Depletion Cure: A Complete Guide to Rebuilding Your Health and Reclaiming Your Energy for Mothers of Newborns, Toddlers, and Young Children by Oscar Serrallach
- "The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions and Restoring Your Vitality" by Kimberly Ann Johnson
- "Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood - and Trusting Yourself and Your Body" by Erica Chidi Cohen
What tips have been helpful for you during the fourth trimester? We would love to hear from you in the comments below! Also, be sure to connect with us on our Instagram to join our amazing community of mamas!