Fourth trimester: 6 ways to get the support you really need once bub arrives

Bringing home a new baby is tough work, but the fourth trimester is all about taking it easy and going slow while you’re learning the ropes of breastfeeding, dealing with sleep deprivation and coping with your brand new responsibility.

While having a loving partner and great friends and family around is a wonderful thing, support can come in so many different forms, and having a variety of these lined up for when your baby arrives will make it so much easier for you to relax and enjoy getting to know your new baby.

Here are 6 ways you can get the support you really need once bub arrives:

1. Stay in hospital longer

If you’re in a private hospital make sure you stay there for as long as you can to make the most of the 24-hour assistance and get the rest your body needs. If you’re in a public hospital you’ll be discharged within a couple of days (slightly longer if you’ve had a c-section), as long as everything’s okay. Avoid feeling overly confident and trying to leave hospital any earlier than this. You might miss your creature comforts from home, but the on-tap support you get in the hospital is worth the extra night’s stay if you can get it.

Read more about the fourth trimester:

2. Hire a postpartum doula

A postpartum doula can help you and your family adjust to the new person in your house by providing emotional and practical support in the early weeks. This includes assistance with breastfeeding, helping you settle the baby, help with general baby care, making sure you have food and meals prepared and assisting with household tasks such as unloading the dishwasher and helping with laundry. If you have older children, a postpartum doula can also help them adjust to their new sibling.

3. Be honest with your partner

You might want to paste a smile on your face and tell your partner you’re coping brilliantly with your new baby, but withholding the truth about how you’re feeling isn’t going to help. Let your partner know if you’re finding any aspects of motherhood difficult, whether it’s too many visitors for your liking or not coping with overnight feeds. If he doesn’t know what’s troubling you, he can’t offer suggestions to make it easier, and besides, a problem shared is a problem halved – a cliche, but it’s true.

4. Get your visitors busy

All visitors say the same thing: ‘Let me know if you need anything!’, but most of us rarely utter a need to anyone, preferring to tough it out ourselves and go without some much needed help and assistance. But in the interests of taking care of yourself, put it out there anyway. Make it easy on yourself and together with your partner, come up with a list of household things you’d both like help with. Stick it on the fridge and next time someone asks, get them to check the list and pick an item off it. People that love you really want to be active – in fact giving them a task will make them feel truly useful to you and will probably get them an extra cuddle with your gorgeous baby, so really, you’re doing them a favour by enlisting their help.

5. Ask a relative to stay over

This one might not be for everyone, but if you have a keen mum or mother-in-law, or someone similar who is too far away to visit every day, consider asking them to stay with you for a couple of weeks after the baby arrives or when your partner goes back to work. This will give you amazing emotional and practical support, plus you’ll be able to shower and go to the toilet without worrying about your baby. Believe me, that’s an incredible luxury! Not only this but they’ll fuss and care about you and make sure you’re eating and generally feeling okay about everything. Think about it!

6. Outsource everything

If you have it in the budget, hire a cleaner for a few weeks once baby arrives so anything to do with household upkeep is taken care of. The same goes for cooking and shopping. Once you’ve batch-cooked your own meals, consider your options for healthy takeaway food so cooking doesn’t have to be an issue, and you don’t find yourself eating the same meal night after night. Also, set yourself up for online grocery shopping, which can take you 10 minutes to order and have delivered. No need to deal with noisy supermarkets with a tiny baby in tow!

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