Life - February 21, 2023

My Fourth Trimester Recap

brighton butler 4th trimester recap

One of the things I wish people talked about more before you have a baby is the fourth trimester. I’d honestly never heard of it before I had Four, and I was kind of blindsided after coming home with him (for many reasons lol like the biggest ice storm to hit Dallas in years).

Basically, the fourth trimester is the 3 months of your baby’s life. Aka the newborn phase. It’s when you and your baby are adjusting to life outside the womb, so it involves a lot of crying and fussiness for your baby… and lots of exhaustion for mamas.

Even if you have the perfect newborn, this is still a tiring time because they’re waking up a million times in the night to eat, and you’re still recovering from GIVING BIRTH TO A HUMAN. Not to mention the fact that your hormones are allll over the place. It’s a wild ride, trust me.

I had a lot of you ask how I was doing right after Blake was born, so I thought it might be nice to recap everything in a fourth-trimester blog post. I’ll try to answer as many questions as I remember, but if there’s something specific I missed, comment on this post, and I’ll do my best to answer it!

brighton butler 4th trimester recap

My Fourth Trimester Recap

How did your recovery from childbirth go?

It was a lot better than with Four! I think this was partially because I knew what to expect. It’s crazy how much I’ve already forgotten about that season of life though, and it’s only been a few months. I’ve found that it’s basically a blur for the first 6-8  weeks of a newborn’s life at least. Admittedly, the newborn stage is not my favorite. I really thrive in the 6-9 month time period lol. And I’ve been loving two so far with Four — although I’m a little nervous about what’s to come.

Did Blake immediately sleep well?

Does any baby?? Lol. No, she did not. I mean, she slept okay compared to some babies I’m sure. I’ve heard stories from my friends who had babies that were up every hour at night for months. We had no glaring issues, but we’re at 5 months now, and we’re still doing a dream feed every night. With Four, he was sleeping 12 hours at night by month three. 

How long did it take you to get into a good routine?

About three months I felt like I could finally come up for air. She felt so fragile during the first three months of her life, and we struggled to get into a rhythm with her schedule.

I tried to follow Moms On Call (expecting mamas, I highly recommend this book!) as best I could, but it was sometimes hard to apply because she wouldn’t eat quickly enough or would simply refuse to finish the bottle. Then, she wouldn’t be able to make it to the next feeding. It’s as if she wanted to snack every 90 minutes all day long. It took a lot of patience, burping, and persistence to get all her ounces in. Four was similar in that he took forever to eat as well. As a result, each feeding felt pressure-filled. 

I’d say at around the fourth month, I started to feel confident with what I could expect from her on any given day. It was around this point that I was able to start making other life plans around her schedule because I kind of knew what to expect if that makes sense. I’d read it takes about three months, and I found it helpful to remind myself of this during that season when things got hard. So if you’re in that season, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

brighton butler 4th trimester recap

What were your biggest physical changes this time around?

For me, everything was basically the same… just more lol. I gain weight everywhere during my pregnancies, but this time I gained more. My boobs get HUGE during pregnancy, and this time they got even bigger. And with both of those changes, it has taken longer the second time around for me to return to some level of normalcy. I’m almost at 5 months and I still have added weight. However, I’m actually trying to lose the weight this time whereas last time, it sort of just fell off my body. I was back in my usual jeans at four months with Four. And this time, I’m still working towards that. 

Even though I’m getting close to the weight I was before I had Blake, I do feel like the stretching of my body this second time around is leaving more of an impact. Specifically, my stomach and uterus have gone down but there’s this “pouch” that has remained and makes me look as if I’m four months pregnant in fitted dresses. I will probably need to address that specifically at some point because I don’t think it’s weight-related or something that will go away if I lose weight. 

I’ve also noticed that my hair has started falling out at the same time around four months. I am NOT looking forward to what that will look like this spring — and then the regrowth that will inevitably begin over the summer. Goodness, postpartum hair loss is not fun. 

Did you experience any baby blues?

Surprisingly, I did not. My hormones tend to wait to get crazy for me until about the three-month mark. It’s usually at this time (three months) that I start to feel a little more unstable than usual. It happened the same way with Four. Fortunately, this time around, I know better how to cope and what to expect. I know what I need to do to get through it.

brighton butler 4th trimester recap

Did you nurse Blake at all?

I did! I nursed her for about six weeks. My goal was two weeks, so I consider that a major win! It actually worked with Blake, which was really refreshing. She was immediately able to latch after I gave birth. I wondered if her being able to nurse without major complications (like I had with Four) would make me like it more. It did not lol.

I enjoyed it during the honeymoon stage (those first two weeks), and then I started thinking through how I wanted to transition as the whole concept of nursing/pumping/etc. makes me personally feel trapped. I used to feel ashamed of this, but I am so glad I’ve broken free from that and can own it. 

When did you feel like you got out of the newborn fog?

Do you ever get out of it?? Lol. Just kidding. I feel like the first six weeks are pretty foggy and chaotic. For me, there is a bit of a lift at the end of six-ish weeks- where I’m able to wrap my head around the new reality. Not in the sense that I’ve got control of it — hardly! But rather in the sense that It’s been six weeks of this new reality. And then an even bigger fog lift usually happens around three months when you can finally get into a good routine and feel more in control of things.

Here are a few other motherhood-related blog posts you might like too!

Blake’s Birth Story
Four’s Birth Story
How Motherhood Has Changed Me
What I’ve Learned From Transitioning From 1 to 2 Kids
A Day In the Life As a Mom of Two