The Fourth Trimester Guide
The Fourth Trimester Guide
Every mother’s journey to motherhood is unique. The same can be said of her postpartum experience. And just as it’s critical to remind a woman in labor that it’s a temporary condition, it’s lifesaving to remember everything that comes after—cradle cap, colic, sleeplessness, feeling that your body is not your own—is temporary. Being prepared, however, can make the process, however brief it may be, that much easier to get through.
Stuff They Don’t Tell You
There’s no lack of opinions and advice that fly around when there’s a baby on the way. And once the little bundle of joy arrives, the village is focused on raising the child—leaving the new mother to navigate the fourth trimester on her own. Which is why most postpartum women we know walk around in a state of WTF for a while. There is good news, and you will come out the other side: These goop moms are proof.
“I had extreme dry eyes for months. I would wake up and my eyes would feel like they were glued shut. I tried eye drops, but nothing really helped—the dryness just went away on its own after I stopped breastfeeding.”
—Colleen Kennedy Cohen,
senior director, events
“A good chunk of those first few months with baby were spent listening to some of my nearest and dearest complain that they don’t get to see enough of the baby. There was guilt. And then there was annoyance. Finding a tool that lets me beam pictures of the little guy directly onto their smart frames, whether they’re across town or across the country, has served as a great close second to nuzzling him in person.”
—Kate Wolfson, executive editor
“I got crazy tendonitis in my forearm/elbow for the first eight months from holding the baby, which apparently is common. I got this brace, which was super helpful.”
—wendy lauria, VP of marketing
Maternity Pads Amazon, $8
Body Mask goop, $48
Instant Facial goop, $125
“I got CRAZY keratosis pilaris (these white bumps all over my arms) with both boys. It lasted for about six weeks. I also missed the memo that some women have a heavy period for up to six weeks and need to lay in a heavy supply of pads because you can’t use tampons. That knowledge would have saved me a panicked trip to CVS. Also: Tucks Pads with witch hazel for your undercarriage. For some women, whether they get hemorrhoids or not, everything just hurts.”
—Elise Loehnen, chief content officer
“A Guinness a day does wonders
—Danielle Pergament, editor in chief
“Sweats! (Nothing helped.)”
—Blair Lawson, chief merchandising officer
“In hindsight, I would have allocated resources toward a postpartum doula and also a placenta encapsulation service. There are several different methods, but the general idea is the same—it’s dehydrated and then turned into a powder.”
—roxanne marie, senior buyer
Note: If you’re into the idea, Erica Chidi Cohen
suggests Feel Good Placenta.
“I told my doctor days after delivering that I thought I was still leaking amniotic fluid, and he informed me that I was just peeing on myself. So the complete lack of bladder control that persisted for months was a big shocker, not to mention totally inconvenient. My number one hero product was essentially adult diapers. I also liked this chic, extra absorbent underwear.”
—roxanne marie, senior buyer
“Hemorrhoids. This happens to a lot of women and is never talked about.” —Meredith Schroeder, senior director, fashion
“Establish a clear schedule for who is changing the baby next (like: I do five, then you do five, or whatever works). Otherwise it’s going to be you, and you’ll fill with resentment. Toughest thing about having a baby, I think: The person who was your love object, your partner, suddenly becomes a person you’re trying to manipulate into doing menial labor. A clear and fair division that doesn’t have to be negotiated in real time is key.”
—Jean Godfrey-June, beauty director
“Babies don’t need soap or shampoo at all. Unless they’re covered in dirt, poop, etc. And even then, warm water is usually fine. They need oils and salves and diaper rash creams, but shampooing a baby is a drying, irritating waste of time and money.”
—Jean Godfrey-June, beauty director
“I was so out of it in the hospital after a pretty traumatic birth that my husband had no choice but to step up—he did the swaddling, the diapering, the soothing. Deputizing him in the hospital meant he was super competent and confident by the time we got home.”
—Kate Wolfson, executive editor
The Postpartum Registry
Did you put adult mesh underwear on your baby registry? How about a tub of nipple cream? This annotated registry focuses on the indispensable products to help parents, mamas specifically, heal and thrive.
Fridet the Momwasher Fridababy, $16A strategically designed squirt bottle that squirts upside down.
mamaRoo Multi plush seat
A safe, visually appealing little nest to put baby in to give your arms a break. It moves up and down rather than side to side to mimic the sensation of being held.
Willow Wearable Breast Pump
The promise of completely hands-free, app-operated pumping. A godsend for anyone not keen on washing a ton of pump parts after every session.
goop THE MOTHER LOAD
goop, $90.00 / $75.00 with subscriptionYou can take this comprehensive vitamin and supplement protocol prior to conception, while pregnant, and after baby.
Mesh Postpartum Underwear
Amazon, $12These are exactly like the hospital-issued ones (in case you didn’t grab enough on your way out).
Dr. Harvey Karp
Happiest Baby DVD Amazon, $9Watch it and learn.
The Osso Goods Co. Beef Bone Broth
Osso Goods, $10Bone broth is nourishing, warming, and easy to digest.
Body Oil goop, $82Parched skin comes with the territory. Rich creams and oils that smell incredible also serve as small, but priceless, acts of self-care.
Pete’s Paleo Chicken Bone Broth
Osso Goods, $68Bone broth is nourishing, warming, and easy to digest.
Sangre de Fruta
Body Cream goop, $48
The Happiest Baby On the Block:
White Noise Sleep Sounds App iTunes, $10The strong hair-dryer sound in particular seems to work like magic to soothe fussiness. And babies like it, too.
Earth Mama Booby Tubes
Earth Mama, $20These can be heated or cooled depending on what you find the most soothing.
Nipple + Lip Balm goop, $28In addition to nurturing sore nipples, this thick balm works wonders for dry lips.
Zeel In-Home Massage
Zeel, Prices varyNo explanation necessary.
Totum Treats Lactation Cookies
Totum, $20Lactation aids that taste like decadent oatmeal chocolate chip cookies…because they are.
MotherBees Food-Delivery Service
MotherBees, Prices varyA meal-delivery service geared specifically toward postpartum women. Expect lots of porridges, soups, and gentle proteins. LA only, for now.
Thistle food-delivery service
Thistle, prices varyPlant-based meals and snacks that you don’t have to make yourself.
Caviar Food-Delivery Service
Caviar, prices varyThey want to help? Ask them for gift certificates to a food-delivery service.
NEW MOTHERS POSTPARTUM NUTRITION KIT
Countertop, $150Eight pantry stockers, including honey, golden butter, and spice blends that any new mom will be grateful to have within reach.
SNOO Smart Sleeper
Happiest Baby, $1,160Much like everything Dr. Karp does, this smart sleeper, which essentially mimics the womb for a baby, is indispensable for new parents.
A Few Words on Shapewear
from Lauren Roxburgh:
Bellies Inc. Ab-Wrap
Bellies Inc., $77
“Belly wrapping has been a healing practice for centuries. This wrap is like a gentle hug for your core and pelvis to help restore and heal your waist and pelvic floor. This is basically a modern-day version of the bengkung (a traditional belly wrap) to help heal a mama’s postpartum abdomen and pelvic floor.”
Belly Bandit Leggings
Belly Bandit, $80
“Compression leggings do a lot more than just make you look smaller; they actually help you heal after pregnancy and birth by creating support for your core and pelvic floor muscles to recover. They also help reduce water retention and swelling, boost circulation, and even help you have better stability and improved pelvic posture post-labor. They can also help decrease varicose veins. I wore these every day for months.”
Just as necessary after birth as they are before. Maybe even more so. All the tautness of a pregnancy is gone in an instant. You want comfortable clothes that make you feel like you’re not a bowl of mashed potatoes.
The number of baby/parenting books on the market is dizzying. For many of the mothers we know, the ones below turned out to be the most helpful of the bunch.
Whether you get your hands on doula and Loom founder Erica Chidi Cohen’s book before or after baby, the practical resources and words of wisdom are relevant for every stage of motherhood. That said, several moms we know have said they wished they had it to talk them through pregnancy.
Everything about this book is perfect for a new mother: It’s tiny, covers every conceivable topic, is easy to follow, and will help make any baby a great eater and sleeper. You’ll flag every single page.
Simply put, Dr. Karp’s five S’s deserve a Pulitzer.
A beautiful book, complete with recipes and actionable tips, focused entirely on providing holistic care for a new mom. It’s based on the ancient Chinese tradition of zuo yuezi, which stresses the importance of healthy healing time.
Even if you’re not one of those people who needs to know, well, what to expect, every step of the way, the first year of parenthood has a way of changing all that. Every month of the baby’s first year of life gets a chapter. Yes, every baby is different and your pediatrician—and you—know best, but having general guidelines to reference is helpful.
“Is this normal?” is a question parents ask on a freakishly regular basis. This hilarious book (Dr. Vartabedian doesn’t take himself too seriously, and we love him for it) answers that question in reference to you baby’s poop. Color, consistency, frequency, lack thereof, and everything in between.
- Dr. Serrallach’s empathy and wisdom have been immensely helpful to goop moms. His first book is for every mother—new, or years in—who has ever tried to reclaim her health and hit a roadblock. There’s a lot of discomfort and pain we’re told to just accept as women—like, say, feeling tired, rundown, or not like ourselves. It shouldn’t be that way, nor does it have to be.
Word about the need for proper new-mother support is spreading, though many cities throughout the country are still playing catch-up. If you’re having a hard time finding postpartum doulas, lactation consultants, or emotional and mental health help in your area, ask your doctor or research midwifery communities closest to where you live. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
A quick, user-friendly app for getting EWG ratings on household and skin-care products.
A service that will safely ship pumped breast milk from wherever you are back home to baby.
A beautiful organization providing free support doulas for people experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth, or the loss of an infant.
Baby-and-me yoga, plus breastfeeding support, doula services, and so much more, in a particularly stroll-friendly part of NYC.
An adorably designed center for women and families in every stage of their journey—thinking about conceiving, struggling, expecting, parenting, and everything in between.
A directory of doulas—both postpartum and birth—in the Portland area.
An all-ladies clubhouse offering everything from pre- and postnatal workshops, to meditation and movement classes, to full-moon circles.
This place is tiny, with a selection to match, but every single baby essential they stock is a slam dunk—a welcome relief from overstocked big-box stores. They also host mommy-and-me groups, offer lactation support, and help staff postpartum doulas.
An Atlanta-based food-delivery service for postpartum and nursing moms.
A national doula association that helps parents connect with and hire birth and postpartum doulas.
A postpartum, birth, and sibling doula community that also offers placenta encapsulation services.
This international nonprofit has been providing breastfeeding education and support for decades.
Beastie Boys, Queen, Depeche Mode, Bob Marley, Aerosmith, and more, reimagined as lullabies.
Independent workspaces, childcare, and wellness programming all in one beautifully designed space.