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The Fourth Trimester – AKA: Why Your Newborn is Only Happy in Your Arms.

July 6, 2012

  • “My baby is only happy in my arms, the minute I put her down she cries”
  • “He sleeps really well but only when he’s laying on my chest, he hates his moses basket”
  • “She cries every time we lay her on her play mat”
  • “He hates going in his pram, he cries the second we put him in it”.

How many times have you heard these comments from new parents? How many times have you said them yourself?

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have been asked these questions! What amazes me though is that society in general doesn’t get it, they don’t get why so many babies need to be held by us to settle and what perplexes me even more is that we do spend so long trying to put them down!

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We spend more than time though, the ‘putting babies down’ industry is  worth millions, rocking cribs, battery swings, vibrating chairs, heartbeat teddies and the list goes on………………having been a first time parent who bought all four of the items listed above I am embarrased to admit now it honestly didn’t enter into my head that perhaps the answer was to *not* put my baby down and I certainly didn’t consider why these things might help. It took me a long time to understand and empathise with my baby, to see the world through his eyes so to speak.

“Empathy: the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing ofthe feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”

To empathise with our newborns feelings we need to put ourselves in their place, to imagine experiencing their world – but which world? The world they have spent most of their life in, their ‘womb world’ or the world they are in now – our world. To fully understand we must appreciate the enormous transition they have made – a concept known to many as ‘The Fourth Trimester’ -some make the womb to world transition easily, others less so and it is this latter group in particular “the clingy babies” we can learn so much from through this concept.

“Birth suddenly disrupts this organization. During the month following birth, baby tries to regain his sense of organization and fit into life outside the womb. Birth and adaptation to postnatal life bring out the temperament of the baby, so for the first time he must do something to have his needs met. He is forced to act, to “behave.” If hungry, cold, or startled, he cries. He must make an effort to get the things he needs from his caregiving environment. If his needs are simple and he can get what he wants easily, he’s labeled an “easy baby”; if he does not adapt readily, he is labeled “difficult.”” – Dr. William Sears.

So lets quickly compare the two different ‘worlds’ your baby has lived in:

The fourth trimest, womb to world, life in utero, why babies cry, how to calm a crying baby

Pretty different huh? On top of this the big thing to understand is that in utero the baby’s world was constant, each day was the same, the stimulation didn’t change, but now they are born each day is different – ever changing,  ever stimulating!

the fourth trimester, 4th trimester, womb to world, newborn colic, why is my baby only happy in my arms, babywearing

You’ll find much more discussion on fourth trimester and ideas to help you cope for the first 6 months of parenthood, including sleep, developmental stages, recovering from birth, routines and coping with colic and cluster feeding in my BabyCalm Book – available from Amazon in the UK or if you’re in the USA you can pre-order the US version released next year from Amazon.com. If you’re elsewhere you can order with worldwide free delivery from The Book Depository .

READ ON FOR TIPS TO COPE WITH THE FOURTH TRIMESTER:

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The concept of the fourth trimester helps us to understand the transition a newborn must make over their first few weeks earthside and once we understand we find so many ways we can help – but to me the most important facet of the fourth trimester is parental understanding and empathy, once that exists everything else will flow naturally.

Here are some common newborn calming techniques that tend to work quite well, but remember each and every baby is different, if you don’t already know, you will soon learn what your baby likes best and that’s what matters, that it is unique to *your* baby. Prescriptive ‘do this/don’t do this’ baby calming lists don’t help anybody – because they forget they are dealing with individuals – both parents and babies! Some things on this list will be inappropriate for you and your baby, some simply won’t work, some you won’t like – and that’s OK! because really it isn’t about these tips it’s about you and your baby getting to know each other!

Movement

The womb is a constantly moving space, Braxton Hicks would squeeze your baby at the end of pregnancy and each time you moves your baby was wobbled around inside. Imagine how walking upstairs feels for a baby in utero! Babies tend to love movement but so often we put them down somewhere completely still. You could try dancing, swaying from side to side, going for an exaggerated quick walk or bumpy car ride.

Swaddling

Imagine how snug your baby was at the very end of your pregnancy inside of you – now imagine how strange it must feel to them after they have been born and have so much space around them! The absolutely best thing you can do is to envelop your baby in your arms, but for times when you don’t want to or indeed can’t then swaddling is an option. If you are new to swaddling try a swaddle wrap such as THIS ONE which makes it much easier!

Swaddling is becoming increasingly popular, however there are important safety guidelines to be followed if you choose to swaddle your baby, if you are breastfeeding please make sure feeding is established before swaddling and take care not to miss your baby’s hunger cues if you are feeding on demand:

  • Never swaddle over your baby’s head or near his face
  • Never swaddle your baby if he is ill or has a fever
  • Make sure your baby does not overheat and only swaddle with a breathable/thin fabric
  • Only swaddle your baby until he can roll over**
  • Always place your baby to sleep on his back
  • Do not swaddle tightly across your baby’s chest
  • Do not swaddle tightly around your baby’s hips and legs, his legs should be free to “froggy up” into a typical newborn position.
  • Lastly start to swaddle as soon as possible, do not swaddle a 3 month old baby if he has not been swaddled before.

** The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends swaddling for babies 0-14wks.

You can read more about the pros and cons of swaddling in my article HERE.

Skin to Skin Contact

Such a brilliant baby calmer! Being in contact with your warm, naturally (un)scented, skin is heaven for a baby, it helps to stabilise their body temperature, heart rate and stress hormones and stimulates the release of oxytocin – the love and bonding hormone – in you both. Topless cuddles, shared baths, baby massage and bedsharing are all great skin to skin experiences for your baby and you.

Bed-Sharing

Sharing a bed with your baby is an amazing way of getting more sleep for everyone, babies are generally much calmer and sleep more easily if they sleep with you in your bed, yet it is such a taboo topic and although 60% of parents will share a bed with their baby at some point it’s a subject that makes society very uncomfortable, but…it is an *amazing* baby calmer!  It’s really important that you think about how bedsharing will work and follow some important safety guidelines HERE. Recent media hype would have you believe that bedsharing is dangerous however the research has been incredibly misreported and is highly flawed there is still NO research that shows bedsharing following the guidelines above is a safety/SIDS risk – NONE.  Have a read of my piece HERE on bedsharing safety myths.

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Babywearing

Wearing your baby in a sling is one of the ultimate ways to keep them calm and happy. It increases the time a baby spends in a state of “quiet alertness” – a time of contentment when they learn the most. When a baby is in utero they spend 100% of their time in physical contact with us – yet the moment they are born this is estimated to drop to only 40%! Babywearing also means 2 free hands!

Choose your sling carefully. This is a quick guide I put togeter: http://sarahockwell-smith.com/2013/01/01/how-to-choose-the-right-sling-or-carrier-for-you-and-your-baby/ A good sling will be easy to use and will support both yours and your baby’s spine whilst not placing any pressure on your baby’s growing hips – newborns should always be carried facing inwards with a “frog leg” pose, not a crotch dangle pose so commonly used by commercial baby carriers. Also seek to carry in an ‘in arms’ position – i.e: how your baby would be held if you were holding them! This great picture from JePorteMonBebe highlights this newborn hold position perfectly.

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My favourite slings for the first 6 months are the Hana Baby Wrap and the Moby Wrap.  Babywearing is a great way for dads to bond with babies too!

It is quite common for a baby to cry once placed in a sling, this does not mean that they hate the sling – it just means that you need to move, so get dancing!

As with swaddling,babywearing is becoming increasingly popular, however there are important safety guidelines to be followed, the TICKS acronym below neatly sums them all up:

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Position

The “tiger in the tree” position below, taken from baby yoga, is often magical, stopping a crying baby in an instant! More on this HERE.

newborn colic hold, baby colic hold, tiger in the tree, tiger in a tree, baby yoga

Noise

Babies love sound, but for many not the sound you might think. For many babies a hoover is much more calming to a baby than a lullaby. A white noise CD such as the one by BabyCalm HERE or from Amazon UK HERE can be played on loop whilst your baby sleeps to help keep them calm.

cd

Feed

If your baby is hungry nothing will calm him, so watch for his hunger cues. Feeding is always better if it is baby led, not led by a routine – whether you are breast or bottle feeding. Remember as well that your baby may not always be hungry for a full feed, they may want a quick drink, a quick snack or just some comfort sucking. Babies also find sucking the ultimate relaxation and comfort tool. Sucking helps a baby’s skull bones to return to their normal position after birth as well as providing them with comfort and security. If you are not breastfeeding you might find your baby will relax when given a dummy/pacifier. Your baby is by far the best guide for beginning a feeding routine, not the timings of an ‘expert’ who has never met your baby!!

Deep Bathing

The womb is a wet, warm place. The world as we know it is dry and cold! Sometimes a nice deep, warm bath can stop a baby’s tears in seconds – even better if mummy or daddy goes in the big bath with baby too as skin to skin contact is a wonderful baby calmer. Bathing with your baby is a wonderful bonding experience for dad too – more on ways dad can bond with baby HERE.

Outside

If all else fails many babies stop crying the minute they hit the open air – I’m not sure if this is because we are usually moving (e.g.: walking over cobbles with the buggy/ bouncing in a sling and the drone and movement of a car) or because of the change in air – but it works!

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If you like this article You’ll find a much more in-depth  discussion on this idea and ideas to help you cope for the first 6 months of parenthood, including sleep, developmental stages, recovering from birth, routines and coping with colic and cluster feeding in my BabyCalm Book – available from Amazon in the UK or if you’re in the USA you can pre-order the American version released next year in the USA from Amazon.com. If you’re elsewhere you can order with worldwide free delivery from The Book Depository .

Written by:

Sarah Ockwell-Smith (Mother to Four, Parenting Author and Founder of BabyCalm Ltd)

You can read more of Sarah’s articles HERE.

 

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128 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2012 1:27 pm

    Thank you for this post! So well written! Maria Montessori called the baby for the 9 months after birth, a spiritual embryo! So as fragile as an embryo, so needs great care unitl 9 months while he adjusts to the outside world!

  2. Nikki permalink
    July 6, 2012 2:35 pm

    Thanks for posting this, I am so glad to read something where the emphasis is on keeping baby happy rather than trying to force her into a routine. I love holding my baby in my arms whilst she’s settling and sleeping and am tired of people telling me I’m spoiling her. More people need to read articles like this and move away from thd old fashioned controlled crying approach, in my opinion :)

  3. July 10, 2012 4:06 am

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! I’ll be sharing this resource with new mamas regularly!

  4. July 10, 2012 2:09 pm

    Lovely! I held two babies for most of their infancies (despite frequent disapproval from others) and now enjoy the company of two confident, loving and creative children. I’ll definitely share this widely.

    • July 15, 2012 2:30 am

      I held my boy sometimes. And sometimes I didn’t hold him. He is now confident, loving and creative. Had to know which approach worked. Maybe its another factor altogether??

  5. July 10, 2012 11:09 pm

    Calming myself when I hold a baby. I know it isn’t always possible for the mother to be calm if her baby isn’t , and I’m not blaming the mother. It’s just that babies are very affected by the energy of the person who is holding them. If as the grown up I can calm myself it makes a big difference

  6. July 11, 2012 12:15 pm

    Thank you so much everyone for the comments! To me everything here is common sense, I’m always amazed at the lengths we will go to to calm our babies with ‘apparatus’ and ‘gizmos’ – when all they really need are our arms! …but actually really I say that with hindsight, now after 4 babies and learning to ignore most of the baby raising advice in the mainstream books and media it’s common sense – as a new mum it was a revelation to me!

    Sarahx

    • October 14, 2012 7:25 pm

      As i new mom i constantly googled every little and read dozens of books. While the whole time my mom would just tell more Follow your instinct songs do what feels right not what everyone tells you you should do. Best advice i ever got. My son co slept and spent the majority of the day in hisvMoby wrap. He is such a happy well adjusted baby

  7. July 11, 2012 1:49 pm

    A sensitive, caring and supportive blog post, just wonderful. I’ll also be sharing this blog post!!

  8. Ellie permalink
    July 11, 2012 3:31 pm

    My “babies” are 34 and 31 now and as I read the blog, I wished I’d known these things back then. I was in the era of holding is spoiling. How I’d love to sit and hold my babies now, but time moves on and oh so quickly!

  9. Amber Wilson permalink
    July 11, 2012 11:54 pm

    I’m not much of a mainstream person so I always went with what I thought my baby wanted. He was rarely out of the sling and loved being held in my arms whilst in the shower. I faced so much ridicule but everyone always told me I had the best, most content baby.

    With baby wearing, try holding your baby supported by your arms for the first few times if they do not seem to like it much. That is the greatest piece of advice I have.

  10. Lisa M permalink
    July 12, 2012 5:44 pm

    I think all of this is so wonderful, and in a perfect world most would agree they would love to spend their days holding their babies. There is no disputting that bonding with your baby in this manner is very important part of their development and thriving. However, I believe you forgot to mention that there are circumstances where holding your baby all day is impossible and these children grow up to be complete, loving, caring human beings as well and that their Mother’s have an equal amount of love for them. There are single Mom’s who must work, Mother’s of multiples, military Mom’s who are deployed serving their country and many other examples of devoted, loving Mother’s who are unable to hold and co-sleep with their babies. I am sure you thought of this, and hope I don’t come across as attacking your very well written and TRUE post, just wanted to add to this so that those Mother’s don’t feel guilty for their already stressful situations.

    • October 4, 2012 1:15 am

      Our society is very harsh toward babies. It is much more oriented to selling things for babies and children than actually nurturing them.

      I’m grateful for all those working to change our narratives and societal norms to put child-nurturing first for healthy, functioning societies. Starting with community support so that moms and dads can have much, much more time with their babies and children. As well as much better healthcare, school, and social systems.

  11. July 12, 2012 8:37 pm

    I was thankful for my connection with LLL that supported my instinctive, unexpectedly strong inclination to hold and nurse my babies all the time. I was rather like a mother bear that way, and it surprised me because I was always such a people pleaser. Not when it came to what was best for my babies! However, it took a couple children for me to learn not to fall into the trap of visiting with company who came to see the newborn.

  12. July 12, 2012 11:32 pm

    I wish I read this before I gave birth. I had to learn how to calm my baby through experience and it was a while before I understood that all she wanted was to be held.

  13. July 13, 2012 3:29 am

    I found that VISUAL stimulation was also calming. Baby would stop crying and stare at a vase of daffodils placed beside him, or pictures of a brightly colored butterfly or cartoon kids stuck on the wall near his face. He would look away and then look back, seeming to notice every detail–for quite a long time.

  14. Claire Varey permalink
    July 13, 2012 7:51 am

    This is a fantastic and well written blog that encapsulates the the needs of a baby in the early days, weeks and months after birth. I didn’t really tap into this with my own children, although by my third I was getting there. It’s such a shame that I started to understand more after the events. However, I fully intend to sign post all expectant parents and new parents to this blog, as it should definately give them food for thought and a more balanced approach to responding to their baby’s needs or indeed strengthen their belief in responding to their child without fear of ‘spoiling’ or ‘making a rod for their own back’. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the NHS took on board this approach and this information was passed onto all parents ante natally!!!

  15. July 17, 2012 2:37 pm

    The world would be a happier, healthier place if every mom-to-be read and used this information!

    I believe that thousands–if not millions–of new mothers would want to spend their 4th trimester this way… IF they knew, and IF they had support to do so, and IF they figured it out before their babies were 20 years old : )

    Isolated in nuclear families, feeling pressure to get back to work or a “normal” life, and bombarded with “direction” from commercial interests, women are often completely unaware of what should be natural and instinctual.

    It’s for that reason that I wrote my book, NEW MOTHER: Using a Doula, Midwife, Postpartum Doula, Maid, Cook, or Nanny to Support Healing, Bonding, and Growth

    As the other women who commented here, I will be sharing this concise, wonderful blog post!

  16. Babywearer permalink
    July 18, 2012 4:08 am

    I think this is lovely. My baby was considered “difficult” because she was only happy if I was holding her. I bought a sling and carried her for hours every day – I was comfy, she was comfy, she slept well and was otherwise calm. It was actually really nice for both of us. I still get a bit prickly when my mothering friends remind me of what a “difficult” baby she was!

  17. July 18, 2012 9:49 pm

    Love this blog post, so many useful tips to help the newborn baby adjust to life outside the womb – I will be sharing this as well.

  18. July 19, 2012 6:34 pm

    I absolutely love this. Thanku! Just re-affirming I am doing everything right :)

  19. Annie permalink
    July 20, 2012 7:33 pm

    With my first baby, I spent so much time pacing the hallway and then repeatedly trying to lay him down for a nap and sneak away (the longest he ever stayed asleep this way was probably 15 min, AFTER I put him down!), with the 2nd we just carried/held and wore her and went about our business. She would sleep and wake as she wanted, and has always been such a happy little girl. And no stress on our end over trying to do what we were “supposed” to do! I think she was carried for naps through the first 9 months at least, and after that it depended on where we were (out and about or home so we could lay down with her). Love this article, as a parent you can waste so much time and energy trying to fit your practices into the mold of what others tell you is right, OR you can be mellow and parent naturally with the rhythm of your family (including baby’s rhythm!).

  20. July 20, 2012 7:38 pm

    Excellent article! Exactly how we parent our wee ones!

  21. July 21, 2012 1:45 am

    I need my husband to read this! I am a big fan of holding my daughter and she let everyone know she wanted to be held, lay her down and she would cry, pick her up and she would instantly calm. Almost all babies want it, some are just more forceful about voicing their desire! I wish more people realized this instead of forcing babies to sleep alone in a different room, forced to “become independent” at a couple months old, and expect babies to behave like little adults. There would be a lot more connected and bonded families.

    http://taurusmom18.wordpress.com/

  22. August 4, 2012 1:20 pm

    I love this, thank you so much for sharing!

    I find with my postpartum clients, their biggest worry is “creating a monster” who needs to be held all the time because that’s what their Mother-in-law warned them about. I always gently reassure them that this is what their baby needs right now, and that as they get used to the outside world they will be more interested in being on their own, without you having to do any “training”. They are always very relieved to hear this, so I try to spread the word as much as possible!

  23. Ashlea permalink
    September 17, 2012 3:50 am

    Thanks so much. I was worried I was spoiling him and that he was overeating.this helped a lot
    Thanks again

  24. Rosie H permalink
    September 18, 2012 10:21 am

    I get this, I really do. But my 4-week-old screams just as much when I’m holding her, hates being swaddled and appears to hate skin to skin. :-( The sling is a godsend, but only if I manage to get her into it in one of the small windows before she starts yelling.

    • September 18, 2012 10:31 am

      Hi Rosie, the important thing is she screams when you hold her, not screams alone. Have you visited a cranial osteopath/chiropractor? and a lactation consultant to check for tongue tie? It sounds as if something else might be happening.

  25. Christi Nickey permalink
    September 18, 2012 7:09 pm

    I love that thin carrier in that picture… I tried to look it up to see if I could buy one, but I have been unable to locate it. Do you know who makes them or what it might be made of? I am a very warm person and my babies have both been too, looks ideal for us… ps great article … I am lucky to have been confident of listening to my instincts and my babies.

    • September 18, 2012 8:15 pm

      Hi there, I don’t think it’s for sale, just to demo a picture. The coolest carriers we’ve found are the Calin Bleu gauze http://www.babycalming.com/product/Calin-Bleu-Cool-Cotton-Gauze-Wrap or the F’il up http://www.babycalming.com/product/Fil'-Up-Mesh-Wrap-Sling HTH.

    • Millie permalink
      June 15, 2013 2:29 am

      I know this was posted a while ago but thought I’d reply anyway. It looks a bit like a moby wrap which are available from amazon amongst other places. hth

  26. olipal permalink
    September 24, 2012 8:42 am

    Hi, I don’t understand if with “4th trimester” you mean 1 year old babies? When yes, my baby is one year old and after some months of enjoying being independent and playing alone, is now again very attached and wants to be always in my arms. Which is very nice and normal, but also very tiring for me, as I don’t manage again to have a shower or things like these, as when she was born. Thank you!

  27. September 25, 2012 7:30 am

    Good stuff. You are validating the concerns so many parents have about “holding baby too much”. This is where they desire to be, and benefit from being. Cuddle ‘em while you can, cuz pretty soon it is running just to keep up!

  28. nicaela3 permalink
    October 29, 2012 4:01 pm

    I love this post! I remember after my first child was born, we were in the hospital and she was really upset around 3 AM. I was exhausted and getting frustrated because I couldn’t calm her, so I called for the nurse. At first I was a little weirded out because she took my daughter and told me to take my shirt off so I was just in my bra. I did, and she took my baby and put her on my chest and tucked us both in. It was like magic. Babies love that security (and I did too)! Thanks for the great post.

  29. Heather permalink
    November 4, 2012 6:16 pm

    These are great ideas!
    One thing that works for my baby when she is really tired is laying her in my arms, wrapping her blanket around her with a part of the blanket touching her cheek and slightly bouncing and swaying her.

  30. scott permalink
    November 28, 2012 5:19 am

    This is craziness. You people are crazy. Absolutely bonkers. The only thing that I see coming from this is stressed out parents. Parents will grind themselves into the ground following this mentality. I guess that I might start world war three disagreeing with a bunch of sleep deprived parents but oh well.

    • Joyce Weber permalink
      August 30, 2013 3:59 am

      Do you even have children or are you one of those “know-it-all non-parents”?

      • August 30, 2013 7:26 am

        I have four children, not sure why that matters in relation to this article though?

    • September 8, 2013 8:27 am

      Bs. I follow these methods and I am never sleep deprived. Neither is my kid or my partner. You sound like you don’t have kids at all.

      • Candice permalink
        September 10, 2013 4:10 pm

        I agree! I got more sleep carrying and using a family bed than I would have getting up 10x a night to put a baby back to bed. Saved my sanity, for sure! lol

  31. Melanie permalink
    January 13, 2013 9:19 am

    I love the idea of holding my baby boy for his sleeps every day. I guess the only issue I have with this is how on earth do you get dinner ready for the rest of the family with a bub attached to your front??? Any suggestions most appreciated.

    • Andrina permalink
      September 17, 2013 6:30 am

      Put them on your back ;)

  32. Angela permalink
    March 15, 2013 3:33 am

    Thanks for the article – just one question, though: I have heard that white noise is being investigated as possibly causing autism. Apparently, noise should be kept to a minimum while a bub is sleeping, constant noise is supposed to affect their brain. Have you heard this?

    * Apparently the book “the brain that changes itself” brings this up as well

  33. March 18, 2013 3:16 pm

    Fantastic post. I spent weeks and weeks trying to find way to put my first baby down. During the day I let her fall asleep on me but at night thought she had to go in her basket. Think partly it was nerves – would I suffocate her/roll onto her/ would she fall out etc? But in the end her Dad and I used to take turns lying next to her until she slept. Now have my 4th baby and he sleeps in the bed with us – he’s 16 months old and so far has never spent a night away from me. He feeds a bit in the night but I have never had such good sleep – he is settled and dreamy, not wakeful. He moves himself to lie sprawled between us now, no longer needs to be in my arms all night. In his own time he’ll be ready to sleep happily. It’s taken me 4 children to trust my own instincts! This article is a very well written and reassuring take on the whole thing – WISH I’d had this from Number 1!

  34. Anne permalink
    March 20, 2013 6:44 pm

    I was a mom at 18 I had no books or guru to help me calm my baby. What taught me is natural instinct. If anyone needs instructions on how to care for their baby we need to re evaluate our society. Babies are supposed to be held, and soothed by mommy or daddy not by a machine or a babysitter. Although I enjoyed reading this it brought some wonderful memories up, it made me chuckle at people’s lack of parenting abilities.

  35. karen permalink
    April 12, 2013 10:38 am

    I have been reading your excellent book whilst in hospital with my newborn baby, she was only 3lb 9oz. You say don’t share a bed if baby was born with low birth weight, what do you recommend instead for the situations when you would normally revommend bed sharing?

  36. April 12, 2013 4:08 pm

    I agree with everything written but I’d like to see Breastfeed as option one. Breastfeeding is so much more than nutrition. Baby is close to Mum’s heart and the smell of the breast (Montgomery glands are reminiscent of the amniotic fluid). Could you also mention the benefits of “Non Nutritive” sucking?

  37. Candice permalink
    April 22, 2013 6:07 am

    It’s so wonderful to know we did something right!! My oldest was a calm baby but for the first month he hated his back so he slept on my bare chest. (Pillows under my arms, securing him). My daughter loved the “tiger in tree” and when she cried taking a quick walk around the house calmed her right away! My last was a “water baby”. Turn on a tap or the shower and he calmed right down. He STILL prefers to sleep with Mommy (he’s 3! lol). My daughter was 6 when she finally slept through the night in her own bed (only because Mommy was too big with baby so she didn’t fit in our bed anymore. lol). I loved our family bed! It helped create a bond with my kids that I still have today (the oldest is 13!!). Great advice for old and new moms alike!

  38. Candice permalink
    April 22, 2013 6:08 am

    Oh! I also wore my last baby. I even figured out how to use the sling as a “back pack” for him once he was too big for the front. :D I recommend wraps for all moms!

  39. Row permalink
    April 25, 2013 5:10 pm

    Oh the nonsense I had from other mum’s/ relatives about holding my daughter while I ate my lunch, for taking her in the bath with me, for not smacking her, for bla bla bla… it was endless.
    I was told she would never be toilet trained, she would never feed herself, she would never sleep alone, she would be uncontrollable . Why? because I responded to her needs and nurtured her, because I wouldn’t leave her to scream it out.
    She’s a happy, intelligent and responsible eleven year old who not only feels she can talk to me about anything but also strangely manages all her hygiene needs herself, even though she shared a bath with me into toddlerdom. (I sometimes feel like reminding people of the judgements they passed about her!)
    Mum knows best, no one can know a baby as well as their mum does. It’s that simple.

  40. August 13, 2013 2:19 pm

    I am so happy to have found this post and blog. I have a 29 day old baby and am I first time Mother. I did a little research on babies but have to say I was so involved in having a healthy pregnancy thats what I focused on mostly. Once my baby arrived I knew that I would be okay, and I was. I read things here that I just innately knew to do. I did learn a lot also by this post though too. :) I’m just happy to see that what I learned from myself and from my baby actually has accountability. Thank you!

  41. Anna Hala permalink
    August 29, 2013 4:36 am

    So helpful. And im also happy to have read this article, now that im pregnant with twins. Thank you !!

  42. September 8, 2013 11:27 pm

    Only 4 weeks of maternity leave means a lot less of mommy holding her baby……

  43. Luckless Poppy permalink
    September 9, 2013 3:58 am

    I love “If his needs are simple and he can get what he wants easily, he’s labeled an “easy baby”; if he does not adapt readily, he is labeled “difficult.” People always tell me how calm and “easy” my 7 month son is and in the same breath tell me everything I should be doing… So let me get this straight, he’s great so I must be doing something wrong? Obviously what I’m doing works :)

  44. Joanna permalink
    September 9, 2013 2:45 pm

    I love this. people are always telling me to put my 3 month old down. I just smile and say no thanks. I held my daughter till she was 8 months old . Shes 6 and walks fine and is very independant. I’m gonna hold my babies cuz before long they won’t let ya.

  45. September 9, 2013 9:09 pm

    Wonderful article and so true! This is how we parented all five of our babies and they are such happy, adjusted, wonderful little (and big) people now. In some ways it made life so much easier (more sleep with baby in bed next to me, simpler to breastfeed than fuss with bottles, less stress to just trust baby…) and at times it was harder (meeting baby’s needs during high-stress times when I would rather put myself first) but it was so worth it. My last baby is about to turn two and I cherish her in-arms time because I know I’ll miss it. That said, I love that even my teenagers are still attached and want to be near me and chat with me and such. They stay attached in the most wonderful ways as they grow up and become happy, loved, loving people. :)

  46. Rachel permalink
    September 10, 2013 5:13 am

    This makes so much sense! Most of my friends use the “cry it out” method… I tried it once or twice with my first baby, only to find I just couldn’t do it… I just KNEW my babies needed to be held and I LOVED snuggling with them and co-sleeping. It felt so right. It’s funny, because both of my babies just sort-of “grew out of” this need one day and suddenly started going to bed easily on their own (the first around 7 months and the second around 9). It was amazing! They are now 25 months and a 12 months and sleeping beautifully in their own beds (and sometimes with us) :) Lovely post!

  47. Jessie permalink
    September 10, 2013 10:08 pm

    Pregnant with number six, I have found that over all babies do need to be close and comforted and that slings work beautifully for this as well as co-sleeping and breastfeeding. We don’t always need to be in such a rush to try and get babies to be independant- they are our biggest fans, why cut that short? ;) Important to remember, as well, that babies are people with their own personalities. My first hated to be cuddled close to my chest after about 6 weeks. She wanted to face out and move. She did not like to be held to sleep. She wanted to be put in her dark quiet room to go to sleep- alone, thank you very much, Mommy! She still has her nightly routine and wonderful sleeping habits as a 14 year old! Some of my babies loved to be in the center of the action in the sling and could sleep through anything, others needed dark and quiet or they were stressed out. I put all my kids down to sleep at some point during the day or for the night but returned immediately if they start to fuss and am never far from them. I just get a little claustrophobic if I can’t be all alone for a few minutes at some point. I always go out on a weekly date with my husband without children unless they are breastfeeding. I find that I can’t take good care of my kids if I don’t have realisic understanding of what I need to do to take care of myself.

  48. Katybug permalink
    September 11, 2013 2:22 am

    Thanks for the article. Skin to skin contact between mother and baby (and dad), makes for a more peaceful baby. Some parent’s need help with their new baby. Nothing wrong with asking questions and getting a little advice. These are all suggestions. Some work, some don’t. Try a few and see what your baby likes.

  49. September 12, 2013 2:44 am

    yes, this is all true, and I cherish the time I do get to sit and let my baby sleep on me, which is most afternoons, BUT…I have a two year old too that also needs Mommy- everyone seems to forget about or neglect that in their advice. Any advice on how to handle both demands?

    • Rev3:15 permalink
      September 16, 2013 3:55 am

      Hi jw, I have 7 children 27-5. I spent a lot of time on the floor. I’d lay a blanket down and then I could hold or sit next to both at the same time. Sometimes baby likes a little floor wiggle time and you can sit close (even touch) and hold the 2 yr. too. We played games and read books right there. We had a solid wood coffee table we ate at most of the time. The floor was our friend (it’s safer to leave baby on the floor to dash to kitchen) I learned to hold both (put the older child on the bottom and baby and their ‘lap’. I found that 2 children was the hardest transition. I was most possessive of my first but then had a second baby to love. Three was easy and the rest is history. Lol. I had a bouncy seat (first generation metal frame no batteries or gadgets). I could bounce it with my foot on floor in front me while reading books to my 3yr on the couch. Baby could see me and was happy. We also laid down a lot- my favorite nursing position and that seems to allow more contact with older child too. I did keep a protective arm available against accidental bumps or falling on baby- but it’s life. My dh and I always treated the baby as a family baby – #2 was #1′s birthday present and we told her so Often. We were rarely nervous or somber with her (as in saying ‘be careful’ all the time- we think thats over done). More specifics is better. ‘Touch her check please’ to discourage touching the soft spot just as an example. also arranged our stuff so the toddler could be my errand runner- get a diaper, get a toy or book, get a yogurt from the frig. Lots of praise for a job well done. Need to stir dinner ? Have 2 yr hold baby (sitting on floor so dropping wont be dangerous) within view. Can’t support head? Have baby in lap-maybe a blanket for padding so older sibling can hold baby ‘hands free’ they’ll last longer that way anyway. Be patient with yourself. You’ll find you new groove soon. Hth. Blessings

  50. YoginiMama permalink
    September 13, 2013 12:30 am

    Such a beautifully written blog! Thank you for the wonderful reminders!!

  51. Chaeli permalink
    September 13, 2013 7:55 pm

    I have held my baby girl while she has slept for naps since she was born. She is now 8 months and still needs to be held, but is now waking up more at night and not being content unless held. What would you suggest?

  52. Tiffany Fultz permalink
    September 16, 2013 6:07 am

    I’m so glad I accidentally found this article! It has opened my eyes to my crying 6 week old baby girl. I was getting so frustrated because it’s been increasing hard this past week to calm her down. I’m going to use this information to be a better mom to my first born. Thank you!

  53. Coral permalink
    September 16, 2013 11:30 am

    This is a nice post. I find so many times parents and especially new parents become so frustrated. I myself with my first child wasted so much time trying to put baby down in cribs and beds and swings and chairs. I was exhausted. When I just decided to give up the endless sleep battle we were all much happier. With my second child I side carred the crib to the bed we baby wear more and the sleep frustration was not an issue for us. I always tell parents now when they ask for advice that it’s nice to have plan but the baby will be the one who paves the way. Be flexible with yourself and it will be much easier.

  54. Cecile permalink
    September 17, 2013 1:09 am

    As a midwife when asked these question I simply say of course,your baby is new and scared it wants to feel your warmth and hear your heart beat to feel safe, it’s what it knows, hold your baby and bond with :) I think some women must think I’m stupid saying that but that’s what I believe, it’s normal and natural and most importantly by golly it works!!

  55. Allison permalink
    September 18, 2013 8:58 pm

    I couldn’t carry my son. After giving birth I lost all feeling in my legs, which we later found out was Osteoarthritis. He was a big boy so I’d feed cuddle then put down.
    He is now almost 4 years old and extremely well adjusted and bright. I’ve never ever had problems with him sleeping on his own or getting out of bed either.
    So as good as this article is you need to do what works for you. There is no wrong or right way, follow your instincts.

  56. Lauren permalink
    September 21, 2013 12:51 pm

    This website is fantastic. My parenting instincts have been online with this website but I get so much grief and face judgment from my parenting style. I would love to read the book but it is not available in the US yet. Where can I purchase!?!

    • September 22, 2013 11:43 am

      Hi, you can get a copy of the UK version here http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0749958286/ref=sr_1_1_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1379850176&sr=8-1&keywords=babycalm&condition=new – the US version is out March 2014

  57. October 23, 2013 10:20 am

    Beautiful post, thank you. Hope you don’t mind if I copy it and show it around at my parentcraft class as I think they will benefit from the advice given. Lovely.

  58. November 5, 2013 1:28 am

    Reblogged this on The One In The Oven and commented:
    Smart, useful recommendations and insight regarding your newborn in the 4th trimester. Too awesome not to share here!

  59. Erie permalink
    March 18, 2014 12:00 pm

    These are great techniques for calming the infant, I totally understand the 4th trimester but what we need is to be able to put the infant down. My wife and I are exhausted, the first bullet point sums things up perfectly, “My baby is only happy in my arms, the minute I put her down she cries”. How are we supposed to sleep? She is 7 weeks old today and I am loosing my mind.

    • March 21, 2014 1:20 pm

      Bedsharing/Cosleeping!

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