I love the concept of the 4th trimester. I think it originated with Dr. Karp, the author of “Happiest Baby on the Block” (one of the BEST resources I have found for soothing newborns!). The idea is that babies in today’s world are born too early. That they really should have one more trimester in the womb. That’s why we do things like swaddle and rock and shhh and feed on demand and carry them around in wraps and slings close to our bodies. Since trimesters in pregnancy are roughly 3 months, I believe the 4th trimester covers the baby’s first three months outside of Mom’s body, and Dr. Karp and many others believe you cannot spoil a baby by mimicking a womb-like environment. In fact, creating this type of environment may be the best thing we can do to ease the transition into the world.
Owen was three months old a few weeks ago. We are officially out of the 4th trimester. So, where does that put us? The real world, apparently. All of the baby books say that you can’t spoil a baby for the first three months, but that somewhere around 4 months habits are set and we as parents should make an effort to set the “right” ones for us.
I try my best not to set habits that I’m going to need to change in the future. For me, that meant getting Owen to sleep in his crib as soon as possible, not popping a pacifier in his mouth very often to soothe him, and getting an early bedtime ritual into our routine. So far so good on those fronts. But there are little decisions that I make every day that certainly aren’t perfect, and are sometimes necessary just to get him to sleep or five minutes of quiet or a free hand. As Owen is getting older, I’m realizing just how impressionable his little mind is! In the morning I like to watch the Today Show while I give him his first bottle. But recently he’s been craning his neck to see the TV screen. Of course I don’t want to expose him to extensive amounts of TV at such a young age, so I curl and tuck myself into strange positions to keep him from looking at the screen. Finally this morning I just turned it off, and he still stared at the black screen, mouth agape, not eating. Grrr!
In other news, Owen is going bald (his fabulous rockstar hair is falling out in clumps!). And I am breaking out like a hormonal teenager (seriously… enough with the acne… I’m a mom). Perhaps these are also the result of leaving the comfort of the 4th tri? Real world, here we come!