I can’t remember where I first heard about the 4th trimester (it’s originally from The Happiest Baby on the Block) idea, but I love it. I’ll admit that I’m a crunchy parent (we did elimination communication for goodness’ sake), a crafter, and a snuggler so this concept that a baby needs to be treated almost like they are still in the womb for the first three months after birth already fit in with my world view.
Babies cannot be spoiled.
Babies need to have every one of their needs met.
We were matched with a newborn through our county’s foster-adopt program. We were able to pick him up right from the hospital. We had plenty of swaddling wraps (both thin cotton and heavier cotton), material to babywear him in, and plans to do kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact) as much as possible. The first three months are a blur. I’m glad that I take lots of photos because I don’t remember much of it.
Most of the photos show tired parents with a baby within arm’s reach. Some photos have the baby sleeping or resting on the chest of a tired adult. Sometimes when you’re tired and you hear a baby crying it’s frustrating, just remember that crying, fussing, etc. is the only way that the baby has to communicate with you. For babies that have been adopted, being held and cared for might be even more important. Each child has their own backstory, some kinder than others. For some children that were adopted from the foster care system, and some through private adoption too, they have already had some negative experiences.
We picked up our baby at the hospital, but I have no way of knowing what kinds of experiences he had before we met him. To help him feel welcome into our family, we made sure to give him the opportunity to be close to us and snuggle with us. All babies need to be responded to and cared for, but the 4th trimester is even more important for babies that have been adopted.