The fourth trimester starts when your baby arrives and last until they are three months old, and it’s the time that as a dad you can really get involved properly with caring for your baby. During pregnancy, you can feel a bit like an addition to the fun, but once the baby arrives, it’s such a great feeling to be able to start getting stuck in with fatherhood duties.
The drive home from the hospital will be painfully slow thanks to your precious cargo. Honestly, we lived literally behind the hospital and it took us ages. With a rear-facing car seat a must for newborns, having a mirror that allows you to see your little one’s face is a real confidence booster. Don’t get distracted though, keep your eyes on the road!
During the first few weeks, I gave our baby a bottle at night to give my wife a rest from feeding. It was an amazing way to bond with my son. Regardless of whether there’s breastmilk or formula in the bottle, it’s great as a dad to be able to do some feeding in the early days and it makes you feel so much more involved.
Another great job for dads is bathing your baby. It’s lovely to be a part of the daily routine, especially once you go back to work after paternity leave. Although being responsible for a newborn in water can be daunting, it’s all about common sense. You need to make sure to never leave your baby alone, even for a second. What I found really helpful was a little bath seat that allows you to safely put your baby in the water, keeping them comfortable while you wash them.
I also loved being out and about alone with my baby during the early months. I felt so proud that I was cruising round with the buggy solo. In truth, the baby slept most of the time while I had him! Newborns need to be kept pretty warm, so blankets, mittens and a hat are must-buys before getting out of the house during colder weather.
We didn’t start using a carrier or a sling until our son was about eight weeks old. In hindsight, we’d have definitely started baby wearing earlier. There’s honestly no feeling like a newborn snuggling into you. My wife preferred the sling/wrap and I preferred the carrier. Either way, I’d highly recommend carrying as a form of transport in the fourth trimester. Wearing your baby is a wonderful feeling.
Looking back on the fourth trimester, I’ve got some really fond memories. I feel like I’ve aged a bit since then, but I’ve learnt a lot too.
Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Asda.