They say the first 12-13 weeks after a baby is born is called the 4th trimester. The baby is still an extension of you as they adjust to the world outside of the womb. There is a lot of change and development going on here for both mom and baby.
More importantly though, if you hated/hate the newborn phase, things start to look up from here on out for most people!
The benefit of a second baby is that you know everything is a phase and you have an idea of when things might start to change for better or even worse (oh hey daylight savings). With Tommy, the first 3 months were the slowest of my life. I did not enjoy the newborn phase. I did not know what I was doing. With Connor, I kinda loved it minus the getting up at night.
Transition from 1 to 2
I found the transition from 0 to 1 to be much more difficult than 1 to 2. I think this is 70/30 split among my friends with 70% agreeing with me that it’s easier second time around. I don’t know what makes the difference. I think the temperament of the child makes a big impact and the age of the older child.
There is no perfect age gap.
Our 2.5 year gap has its advantages in that Tommy is not in diapers, he can be of assistance to get me a diaper or burp cloth and is in some school during the day. It’s disadvantages include him being really interested in his brother and not leaving him alone when he’s sleeping and eating. He’s also so young he doesn’t get what has happened and acts out at times in ways you’d expect from a two year old.
Back to Work-ish
Many women go back to work at 12 weeks postpartum. Some lucky ones have more time off. Most of you know my situation. I work during naps M-W-F while Tommy is at school and try to get a sitter for 3 hours on Tuesday and Thursday to get work done. I’ve been doing this since Connor was 6 weeks old so I guess you can say I only “took off” 6 weeks but I’m not back to full speed. I haven’t been since Tommy was born if I’m being honest with myself.
Balance is something I’ve struggled with since Tommy was born. They say you can only pick three between family, work, sleep, fitness and friends. I 100% agree.
Being a work from home mom is not easy because you always feel like you feel like you’re half-assing every “job” (mom, entrepreneur, house manager).
I’m still aiming to workout 3-4 times a week and it’s been more like 3 these days. This goal is attainable and makes me feel proud that I’ve been able to hit it routinely this month. My workouts are usually 1 or 2 cardio (running or spinning) and 1 or 2 strength workouts (my own, Mommy and Me class or studio with babysitting, or Sweat App).
I haven’t made a ton of progress. I’ve noticed it’s all really in my belly. I probably wouldn’t still have 10 lbs to lose at this point had I not indulged as much I enjoy when I’m pregnant but I’m OK with that. Who has the discipline or desire to be “on” 365 days a year especially when you are growing another human?
I do feel like it’s been harder to get back my abs, not in a 6-pack kind of way but I have to constantly engage my transverse abdominals so that I don’t look 5 months pregnant especially at night. It’s definitely made me more aware of doing ab work and am now one of those people who squeezes in a plank here and there while playing with her baby.
To get motivated, my best tip is to sign up for classes or meet a friend for a walk or workout. Cardio makes me extra hungry, on top of nursing, so I try to do as much strength as I can to rebuild muscle I’ve lost which will also help tighten my core.
To get started to regaining strength especially if you’ve had a C-Section, start SLOW. If you start back to quick, you could potentially exacerbate a diastasis recti which is when your abs separate down the middle. I have a great ab workout to start with here.
Nursing, hunger and weight
It took me 9 months to lose all the weight I gained with Tommy. I actually lost the last 5 after getting norovirus and never gained it back. That being said, it was very hard for me to shed the extra weight until Tommy was eating a good amount of solids. We waited until 6 months to really start. I am planning to introduce them sooner as they help with sleep research now suggests.
I had planned to be back to pre-baby weight 2.5 months after Tommy was born… that didn’t happen. This time around, I’m taking a fairly flexible approach. I’ll lose it in time and ideally by March which will be about 9 months. Nursing just makes me so hungry. While some people say it helps them lose weight, that is not how it works for my body.
We are still nursing exclusively but Connor will take a bottle about twice a week with a sitter. This is HUGE as Tommy never did and made my time away from him incredibly stressful! Hopefully this helps when I decide to wean.
Alcohol and Nursing
I am not a doctor. I am sharing what I do. My pediatrician told me it was fine to have a glass of wine and to do it after the baby goes to sleep. So this would be right after he feeds and ideally 2.5-5 or more hours before he eats again. Most research suggests that 1-2 drinks is fine if you are nursing.
I follow the rule, if you’re fine to drive, you’re fine to nurse. So little alcohol transfers into your milk supply. For this reason, I don’t pay too much attention to when I have a glass of wine or a beer because my children do not follow any text book feeding schedule. Ideally, I’d put Connor down to bed at 7 and have my wine then but he goes down around 9:30/10 these days and that’s when I fall asleep too. Have you ever put a 2.5 year old to bed? That process requires a glass of wine in my opinion so yes, I have a drink when I want but I limit to 1-2 glasses for the most part.
Connor is still in my bedroom and has only slept “through the night” twice. He is in the Arm’s Reach CoSleeper in a DockATot in a swaddle. Since he still isn’t sleeping through the night consistently, I’m going to change this set up perhaps removing the dock first. He also hates to be swaddled but if we get a tight wrap he sleeps the best.
If you put one on and he isn’t sleepy enough, he will cry and break out of the swaddle so it’s hard. I hear the miracle wrap is the best but at this point, we are almost out of swaddling so I feel like it’s not worth it. Did I tell you he is the lightest sleeper??? Sneeze and he wakes up.
I tried to follow the Babywise book and it just didn’t work for us. I kind of resent the book actually because they insist the book works for 94% of people who follow it… I guess I’m one of the 6 out of a 100.
I have the book “Healthy Baby, Happy Sleep Habits” and need to read it again for BOTH children. I no longer have the flexibility to take a nap an hour after getting up because I have a toddler I need to get out the door to preschool. I also am going to take a look at Moms On Call.
Here is our quick problem and I share this because I know as humans, we connect when we share experiences.
Tommy wants mom to scratch his back until he falls asleep. This takes a long time. I don’t have the time because of Connor. Finally, he goes down later than he should and wakes up in the middle of the night. We let him cry in his room a couple nights in a row but we were awake for 2 hours listening to it and Connor was also woken up. Now, he comes and sleeps in our bed and we all get up around 7 am which is as late as we are going to get.
So now, when Connor wakes up in his crib next to me, I rush to keep him quiet so he doesn’t wake up Tommy. This is a bad cycle that needs to be broken but my main goal is sleep and currently this is how we are getting the most.
Postpartum depression is real. I had it a little bit with Tommy for a week or so which is normal and not considered PPD. I did not with Connor because I honestly didn’t have time to think about it and had people constantly around me! My life changed so drastically when Tommy came along that it was a shock to my well being and 100% changed my day to day routine. My life is not that different with two. Nothing has been a real surprise. Things I couldn’t do, I still can’t do. Things I could do, I still can for the most part. I really feel that the transition from 1 to 2 was so much easier for me than zero to one. I believe this with my whole heart. It helps that Connor is easy going but still, he’s not the best sleeper as you know.
Questions from You!
Does it get any easier? -Mom to a 2 week old
Yes! As I mentioned, I did not enjoy the “4th trimester” with Tommy. I found it got so much easier once he was laughing and had a somewhat predictable schedule. He started to sleep better and I was more confident in my parenting style. They no longer feel like they need to be with you 100% of the time. Connor now playfully enjoys time under his playmate by himself. He’s not there long but I’m able to answer an email or two while he’s awake.
What are the differences between 1st and 2nd when it comes to the 4th Trimester? -Mom due with #2 in Jan
First time around, it went by so slow. The 4th trimester flew by this time. You’re no longer huddled up at home by yourself but out and about much quicker because you have to! This for me was a good thing. It’s also not as much of a schedule shock. You are used to getting up in the morning and you an tolerate the nighttime wake ups because you’ve been here before and power through. The first 3 weeks you’re on adrenaline. Then you kind of feel like an exhausted shell of yourself and wondering if this is your new normal. It is! But someone, you find coffee is your new best friend and make it work. Your time is spent focusing on the older sibling than the new baby so you don’t notice their little personality emerge until now! It’s way easier in my opinion but I know many would disagree. I am a calmer parent now and as a result, Connor is a calm baby for the most part. Every baby is different so this will likely be different based on your newborn’s temperament.
How do Nick and I manage two kids?
Hmmm, not sure I’m the expert on this one but every couple is different. We divide and conquer as much as we can but also make sure the other parent gets some “me time” on the weekends. That’s usually going to the gym, playing golf or shopping for both of us. One will take both to the park so the other can sleep. During the week, we try to each take one kid especially during bed time.
When did I feel “back to normal”?
Not yet! I’ll keep you posted when I do. For Tommy, it wasn’t until I stopped nursing which was 18 months.
Ok, so all summer I wore dresses and my maternity clothes. This fall, I do fit back into my jeans with a bit of a muffin top but I don’t have to buy bottoms which is nice. I do choose to wear leggings most of the time for comfort. Tops, I do not LOVE any of my nursing bras so I don’t want to share them. They are fine. I got one on the Nordstrom sale and it makes my boobs look weird. I have a couple from Lamaze that are affordable and comfortable but don’t make my girls look perky by any means. For tops, I’ve been wearing a lot of button downs as well as built in bra using tank tops with bigger tops over them that I can lift up to nurse.
I have a nursing top that I love that was sent to me from Bela Bum Bum for working out as well as postpartum workout pants that are high waisted and hold my mummy tummy in! There already is a hole however at the top of my butt where the inseams all meet. The top is a wonderful though!
For sports bras and nursing boobs, I recommend the SheFit bra as well as the Moving Comfort Juno bra. Neither are “nursing” sports bras but both are pretty easy to nurse while wearing. They are super supportive and great for larger chests even if you aren’t breastfeeding.
I normally don’t comment on blogs or people I follow on Instagram, but I have a 9 week old and a 2 year old and I relate to your posts so much. Thank you for keeping it real, and I am so glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t love the newborn stage. I’ve done your new postpartum an workout a couple of times and love it!
haha thank you for taking the time to comment! It’s certainly not for everyone lol but I think it’s helpful to know that it’s different with each baby. Glad you liked the workout. It’s not too difficult but is a good place to start so you don’t overdo it at first and cause further damage (like I did with Tommy!)
My 3rd baby was born the day after Conner, and I have a 3.5 year old and just turned 2 year old. I can stick my 2 year old in his crib and say goodnight with no issues, but ever since the baby was born, my oldest has wanted me to lie down with her until she falls asleep. It can take up to 30 mins. In order to give her what she needs and tend to the baby, I bring the baby with my and nurse her while lying down with my daughter. By the time she falls asleep, my baby is pretty much asleep, too. (I get her all ready for bed before this.) It works for us!
My oldest also started waking at night when the baby was born, which was SO unlike her. (She had been sleeping 12 hours straight for over 2 years!) I decided that it was just part of her adjustment, so I went in there and stayed with her while she fell back to sleep -- always reassuring her that I was still there for her when she needs me. This continued for about 2 months, but for the last month, she’s been back to her old self and sleeping through the night.
Anyway, that’s what works for us! I love following along on your journey since our babies are the same age!
Thank you for sharing! This gives me hope Tommy will be back in bed soon and a great idea for when I’m solo. Its so tough to lie there until they fall asleep.
Hey Sarah! Wondering if you think the time of year also made a difference? My first was born in january, like tommy, and it was cold and dark early and as a new mom I felt isolated and stuck inside with this new baby who cried a lot. I wonder if having a summer baby helped with getting outside more and getting more vitamin D for all?
I totally think season played a role but also the fact that I had my mom and her husband around to help with TOmmy. If I could plan it, I don’t think I would do winter for baby #3. I would aim for spring or summer again.
My son is 2.5 and have a 1 week old, he is going through the exact same sleep stuff! Had been sleeping through the night, fell asleep by himself and past few weeks (started before baby was born) needs to have mama or papa stay in the room with him until he falls asleep, and also has been waking up in the middle of the night needing us. I bought a twin size foldable foam mattress thing for his room, and my husband will go fall back asleep on that which has been working so far (he can sleep anywhere and it’s actually pretty comfy -- the idea was not for him to stay there for the rest of the night but it’s just what happens :p). Anyway all that to say I’ve spoken to a bunch of other moms who have 2.5 year olds and there definitely seems to be a regression right around then bc they all are going through similar behaviors with sleep, and the new sibling I’m sure makes it even more intense!
I’m glad you tossed Babywise. That book has been connected to babies starving because their moms refused to feed them until certain times. Seriously horrible. Plus it can impact mom’s milk supply to restrict feeding.
Anyway, I am 3 years post partum and totally look 5 mo preg by evening. I know my transverse is not strong. I saw your video for the workout routine but could you share tips on how you engage the transverse throughout the day? I would love more info on that. Thank you,
Thank you for sharing, Sarah. As always, I feel hopeful after reading you blogs. currently pregnant with baby #2 due in late March. My first son will be 3.5 years old by that point. We don’t know yet if the new baby is a girl or boy, but you’re right that every baby is different. I look forward to doing your postpartum workouts!
good post sarah.. thanks for sharing
Thanks for sharing! With my 6 week old we’ve been using a white noise machine while she sleeps which I think hss helped. It seems to work great at helping them not be woken up by outside/sudden noises and could help keep Connor asleep while Tommy cries at night?
For my 4 year old, we got this clock https://gro.co.uk/product/gro-clock/ when he was 3 and paired it with a reward chart and it’s really helped him stay in bed until the ‘sun’ comes up! He might still be awake but as long as he quietly stays in bed he until the sun comes up he knows he’ll get his reward.
Hope those ideas help 🙂 Good luck
That’s great! Thank you for sharing tips. Definitely need a sound machine in our room.