Pregnancy covers three trimesters, so what is the 4th trimester mums should know about? Coined by Dr. Harvey Karp, the 4th trimester is the first 3 months of your baby’s life after birth. Some experts feel that this is an important period to allow mummy and child to bond during this period of adjustment and learning.
Some mums feel that this period is the hardest. Truth be told, you have just delivered a baby, your body is undergoing changes, hormones are all over the place, and you’re trying to guess if your new baby is crying because he is hungry or feels cold. It’s almost impossible for all of us to simply bounce into the new role.
The truth about the 4th trimester for a new mum and why it’s important to focus on ourselves too
This postpartum period includes the confinement period where new parents can engage a confinement nanny to care for the baby and the new mum’s recovery. There are also gynae follow-up visits for mummy to check on wounds or stitches, along with a Pap Smear appointment. Your newborn will also need to visit the paediatrician for a check-up, and get any infant vaccinations done.
To be honest, it’s very common to hear family and friends asking “How’s the baby? How’s Kor Kor adapting to the changes?” or other similar questions. The focus during the 4th trimester largely surrounds the infant’s development as we get into the eat, sleep, feed and poop routine. Hopefully, my baby can sleep through the night soon because night feeds are tough!
As a mum of 2 now, I feel that we should not neglect our own mental health and wellbeing during this transitional period too. It’s important to ask for help – I’m glad I did and had my mother and mother-in-law to help during the first month. My husband was my confinement nanny since we decided to DIY the confinement this time round.
Being pregnant the second time, along with having an older child to care, I feel more tired too. I know it’s important to keep my frame of mind positive and carve out time to rest when my newborn sleeps. To me, postpartum self-care includes postnatal massage at home! The Jamu massage helped knead away my aches, rid bloating and the body wrap to help bring back my pre-pregnancy body are all very helpful to make me feel better about myself.
Mummies, remember that self-care is NOT selfish. We need to love ourselves and fill our own emotional cup before being able to pour from it, right?
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My 4th trimester experience as a working mum with no maternity leave
For most mummies, the first few months of your babies may likely be covered with a maternity leave – some daddies get paternity leave from employers too!
For self-employed mums like myself, we have no maternity leave to take. Thus, having to care for 2 young kids becomes challenging, especially when I need to take care of the newborn every 2-3 hours, breastfeed him during the day and at night, and more. My day involves pumping breastmilk and working – am also hoping to build up my breastmilk stash so baby can drink from my frozen breastmilk when I’ve to be away from him.
As we do not have a domestic helper, it means that hubby and I must be more involved caring for both our newborn and elder child. Hiring a Foreign Domestic Helper (FDW) equates to additional expenses. However, Singapore citizens can enjoy concessionary levy rates when hiring FDW, so some savings help! Some parents prefer not to have a stranger around their home – which is the reason why we decided not to engage extra support.
Thanks to COVID-19, it led to the creation of digital platforms which allows me to work with my clients virtually. Meetings can be conducted without having to step out of the house, so there are days that work, and home become a blur line.
I’d be honest with you – sleep has never been so important when you’re deprived of it! Other mums have shared this advice with me, which I shall share with you too – ‘Sleep while your baby sleeps!’
Time to plan your family’s finances and your children’s future
During the 4th trimester when reality has sunk in, it’s also time to do a review on practical matters such as your family’s financial planning and insurance coverage. We now have more dependents, so it makes sense to better manage the future.
First, remember to check if your baby qualifies for the Baby Bonus Scheme, which includes Baby Bonus Cash Gift, Child Development Account (CDA) and the Baby Support Grant (BSG). The latter is a one-time gift worth $3,000 for eligible parents of Singaporean children born from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2022. These will be your child’s first few seeds of moolah to help ease off the expenses too.
Next, make sure you know how to be a money-smart woman! I’ve shared my personal budgeting tips and questions to ask yourself when it comes to children’s tertiary funds and even your own retirement plans for the future.
It may sound overwhelming, but things can be managed if you know how. I’m just a phone call or text away to share my knowledge and experience as a mother and financial advisor. For a complimentary consultation of your financial health, call me at 8181 6383 or send me a message. Take charge of your family’s future and start by planning today.